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REDD in the news: 21-27 February 2011

REDD in the news: 21-27 February 2011A 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.

The forests are saved, but campaigners must remain vigilant

By Derek Wall, redd pepper, February 2011 | The moves to privatise the forests in the UK are part of a wider neo-liberal consensus. Indeed the last Labour government launched a programme of forest sales. Assaults on the forests by private corporations are global; South Africa, the USA and Australia have all seen battles, at least partially successful, against forest privatisation. If protest is sustained, militant and imaginative it is possible to win. In the Peruvian Amazon, the indigenous coalition Aidesep, have used direct action to prevent the government selling the forests to corporations who would open them up for oil and gas exploitation.

FPP ENewsletter February 2011

Forest Peoples Programme, February 2011 | The pressure on forest peoples’ lands continues but – asserting their right to self-determination – these peoples are far from being passive victims in the face of such impositions. As the articles in this newsletter show, they are active in defence of their rights from the ground up to the highest levels of the United Nations. While indigenous women in Asia organise to reconfigure both their own societies and their relations with outsiders in order to counter discrimination, communities in Indonesia continue to mobilise to defend their customary lands from oil palm developers. According to the Indonesian government there are some 3,100 land conflicts associated with oil palm in the country.

UN-REDD Newsletter Issue #16

UN-REDD, February 2011 | This month, the UN-REDD Programme is pleased to formally launch its first five-year Programme Strategy 2011-2015. This strategy, approved and further guided by the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board in November, provides a necessary roadmap for scaling up critical support to UN-REDD Programme partner countries. The UN-REDD Programme Strategy is designed to be comprehensive, forward-thinking and ambitious. Through six strategic work areas, the strategy aims to provide targeted support to countries that have moved into REDD+ implementation, as well as continuing to provide readiness support to new partner countries. Central to the operationalization of the strategy will be the mobilization of new funding (read more details on the Programme Strategy in the News Section in this month’s newsletter).

The Cancun Agreements

FIELD, February 2011 | Do they advance global cooperation on climate change? It is a question of whether to see the glass as half-empty or half-full. Many view Cancun as a success – it buried the failure of Copenhagen and provided real opportunities to advance global cooperation in adaptation, forests, climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building. On the other hand, the Cancun Agreements also leave much to be desired. Particularly in terms of mitigation where a “pledge and review” system, first articulated in the Accord, has now become an accepted modality for developed country mitigation. Furthermore it’s carrying over some mitigation responsibilities onto developing countries as well. Download full paper (PDF 215 KB): The Cancun Agreements: Do they advance global cooperation on climate change? For FIELD, by Antonio G.M. La Vina, Lawrence Ang & Joanne Dulce.

21 February 2011

Time called on investor procrastination

By Phil Preston and Julian Poulter, Climate Spectator, 21 February 2011 | Five years from now, it is very possible that we will acknowledge that the new Mercer climate change report was a line in the sand for the way mainstream investors think about investment risk. It states that the risk to investment portfolios from climate change is so significant that traditional portfolio management strategies are not well placed to deal with it. In a sector known for its conservatism and herd mentality, to flag that all portfolios should be restructured, not by means of re-weighting traditional asset classes such as equity and debt, but by the degree of climate change risk, is a powerful statement. If embraced by the market, the resulting 40 per cent capital flows will lead to some very rapid investment revaluations that will be quite disruptive.

The Indonesian deforestation moratorium: The devil is in the details

By Serge Wich, Lian Pin Koh and Meine van Noordwijk, Jakarta Post, 21 February 2011 | This leads to several recommendations. First, forests irrespective of their location and land status should be included. Second, logged forests should be included and protected under REDD+ because they still contain high carbon stocks and biodiversity values. Third, all peatlands should be included, irrespective of their depth. Fourth, the definition of forest should be made relevant to its purpose under REDD+, which is to reduce carbon emissions by avoided change in woody vegetation. A simple rule could be that the moratorium applies to new concessions on all lands except those with an above ground carbon stock of less than 35 tC/ha that are on non-peatland. This would be relatively easy to map and monitor. It would set clear rules to move forwards for now. It would buy time to think through the issues that relate to the lands that are included in moratorium and refine rules in future as needed.

FG inaugurates workshop on environmental protection

Nigerian Compass, 21 February 2011 | The Federal Government will, today, in Abuja, demonstrate its commitment to environmental preservation and forest conservation by instituting a workshop designed to sensitise stakeholders on the new initiative by the United Nations (UN), tagged: REED+ mechanism. REDD is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. The initiative is a new financial instrument being packaged under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to encourage developing countries to embrace the global actions on mitigating the negative effect of climate change. Minister of the Environment, Mr. John Odey, will inaugurate the event, termed, the ‘National REDD+ validation workshop.’

