There’s some good news and some bad news, according to UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, speaking at a press conference on the opening day of the UN climate meeting in Bonn, yesterday. She started with the bad news, which is pretty devastating. Greenhouse gas emissions last year were the highest ever, according to the International Energy Agency.
“Our latest estimates are another wake-up call,” Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the IEA, said in a statement. As if that wasn’t bad enough, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit a new record high in May 2011, at 394.97 parts per million. Figueres seemed remarkably calm when she announced this news in Bonn:
“Bad news is, as we have seen the report from the International Energy Agency, that reports that we actually have the highest emissions last year. And unexpectedly high emissions in particular considering the financial crisis. So that was definitely bad news. Also bad news, from the Mauna Loa Observatory that actually in May, we had yet another record high concentrations so we’re now just under 395 parts per million. So that’s the bad news.”
Then she moved on to the good news:
“The good news is that several countries, in fact quite a few countries including the biggest economies are clearly building their new policies that promote low carbon growth. I’ve recently been talking quite a bit to private sector companies that are also moving in the direction of investing into low carbon technologies and in getting ready to deploy those technologies further… And I would include in the package of good news the report from the IPCC on renewable energy potential that tells us that we might be able to do 80%, up to 80%, of what we need to do via renewable energy.”
In stark contrast to the bad news, the good news is not convincing. Although Figueres mentioned that governments hope to limit global warming to 2°C or possibly 1.5°C, she made no mention of how they or the UNFCCC might achieve these targets.
While there may be little discussion at the meetings in Bonn about how governments can reduce emissions of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, REDD will be a key topic. I’ll do a separate post outlining the various discussions about REDD on the agenda in Bonn.
As usual, during the UN climate meetings, there will be a series of side events. Here is a list of the side events relating to REDD, complied by Simone Lovera of Global Forest Coalition. If there are side-events missing from this list, please let me know and I’ll add them in.
TUESDAY, 7 JUNE 2011
Global Drylands, A UN System Wide Response
Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
The report, produced by the UN Environmental Management Group (EMG), a UNEP chaired coordination body, highlights the relevance of action on common issues, such as drylands and on the global and emerging issues, such as food security, population livelihoods, and climate change and biodiversity loss
Presentation of the IPCC Special Report “Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation”
Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
13:15-14:45, Please see CCTV
The IPCC will present key findings of the SRREN . The report is expected to address the information needs of policy makers, the private sector and civil society, providing a comprehensive assessment of renewable energy technologies and related policy and financial instruments.
CDM Executive Board: question and answer session
Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The Executive Board of the CDM will report on its activities and answer questions from the audience
Progress on addressing REDD+ safeguards
This event will showcase how Ecuador and the UN-REDD Programme are progressing in ensuring compliance and providing information on safeguards.
REDD: Consultants, Cost Curves and Safeguards
Join a discussion with Greenpeace and an expert panel. What role are consultants playing in directing rainforest nations’ REDD plans? How effective can tools such as marginal abatement cost curves be in ensuring safeguards are at the centre of REDD decision-making?
WEDNESDAY, 8 JUNE 2011
CCAFS/FAO/WB: Actions needed to halt deforestation and promote climate-smart agriculture
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Halting deforestation while incentivizing agriculture is key to maximizing mitigation and bolstering food security. This session presents successful climate-smart agricultural practices and discusses innovative ways to combine incentives to agriculture with the strengthening of forest governance through REDD+.
REDD+ Roundtable: Issues for 2011
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
TNC, WCS, RA, CI, UCS, IPAM, EDF, WHRC, and World Vision International provide guidance on how issues such as REDD+ financing, reference levels, MRV, and safeguards can be addressed
Developing Indigenous-Sensitive and Gender-Sensitive MRV Tools and Instruments
The side event shares indigenous peoples’ initiatives to develop indigenous- and gender-sensitive monitoring tools and instruments for REDD+. These can be used by indigenous peoples to monitor and verify REDD+ schemes at the country level, especially in indigenous peoples’ territories.
Sparing vs. Sharing: Addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation
International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF)
Most drivers of deforestation lie outside the forest and must be properly addressed in order to be effective. Agricultural intensification, either by separating the two domains or by creating polycultural landscapes are two ways to reduce pressures on forests.