Discourse: Lukewarm efforts stall REDD

Jakarta Post, 21 February 2011 | The government established a presidential taskforce to deal with long-standing problems and to impose a two-year moratorium for forest and peatland to run REDD-Plus projects. The Jakarta Post’s Adianto P. Simamora talked to Mas Achmad Santosa, a member of the taskforce. Here are the excerpts… It seems to me some of the key decision makers are still half-hearted in their efforts to implement the moratorium for forests and peatland. Many decision makers have the mindset that the two-year moratorium would be the end, and not a means to an end. If the country wants to meet the 26 percent emissions cut target, we can no longer run with the business as usual. The moratorium is the time to resolve forest management issues such as forest boundaries, spatial planning, improve bureaucracy on forest management, both at the central and regional levels to make better licensing system and to develop antigraft strategies.

Rate of illegal logging ‘declines’ in Papua

Jakarta Post, 21 February 2011 | A decrease in the amount of illegal timber seized in Papua in 2010 reflects a decline in illegal logging, an official says. “Illegal logging has decreased in Papua after a ban was placed on logs shipped out of Papua,” Papua Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) head Ignn Suteja was quoted as saying by kompas.com. Authorities in Papua seized 70.6 cubic meters of timber from illegal logging activities in 2010, at least one-third less than seizures in previous years. “Illegal logging is usually widespread in Papua, but it has drastically declined recently as shown by the decrease in seized wood,” Suteja added.

REDD dawn

By Eric Solheim, publicservice.co.uk, 21 February 2011 | All in all, developments are truly remarkable. Some developing countries – Brazil, Indonesia, Guyana and the Democratic Republic of Congo in particular – are leading the way. For instance, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon was 70% lower in 2010 than between 1996 and 2005. This equates to 850 million tons of reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Indonesia, the world’s third largest emitter after the US and China, has committed to reducing emissions by 26% from their own funds and by 41% with international assistance. Almost 80% of the emissions in Indonesia come from deforestation and conversion of peat lands. If Indonesia succeeds by 2020, one billion tons of carbon emissions will have been saved, equalling as much as 7% of what is needed on a global basis to reach the two degree target… Norway has pledged US$1bn in support to each country, to be paid based on verified results in reaching their goals.

Domestic Demand, Rising Food Prices Drive Investment in Palm Oil Sector

By Michael Taylor, Jakarta Globe, 21 February 2011 | Rising food prices and a government drive to develop Indonesia’s commodity processing sector will lure more firms to invest in palm oil products in the world’s top maker of the oil, despite erratic power, bad roads and aging ports that complicate the task of processing and moving goods… Firms such as the world’s biggest food group, Nestle, and top listed palm producer Wilmar are also eyeing growing domestic demand in the region’s biggest economy and government tax incentives to attract manufacturing. The new investments, which amount to around $1.2 billion so far, will slowly cut Indonesia’s exports of crude palm oil to a market already at three-year highs and boost profits at Indonesian firms as they snatch a greater share of processing from main player Malaysia.

EU Set-Aside May Boost CO2 Price by 10 Euros, Barclays Says

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 21 February 2011 | The European Union option of setting aside as many as 800 million surplus carbon allowances is “unwelcome” regulation that may add 10 euros ($13.66) a ton to prices in 2013, Barclays Plc said. The EU carbon market, where benchmark prices are up 14 percent from a year ago, has an oversupply of about 460 million allowances for the five years through 2012, analysts led by Trevor Sikorski at the Barclays Capital investment bank in London said today in an e-mailed note. Power utilities will need much of that extra supply to hedge their forward sales of electricity over the next few years, they said. Removing some permits and setting them aside as indicated in a leaked EU planning document would probably mean a “tight market, greater price volatility and an almighty scramble for allowances,” Sikorski said. The bank forecast on Feb. 14 that EU prices will be 30 euros a metric ton in 2013. A 10 euro jump would represent a surge of 33 percent.

Stakeholders converge in Abuja for draft REDD

Vanguard, 21 February 2011 | Stakeholders on climate change mitigation converged in Abuja on Monday to prepare a draft Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Readiness Programme (REDD+). Addressing the participants, Mr Simon Adedoyin, the facilitator from the Federal Ministry of Environment, said the workshop was necessary to seek the views of stakeholders in the review of the final draft copy of the programme. “For REDD to succeed, it must have stakeholders participation with other ministries and key sectors in the country. In order to finalise the process, there is a need to present the public with the draft for review,” Adedoyin, Deputy Director of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment, said.

National Training Workshop on “Forest Carbon Stock Assessment for REDD in Pakistan”

ISESCO, 21 February 2011 | ISESCO commenced its National Training Workshop on “Forest Carbon Stock Assessment for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) on 14th February, 2011, at Islamabad. The training workshop was specially designed to bring the state of the art of forest carbon assessment technology, forest inventorying, to the local forestry practitioners who shall be responsible to implement the REDD projects in Pakistan. This is a highly specialized training imparted by World Class experts including Principal expert, Carbon Accounting and Development, from Terra Global Capital, USA on state of the art of technology on forest carbon assessment. The training is being benefitted by 40 environmentalists mainly coming from the provincial forest departments and other specialized agencies working with forest carbon stock assessments and GIS such a group is not able to pay the training fee.

Environment and Communications Legislation Committee

Hansard, Australian Senate, 21 February 2011 | Senator MILNE – I would like to start with the state of the international negotiations. Could you give an outline of the negotiations on the land use, land use change, forestry and REDD, where we got to in Cancun and what points of decision would we expect to reach in Durban? What is your view about the prospects of reaching any decision on those in Durban? Mr Comley – I will just give a general point about Cancun to Durban and then perhaps we will go into the specifics of the land use question. As you are aware, the key outcome of Cancun was a conference of the parties decision, which is now referred to as the Cancun Agreements. I think the most likely outcome at this stage, leading into Durban, is a similar conference of the party outcome on the specific issues. Whilst it is not impossible, a legally binding outcome in Durban that would go beyond a conference of parties assessment does not seem the most likely outcome.

UK to devise standalone carbon permit system

The Daily Mail, 21 February 2011 | The UK said it will opt out of a common European Union platform for auctioning carbon permits in the next phase of the bloc’s emissions-trading programme, which starts in 2013, and will develop a national system instead. The EU, which has given away the majority of allowances since starting its cap-and-trade programme in 2005, will require most emitters to purchase their allotments from 2013. While the EU regulator favours a common auctioning platform, saying a centralised approach offers the best “value for money,” it is giving member states the option of running their own auctions.

22 February 2011

Amazon Indians in London to stop dams that will destroy them

Survival International, 22 February 2011 | Three Amazon Indians have begun a journey through Europe to protest against dams which threaten to destroy the lands and lives of thousands of tribal people. Ruth Buendia Mestoquiari, an Ashaninka Indian from Peru, Sheyla Juruna, a Juruna Indian from the Xingu region and Almir Surui of the Surui tribe in Brazil, are calling for three controversial dam projects in the Amazon to be halted.

Matt Taibbi: “Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?” (Complete Interview)

democracynow.org, 22 February 2011 | “Nobody goes to jail,” writes Matt Taibbi in his the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine. “This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth.” Here is the complete interview from which we played an excerpt on our Feb. 22 show. Taibbi explains how the American people have been defrauded by Wall Street investors and how the financial crisis is connected to the situations in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio.

Hamilton: a new brand of environmental radicalism

By Clive Hamilton, crikey.com.au, 22 February 2011 | How could major environment groups back a scheme that was so compromised and inadequate to the task - a scheme that handed out billions of dollars to coal-fired power plants, endorsed a strong future for the coal industry, allowed offshore compliance and would deliver, according to Treasury, no reductions in Australia’s emissions until 2035? All this was agreed by the ACF, WWF and the Climate Institute in exchange for a hypothetical 25% cut in emissions that Blind Freddy could see was never going to be delivered. I think there are three reasons that explain how these groups could support such a travesty. First, like most Australians some environmentalists find it hard to accept what the climate scientists are really saying… The second reason is the spread of incrementalism… The third reason for the failure of mainstream environmentalism lies in the professionalisation of environmental activism over the past two decades.

Indonesia leads the world into the future

By Eric Solheim, Jakarta Post, 22 February 2011 | Norway, like all other countries, must strive to transform into a low-emission society, and must take the lead in domestic emissions reductions. As a developed country, we carry particular responsibilities in this regard. We have therefore established a goal … to be carbon neutral by 2030. Our contributions to Indonesia’s REDD+ efforts is additional to this goal. We urge other developed countries to set equally audacious goals and follow up on them with determination… I am pleased to see that Sinar Mas, Indonesia’s largest producer of palm oil believe that sustainable palm oil production is in their economic interest, and has vowed not to plant on peat, and not to clear forest where significant carbon is locked up in trees… I strongly believe that the direction in which President Yudhoyono is taking the country will be the best for Indonesia and for the Southeast Asian region, not decades from now, but in the near future.

Body protests lifting DRC’s moratorium on logging expansion

By Erick Akasa, Africa Science News Service, 22 February 2011 | Greenpeace Tuesday expressed its serious concerns regarding the announcement made by the Democratic Republic of Congo Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism Minister José Endundo to legalise 15 additional logging titles in the Congo rainforest and to plan lifting the country’s logging moratorium – urging the government and the World Bank to reconsider. The announced legalization of 15 additional forest titles undermines the findings of the legal review concluded in November 2008. It would lead to a total of approx 15 million hectares – or five times of Belgium – of rainforest given away to the industrial logging companies. All titles operated at the time of the forest titles legal review -started in 2005 in order to clean up the DRC’s forest sector- will have been finally found ‘convertible’ to long-term official concessions.