Bioenergy, Sustainability and Trade-offs: Can We Avoid Deforestation while Promoting Bioenergy?
Joanneum Research (JR)
A CIFOR project is investigating the implications of biofuel development. We present results for the carbon stock changes from specific case studies, new accounting approaches, and methods for allocating land-use impacts across source of biomass (food, feed, fuel and fibre).
Agriculture in Climate Negotiations: A Developing Country Perspective
Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON)
The panel will discuss centrality of agriculture and food security in climate debate and debate contentious issues from a developing country perspective viz. mitigation Vs. adaptation and CDM in carbon soil sequestration.
THURSDAY, 9 JUNE 2011
Putting ambition back into LULUCF
Climate Action Network International takes a fresh look at how LULUCF could deliver for the climate.
Modalities for REDD+ Reference Levels: Technical and Procedural Issues
16:00-18:00, KAMEHA GRAND HOTEL
A group of independent, international expert authors have produced a report intended to provide an objective analysis of technical and procedural issues associated with setting modalities for REDD+ reference levels. This assessment (and potentially a second leading up to the COP‐17 in Durban), is intended to inform the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative and other key stakeholders and government negotiators. The Meridian Institute, a nonprofit NGO internationally recognized for convening and facilitating neutral and independent dialogues and assessments, was commissioned to facilitate the report’s production.
Adaptation and African Pastoralism: Knowledge Systems, Meteorology and Policy Making
Indigenous People of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC)
UNESCO and IPACC present a panel on adaptation, traditional knowledge, meteorology and policy making. Climate adaptation works on different scales and requires an interface of different systems of knowledge. African pastoralists, meteorologists and policy makers create synergies between their perspectives.
Civil society advice for REDD+ related national monitoring and reporting information systems
Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN)
The quality of national information systems for monitoring and reporting on safeguards depend on their ability to capture country specific safeguard challenges and gaps. Civil Society from selected rainforest countries provide their updates, analysis and advice.
FRIDAY, 10 JUNE 2011
Geo-engineering and Biodiversity
10:00-15:00, Gustav Streseman Institute
will discuss definitions for geo-engineering, including consideration of carbon capture and storage, potential impacts of geo-engineering activities on biodiversity, and possible gaps and limitations in the global regulatory framework for geo-engineering. Please register via email to
Progress in Climate-smart agriculture and REDD+
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Climate-smart agriculture and FAO-Adapt Programme and assessment of emissions and mitigation potentials are presented. On REDD+: capacity-building for national forest monitoring and Guidance Framework for Monitoring REDD+ Governance and Framework for Assessing and Monitoring Forest Governance.
Tropical Wetlands Initiative for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Methodologies are lacking for countries to asses and communicate their GHG inventories in tropical wetland ecosystems, which are major carbon pools. Activity data and emissions factors in rapidly changing use of wetlands need to be revisited for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Implementing the REDD+ safeguards
Global Witness Limited
The Ecosystems Climate Alliance reviews past experiences and lessons-learned on the REDD+ environmental, social and governance safeguards, and what needs to happen next to ensure their effective implementation.
Tracking REDD Finance: The state of play of finance for REDD
Global Canopy Programme
The Global Canopy Programme, Tropical Forest Group and partners explore the current state of REDD finance. The event will include a presentation from the REDD+ Partnership and an introduction to the REDD desk countries database as well as findings from other initiatives engaged in the tracking of REDD finance.
SATURDAY, 11 JUNE 2011
False climate solutions increase hunger, pollution, biodiversity loss and land grabs
New proposals to include agriculture in carbon markets, and for a “green economy” based on biomass could promote harmful systems of biofuels, GM crops, biochar, livestock intensification and synthetic biology, with significant social and environmental impacts.
Carbon Markets, Land Grabbing and Food Prices
Global Forest Coalition (GFC)
The event will address the potential impacts of the inclusion of agriculture, REDD+, biochar, bio-energy production and other land-based activities in carbon markets. It will highlight the links with the food price crisis and land grabbing and the impact on peasants, Indigenous Peoples and women.