Protecting Forests, Saving the Planet

ISC, 22 February 2011 | REDD is considered the greatest success because it requires lower costs and simpler technology than other methods. Thus, at an international seminar on forest conservation held in March 2010 in Vietnam, REDD and REDD+ were chosen as the best ways to cope with climate change. Scientists pointed out that the main reason for climate change is deforestation, so it is an urgent task for each country to foster a mentality of forest protection aimed against deforestation and forest degradation, as well as implementing suitable policies on forest management, protection and development, especially in developing countries and Vietnam in particular. Vietnam is taking part in many conferences on climate change. It is also considered a pioneer in implementing REDD+. Specifically, in December 2008, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved the National Target Program on Coping with Climate Change.

Rwanda makes saving its forests a national priority

By Laurence Caramel, The Guardian, 22 February 2011 | The rolling green countryside of Rwanda’s Thousand Hills area may look fertile and flourishing, but the area desperately needs help. At the launch of the United Nations International Year of Forests, the Rwandan minister of land and the environment, Stanislas Kamanzi, announced a forest landscape restoration initiative. This is not just a gesture to placate conservation organisations trying to save mountain gorillas and one of their few remaining sanctuaries. “Without a sustainable environment we cannot develop. That is the reality,” Kamanzi said. Rwanda has been forced to make a national priority of ending soil degradation, and safeguarding rivers and forests by 2035. It is simply a matter of survival for a population expected to double over the next 30 years. “It is the first time that a developing country has made such a commitment nationally,” says Hassan Partow, of the UN Environment Programme.

Promoting Community Forestry Enterprises in National REDD+ Strategies: A Business Approach

By Maria Fernanda Tomaselli and Reem Hajjar, Forests, Volume 2, Issue 1, 22 February 2011 | Community forestry and related small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) can contribute towards the achievement of REDD+ goals, since they can promote sustainable use and conservation of forests and, therefore, a reduction in forest-related carbon emissions. Additionally, they can improve the quality of life of forest-dependant people by generating alternative sources of income and employment. However, SMFEs often face a number of challenges, including non-conducive policy environments, inadequate business skills, and moreover, limited access to financial services. In this paper, we propose to direct a portion of REDD+ readiness efforts towards promoting the generation of an enabling environment for SMFEs that includes: the construction of an adequate Business Environment (BE), the provision of Business Development Services (BDS) and better access to Financial Services (FS).

Benefit to cutting ‘black carbon’

By Roger Hrrabin, BBC News, 22 February 2011 | Cutting atmospheric soot, methane and ground-level ozone is the quickest way to tackle climate change in the short term, according to a new report. The governing council of the UN Environment Programme (Unep) in Nairobi will hear that reducing these short-lived emissions could reduce warming by half a degree. And it would be more easily achieved than reducing emissions of the gas principally implicated in long-term climate change, CO2. It would also have spin-off benefits because soot and ground-level ozone harm human health – and ozone damages crops.

Binding deal at Durban climate talks unlikely

By Sue Blaine, BusinessDay, 22 February 2011 | politically difficult, it was important to aim for a binding agreement at climate change negotiations in Durban in December, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) climate policy advocate Tasneem Essop said yesterday. This was after top US climate change negotiator Todd Stern said in Johannesburg yesterday he did not expect the Durban talks to deliver a legally binding agreement on halting global warming.

23 February 2011

The Battle to Save Indonesia’s Disappearing Forests

By Zubaidah Nazeer, Straits Times, 23 February 2011 | Through Redd, Norway has pledged to give Indonesia up to $1 billion if it can prove a reduction in its carbon emissions and halt deforestation. How successful it will be is still unclear, given the complex network of economic conditions influencing deforestation, the multiple stakeholders involved, and the perennial problem of corruption. Said the Nature Conservancy’s Dr Dicky Simorangki: “People are still struggling to understand how it works. There has to be an institutional framework, legal mechanisms as well as administrative ones, and a decision over who gets what in the financial incentives.” Dr Krystof [Obidzinski at the Centre for International Forestry Research] said: “It’s a good concept, but let’s see how well and how far it can be implemented.”

The palm oil PR offensive is gathering pace – but not weight

By Leo Hickman, The Guardian, 23 February 2011 | Unsurprisingly, the “green lobby” has also noticed the ASI paper and is keen to correct its, as one representative put it, “nonsense”. This is the response I received from Kenneth Richter, the Friends of the Earth’s biofuel campaigner: “The link between rapid palm oil expansion and deforestation is clear and has been confirmed by leading scientists. In 2007, the United Nations concluded that today’s rapid growth in plantations is ‘one of the greatest threats to orang-utans and the forests on which they depend’, and now ‘the primary cause of permanent rainforest loss’ in Malaysia and Indonesia.”

Conservation scheme: On or not?

eco-business.com, 23 February 2011 | A scheme to save Indonesia’s trees by imposing a two-year national moratorium on forest clearing has run into problems… ‘Only 41 million hectares will be protected, but these are already categorised as conservation and protected areas,’ Mr Teguh Surya, head of international liaison and climate justice at Walhi, said… Mr Fitrian Ardiansyah, programme director for climate and energy at World Wildlife Fund Indonesia, told the Globe: ‘They say, ‘Sign this. For 100,000ha for Redd, you will get US$2 per hectare.’ But you’re not supposed to count the hectares, you count the carbon.’ Dr Dicky Simorangkir, forest programme director at The Nature Conservancy, told The Straits Times: ‘People are still unsure how this works. How do you measure carbon emission? All these have not been laid out.’