The DRC national forest monitoring system for REDD+: the start-up phase
Democratic Republic of the Congo
REDD+ implementation will require advanced methods for monitoring GHG emissions and removals in forests nationally. For this reason, the DRC wishes to present and share the conceptual framework for its operational forest monitoring system that will also directly support its national MRV system.
Addressing agricultural drivers of deforestation in REDD+: critical issues to measure and assess
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
A major driver of deforestation is commodity-driven agriculture. A future REDD+ mechanism should include accounting for agriculture, help steer expansion towards “degraded” lands and determine how increased yields may protect ecosystems. Leading experts will suggest key topics for SBSTA to review.
MONDAY, 13 JUNE 2011
REDD-plus and Biodiversity ‘mini-workshop’
Gustav Streseman Institute
interested Parties and organizations will have an opportunity to present a short update on their relevant activities on REDD-plus biodiversity safeguards (max. 5 minutes, verbal presentation in English, no powerpoint). If you would like to participate, please register via email to More: www.cbd.int
Strategies for Integrating Food Security, Livelihoods Resilience & Natural Resource Management
World Food Programme (WFP)
WFP & IFOAM show how vulnerable and food insecure communities can be empowered through sustainable approaches such as affordable and accessible agro-ecological practices that build long-term resilience, enhance livelihoods, improve local food & nutrition access and contribute to mitigation.
100% Renewable Energy by 2050 -WWF and Ecofys
By 2050, we could get all the energy we need from renewable sources. Such a transition is possible and also cost-effective. WWF and ECOFYS present their new Energy Report and discuss the challenges and opportunities in bringing the renewable economy into reality.
TUESDAY 14 JUNE 2011
Biodiversity safeguards of REDD-plus
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The event will present interim results of a consultation process undertaken by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity on the application of relevant safeguards for biodiversity, as well as on ways and means to enhance co-benefits of REDD-plus for biodiversity. More: www.cbd.int
New Market Mechanisms, Land-based offsets and Alternatives
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
Critical Considerations New research suggests carbon trading will deliver neither adequate finance, environmental performance, nor community benefits for land-based carbon sequestration schemes such as REDD or AFOLU. IATP and FERN analyze carbon derivatives markets and their impacts on communities and the climate.
New Market Mechanisms: What Could Work for the Market?
International Emissions Trading Association (IETA)
The outpouring of responses to the call for input on new market-based mechanisms after COP16 shows that there is widespread interest in expanding mechanisms to accommodate more countries, sectors and activities. The IETA submission put forward proposals for two innovative new market-based mechanisms:
(1) A NAMAs Crediting Mechanism for crediting NAMAs that entail a large-scale activity or set of activities within one of three categories: Benchmark Crediting, Policy Crediting, and Aggregate Crediting; AND
(2) A Credit Conversion Mechanism to convert environmental commodity credits of diverse denominations into internationally fungible credits.
At this side event, the IETA secretariat will explain how these proposals would complement and expand far beyond the existing range of the Clean Development Mechanism. An IETA member company representative will then elaborate further on options for benchmark crediting using real-world examples. Finally, two commenters will join the presenters for a roundtable discussion aimed at discussing whether or not these proposals will work for the market, host countries, and the environment.
WEDNESDAY, 15 JUNE 2011
Emerging Technologies, Precaution and the Need for Assessment
Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group)
This workshop will look at the need to look beyond the simple development and transfer of technologies, provide an overview of some of the risks inherent in emergent climate technologies including synthetic biology and geoengineering.
Demonstration of Discussion Forum on REDD
Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
REDD Discussion Forum Development.
Supporting the development of national and regional REDD+ frameworks in Peru
Conservation International (CI)
Cl, with local partners, is supporting the development of REDD+ in Peru at both the national and regional level. This event will present our methods, processes and results used to consolidate REDD+ in the San Martin region, including development of a near real-time forest monitoring system.
THURSDAY, 16 JUNE 2011
Addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation – answers in agriculture
Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM)
The success of REDD+ will depend upon a shift of agricultural expansion away from native forestlands and onto lands that are already cleared but below their productive potential. Innovations that have the potential to forge the missing link between REDD+ and agricultural drivers will be discussed.
Air transport industry side event
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
A side event by the international aviation industry, exploring the way forward for aviation bunker fuels in the UNFCCC process and potential financing options.