Deforestation and Agriculture Are Two of the Factors Controlled By Decoupling

By Bryan Walsh, Time, 23 February 2011 | In her presentation at AAAS, Columbia University ecologist Ruth DeFries demonstrated that demand for wood or agricultural products in one country can influence rates of deforestation in tropical nations thousands of miles away. Once, deforestation in a nation like Brazil would have been driven mostly by local factors, by the need for farmers to farmers to clear land for self-supporting agriculture. That began to change with the acceleration of urbanization – as centers of population grow, both in developed and developing nations, they inevitably draw on natural resources from the countryside. “Urbanization is the telecoupling trend,” said DeFries. “Cities grow, and they put demand on forests.” … Telecoupling poses an essential challenge for traditional conservation, which depended on fencing off parts of the natural world to provide refuges and reserves for wildlife and forests. But in a telecoupled world, there is no pristine shelter.

Amazon Traveler Battles Deforestation and Climate Change in Brazil

By Jeff Kart, planet green, 23 February 2011 | In northern Brazil, there’s a town called São Félix do Xingu, located in the heart of the Amazon. Rane Cortez, a forest carbon development adviser with The Nature Conservancy, spent 10 days there. She was searching, but not for a lost treasure (unless you count a less-polluted world). Cortez is working with experts and locals on ways to cut carbon emissions from the destruction of forests. Here’s the deal: The cutting and burning of trees in places like Brazil for cattle ranching or logging is releasing stored greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and contributing to climate change. São Félix is working on programs to conserve the forests and create jobs with money from international programs that pay countries to reduce their rate of deforestation, Cortez explains in one of three posts on her trip.

Palm Oil Firms Demand Clarity Over Land Use

Jakarta Globe, 23 February 2011 | Rising commodity prices are driving palm oil producers to find more land to boost output, but doing so in Indonesia may be too difficult, some producers claim. Sime Darby, the world’s largest listed palm oil producer, wants to acquire more land, including in Indonesia, the world’s top producing nation. However, it may turn to Africa if obstacles such as a ban on forest clearing and conflicting zoning regulations prove too much of a headache. “Sime Darby is always open to any proposition to expand its oil palm investment in Indonesia, both via greenfield and brownfield,” said Mohd Bakke Salleh, Sime’s president and group chief executive, referring to starting plantations from scratch and reviving old plantations.

Carbon sequestration to tackle climate change

By Bharat Sharma Acharya, The Himalayan Times, 23 February 2011 | There is limited research on soil carbon sequestration in Nepal. Past and present researches are concentrated on forest carbon stocks. The focus needs to be stretched out into other systems like grasslands or croplands. Carbon sequestration presents opportunities to receive credit under Kyoto Protocol. Similarly, Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) offers multiple benefit including carbon payments for carbon stocks. Carbon sequestration is a viable option for dual functions: curbing emission of greenhouse gases and enriching soil fertility.

How REDD+ can help protect forests and biodiversity while slowing climate change

By Patrick Thornton, RARE, 23 February 2011 | Not only do tropical forests house much of the world’s biodiversity, but they also function as large carbon sinks, helping to store CO2 emitted by man-made and natural activities. Deforestation is one of the leading causes of climate change because these trees can no longer store CO2. Programs such as REDD have been created to help address the growing issue of deforestation… Rane Cortez, a forest carbon policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy, has helped us demystify REDD+ and how and why it could help protect the world’s forests and help mitigate climate change. Our Q&A is below…

EU Outlines Measures To Improve Emission Trading System’s Security

By Juliana Gruenwald, National Journal, 23 February 2011 | The European Commission Wednesday outlined steps it is taking to shore up the security of its carbon emissions trading system after several of the system’s national registries were hit by cyber attacks last month that resulted in the theft of millions of dollars. The commission last month suspended most transactions in all the European Union emission trading system national registries following several cyber thefts from a number of the registries. Ten registries have been allowed to resume operations after meeting minimum security requirements, the commission said in a statement. Commission officials said last month that the cyber thefts may have resulted in the loss of as much as 30 million Euros ($41 million), according to the Financial Times.

UNEP’s 2011 Sasakawa Prize Winners Focus on Forest Conservation

climate-l.iisd.org, 23 February 2011 | UNEP has announced two projects aimed at conserving forests and promoting sustainable development in remote rural communities in Latin America and Asia, as the 2011 recipients of the Sasakawa Prize. The 2011 theme of the Prize was “Forests for People and for Green Growth,” in support of the 2011 International Year of Forests, and highlighting the central role of forests in the pursuit of a global Green Economy. The co-winners are the “Asociación Forestal Integral San Andrés, Petén” (AFISAP) in Guatemala, and the Manahari Development Institute in Nepal (MDI-Nepal). The first is focused on preserving forests on a 52,000-hectare concession within the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, in the San Andres, and its activities play a critical role in regional conservation efforts. The MDI-Nepal is using agroforestry to improve crop productivity and water irrigation systems, to reduce soil erosion on the forested hills and mountainous areas.

24 February 2011

RI loses Rp 71 trillion from deforestation: ICW

Jakarta Post, 24 February 2011 | Indonesia has suffered Rp 71 trillion (US$8.02 billion) in losses from deforestation, according to an NGO. According to a recently released research report from the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), 5.4 million hectares were deforested in Indonesia between 2005 and 2009, which was equal to a Rp 71.28 trillion financial loss. “It includes Rp 64.8 trillion in forest resources and Rp 6.48 trillion in forest resource provisions, as well as losses caused by undelivered reforestation funds,” said the ICW on Tuesday as quoted by Antara. The ICW said that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a research report in 2009 that said that corruption and racketeering in the forestry sector in Indonesia had caused an estimated loss of Rp 20 trillion a year to the government. The ICW said that according to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), there were 17 systemic problems on arrangement and monitoring in the Indonesian forestry sector.

Cancun climate change framework just a skeleton, but still a win for adaptation

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 24 February 2011 | The Cancun Adaptation Framework, adopted at the 16th Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico, is the first formal agreement to establish principles and guidelines for decreasing the vulnerability of communities and ecosystems. Although currently just a set of skeletal guidelines, the framework defines a revamped work program, ensures that adaptation finance should be additional to existing aid commitments and establishes a global adaptation committee to manage these issues. “Since the Bali negotiations three years ago, adaptation has become important in international negotiations on climate change and Cancun is an encouraging milestone,” said Bruno Locatelli, leader of CIFOR’s research on adaptation to climate change.

EU, RI ready to sign timber trade agreement

Jakarta Post, 24 February 2011 | The European Union (EU) and Indonesia are preparing to sign a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade – Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA), a joint statement said Wednesday. “We are nearly there,” Forestry Ministry business development director general Iman Santoso said in the statement. It is expected the agreement will be concluded in the next two to three months. “This agreement is crucial for Indonesia as it enables Indonesian timber exporters to expand their market for timber and timber products to the EU.” Iman said the agreement was important as the EU had just enacted a timber regulation prohibiting the sale of illegally harvested timber in the EU by March 2013. The value of the timber trade between the EU and Indonesia, the first Asian country to have such a timber agreement with the EU, stands at about US$1 billion per year, the statement said.

U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in Sumatra

mongabay.com, 24 February 2011 | The U.S. government announced the first grants under the first phase of its 2009 Tropical Forests Conservation Act agreement with Indonesia. USAID will provide five grants over the next three years to local NGOs working to conserve and better manage forests and peatlands in Sumatra. The five lead grantees are Yayasan Leuser Indonesia, Institute Green Aceh, KKI-WARSI, JIKALAHARI, and PETRA… The TFCA provides debt relief to tropical countries in exchange for commitments to conserve forests and coral reefs.

‘Hard-wired’ path to carbon trading goes the wrong direction

FoE Australia press release, 24 February 2011 | Today’s announcement of the Multi Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC) agreed pathway of an interim price ‘hard-wired’ to become an emissions trading scheme takes Australia in the wrong direction, says Friends of the Earth Australia, and away from real solutions to the climate crisis. Climate justice spokesperson Holly Creenaune said, “We’re concerned this is a resurrection of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), which was rejected in the Senate and failed to win public support because it was worse than doing nothing… We welcome the exclusion of international offsets from the interim carbon price. However, by allowing domestic offsets in the initial phase, expanding to a carbon market riddled with international offsets, polluters will avoid reducing emissions at the expense of communities displaced and affected by damaging offset projects.”

A framework for pricing carbon in Australia

By Anthony Hobley, Elisa de Wit, Felicity Rourke and Dominic Adams, Norton Rose Australia, 24 February 2011 | Today the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC), which was established in the wake of the 2010 general election to recommend to the government a design for a carbon pricing mechanism in the Australian economy, released a proposal agreed to by the government and the Greens setting out a broad architecture for the establishment of such a carbon pricing mechanism. Announced today by the Prime Minister, flanked by members of the MPCCC including Independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and representatives of the Greens, the proposal states that the carbon pricing mechanism “could commence with a fixed price (through the issuance of fixed price units within an emissions trading scheme) before converting to a cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme”…

Airborne Laser Technology (LiDAR) Lights Up Forestry Mapping in Indonesia

By Ron Behrendt and Abhineet Jain, vector1media.com, 24 February 2011 | In 2010, an innovative technology began assisting with the assessment of existing forest conditions as well as establishing a viable approach to long-term monitoring to support the management of natural forests in Indonesia. With the ability to rapidly collect highly accurate three-dimensional information of the forest from aircraft flying three-quarters of a kilometer above the tree tops and traveling at nearly 200 km per hour, the laser technology known as LiDAR is likely to make a significant impact in overcoming the challenges faced by government agencies, commercial forest managers, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as they move to support reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation, or REDD+ initiatives.

Cancun agreement and financing forestry

By Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, The Financial Express, 24 February 2011 | The impacts of climate change are already being felt in many developing countries particularly least developed countries and small island states, yet these countries have not been the primary cause of it. The necessary actions to halt climate change and the ways in which all nations whether it is developed or developing, least developed or emerging or polluter developing, small island states should be part of the overall solution are becoming clearer. What is further required is clarification of how these actions should be financed, who should shoulder the responsibility and who should receive the benefits.

Nigeria: States Urged to Participate in Reducing Carbon Emissions

By Tina A. Hassan, Daily Trust, 24 February 2011 | Minister of Environment, John Odey has called on states across the federation to key into the United Nations programme of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in order to enable Nigeria reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the environment. Speaking at the signing and endorsement of the validation mission statement of the REDD+ team which visited Nigeria to ascertain the level of its readiness to become a full member of REDD, Odey said the acceptance of Nigeria as a member of REDD provides a rich opportunity for the country to protect its forest and restore the environment. He said Cross Rivers State has been selected as a model for the first REDD initiative for Nigeria and this would ensure the preservation of many forest species from extinction due to the activities of man especially tree felling and bush burning.

EU industry CO2 emissions edge up in 2010: analysts

By Gerard Wynn and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 24 February 2011 | European Union industrial carbon emissions rose by up to 4 percent last year, analysts estimate, still far below 2008 levels and leaving the bloc on course to beat its 2020 climate target. The EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) caps the emissions of about 12,600 installations, including power plants, factories and oil refiners, and the European Commission publishes emissions data in April of each year. Analysts already estimate, based on industrial output data, that emissions rose last year by 2-4 percent, compared with a drop of nearly 12 percent in 2009. “It was a mixed year with some industrial output going up, others down, and not a huge improvement in power demand across the bloc as a whole,” said Barclays Capital analyst Trevor Sikorski, who estimated carbon emissions were up 4 percent.

Models guiding climate policy are ‘dangerously optimistic’

By Nadya Anscombe, environmentresearchweb, 24 February 2011 | Integrated assessment models (IAMs) used by researchers today – where climate change data is integrated with economic data – are dangerously flawed because they are based on naïve assumptions, according to Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change at the University of Manchester, UK. Anderson told environmentalresearchweb: “The vast majority of IAMs assume low emission growth rates; early emission peaks; annual reduction rates limited to between 2 and 4%; untested geoengineering; and a high penetration of nuclear power alongside untested ‘carbon capture and storage’ technologies. Because IAMs typically use similar and inappropriate sets of assumptions, they repeatedly come up with the same narrow and fundamentally flawed answers.”

25 February 2011

Bandt says public can learn to love ETS

skynews.com.au, 25 February 2011 Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt is confident the public can be persuaded to back a carbon tax. The Labor government and the Greens are facing a massive scare campaign about their proposed carbon tax and emissions trading scheme, with the opposition saying it could push up annual power bills by $300 a year. However, Mr Bandt is confident people can be convinced of its importance, once the reasoning behind it and the compensation to consumers are spelt out. ‘People in Australia want to take action on climate change,’ Mr Bandt told reporters in Sydney on Friday, where he was helping out the Greens’ NSW election campaign. ‘People want strong leadership on climate change, and people in Australia will respond well to a detailed argument that is put out there in front of them, that they are able to look at, and understand how it affects them, understand what it will mean for Australia and the planet,’ he said.

India commits $10 billion to expand forests

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 25 February 2011 | The Indian government has approved a bold plan to expand and improve the quality of its forests as a part of the nation’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. The reforestation plan, dubbed the National Mission for a Green India (NMGI), will expand forests by five million hectares (over 12 million acres), while improving forests quality on another five million hectares for $10.14 billion (460 billion rupees). According to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, the plan will result in the carbon sequestration of 50-60 million tons every year by, sequestering around 6% of India’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Including the forest expansion, the NMGI has a number of other goals: providing tens-of-thousands of dollars to forest villages every year, protecting biodiversity, mitigating human-wildlife conflict, promoting community conservation of 14,000 sacred groves, and protecting important watershed.

Peru: Indigenous People Declare They Are On The Foot Of War And Permanent Mobilization In Defense Of Their Territories

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 25 February 2011 | At a press conference, the Board of AIDESEP and regional organizations today announced that Amazonian indigenous peoples are reported on a war footing and in permanent mobilization in defense of their ancestral territories, due to the insistence of this administration to develop policies behind the query as demanded by international conventions and tired of not being heard in their demands for national authorities. Alberto Pizango Chota, president of the organization, explained that this decision will be that people are very attentive to any claim for extractive companies entering indigenous territories and defend their communities from the destruction of its forests, lakes, wildlife and flora that exists in the Amazon.

Giving the imbalance in wood demand the chop

By Allen Hansard, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February 2011 | The Australian forestry industry is facing a ”supply squeeze-demand pull” conundrum. Domestic and global consumption of wood and paper products is rising but a vacuum in forward thinking policies has held back the industry’s ability to satisfy long-term demand. A ray of light has appeared. Announced last week, a new federal parliamentary inquiry into the challenges and opportunities facing the Australian forestry industry could provide a plan that will see Australia use its own timber resources rather than increasing its reliance on imports… Some of the less-moderate environmental groups may argue that there are enough plantations in the ground through managed investment schemes (MIS), which offered taxation incentives for commercial plantations in recent decades. However, MIS saw investment in mostly short-rotation crops (10 to 12 years), supplying pulp wood used in paper and packaging factories.

Jungle Vision

Dumfries and Galloway Standard, 25 February 2011 | Fifth year students at Dumfries High School are hoping to raise more than £30,000 for the trip of a lifetime. The pupils need the money to fund a scientific conservation expedition to Guyana in the South American rainforest. The trip, which is being organised through Operation Wallacea, will see the pupils trek through undisturbed forests and travel by canoes across the lengthy rivers. Guyana is at the forefront of the REDD Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme and the group will be responsible for river surveying and conservation work. Biology teacher Keith Walker believes it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the girls. He said: “This is a huge opportunity for the girls but they have their work cut out, £30,000 is a lot of money to raise, but we have a year to do it and I am sure it will all fall into place.

Indonesian Borneo and Sumatra lose 9% of forest cover in 8 years

mongabay.com, 25 February 2011 | Kalimantan and Sumatra lost 5.4 million hectares, or 9.2 percent, of their forest cover between 2000/2001 and 2007/2008, reveals a new satellite-based assessment of Indonesian forest cover. The research, led by Mark Broich of South Dakota State University, found that more than 20 percent of forest clearing occurred in areas where conversion was either restricted or prohibited, indicating that during the period, the Indonesian government failed to enforce its forestry laws. “Our analysis showed that the majority of all mapped forest cover loss (79.9%) occurred in land allocation zones that permit permanent or temporary clearing, while 20.1% occurred where clearing is either prohibited or restricted,” the authors write. Under Indonesian law, clearing of conservation forest, protection forest, and limited production forest is illegal.

Green Policies Should Not Slow Growth: Survey

Businessworld, 25 February 2011 | India Friday favoured continuation of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 and made a strong pitch for participation of all countries in tackling climate change on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. “Any solution to climate change, as a global problem, must be based on the participation of all countries, with reorganisation of common but differentiated responsibilities and the principle of equity,” said the Economic Survey, tabled in the Parliament by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee… “While the outcomes in Cancun on climate fund, technology mechanism and adaptation framework and forestry (REDD+) are welcome, further work is needed on strengthening of weak mitigation pledges by developed countries, preventing unilateral trade actions in the name of climate change, and continuing a dialogue on intellectual property rights as part of technology development and transfer efforts,” it said.

26 February 2011

Draft moratorium on forest destruction falls short

By Jess Miller, Greenpeace International, 26 February 2011 | Days before the President of Indonesia is set to announce a moratorium on forest destruction, we’ve got a copy of the draft moratorium, crunched the numbers and the news is not good. The data shows this proposed moratorium does little to protect areas that are not already off limits under Indonesia’s existing laws. Unfortunately, if the plan moves forward as is, the forests, peatlands and all the wildlife living within them will continue to suffer deforestation from the pulp, paper and palm oil industries… Greenpeace supports the a large coalition of organisations in Indonesia calling on the President to issue a moratorium that is not time-bound, which protects all natural forests and peatlands, including secondary forests. It should apply to areas within existing concessions and those areas granted in principle to industry on 31 December 2010.

Brazilian judge blocks plans for construction of Belo Monte dam

By Amy Fallon, The Guardian, 26 February 2011 | Plans for the construction of the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric plant in the Amazon rainforest have been suspended by a Brazilian judge over environmental concerns. The proposal to build Belo Monte, which would be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam, has sparked protests in Brazil and abroad because of its impact on the environment and native Indian tribes in the area. A federal court in Para state, under judge Ronaldo Desterro, has halted plans for the construction because environmental requirements for the project had not been met. These included contingency plans to assure transportation along rivers where the dam is expected to reduce the water level sharply. The national development bank, BNDES, has also been prohibited from financing the project by the court.

27 February 2011

Certifying nation’s REDD readiness plan

By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 27 February 2011 | Nigeria took yet another major step in its quest towards becoming a full-fledged REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) participatory nation following the authentication last Monday in Abuja of a draft REDD Readiness Programme. At a daylong National Validation Workshop (NVW), key governmental and non-governmental stakeholders attempted a review of core sections of the Nigeria REDD Readiness Programme (NRRP) and validate its submission to the UN-REDD Policy Board (UPB). The NRRP will afterwards be subjected to an external independent technical review panel made up of three experts before eventual submission to the UPB, which will meet from March 21st to 23rd in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam, where it will decide on the approval for funding.
 

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