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.
Norton Rose, no date | Reducing the output of carbon emissions has become an increasing political concern within Europe over the last few years. Just recently, the UK government pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% of the 1990 levels by 2025. The impact of this political drive, along with a number of issues concerning VAT fraud, the re-sale of used carbon credits and a phishing scam in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), has increased the focus on the way the carbon markets are regulated.
RECOFTC, no date | Local people can actively contribute to REDD+ by providing forest management and monitoring services, but they need fair compensation for the vital environmental services they provide. Community forestry prepares local people to manage forests sustainably and to thereby join in on these forest conservation efforts. Many community forestry programs also include benefit-sharing systems, which could help ensure that payments from REDD+ reach poor and marginalized groups. In addition, established community management programs can also help local people recognize if joining REDD+ is in their best interests.
13 June 2011
By Frank McDonald, Irish Times, 13 June 2011 | As two new reports warned that agriculture and food production is likely to be severely hit by global warming, the latest round of United Nations climate talks in Bonn is making little or no progress in dealing with substantive issues. “Some say that we are discussing the agenda and getting bogged down with procedural matters,” said Argentina’s ambassador, Jorge Argüello… In a veiled reference to the United States and others, Mr Argüello said developing countries were faced in Bonn with “inflexibility from some parties who are determined to prejudge the results of Durban without even the chance for a dialogue on the substance.”
By David Ritter, The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 13 June 2011 | As the intersessional meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change began with a faltering limp in Bonn last week, it was hard not to sense a grand emptiness. The giant rooms of the Maritim Hotel in Bonn have been witness to almost nothing happening, as the climate talks have barely reached a murmur. This could be the last opportunity to generate any momentum before COP 17 to be held at the end of the year in Durban but differences, great and small, have prevented crucial conversations from even getting started. Over days, even the simple content of meeting agendas cannot be agreed. If COP 15 in Copenhagen was the blockbuster that went horribly wrong, the current event in Bonn is a kind of hollowed out residue, like the umpteenth instalment of a film franchise, now devoid of any wit or sense of purpose, but still bearing the moniker of the original.
By Kate Horner, Friends of the Earth, 13 June 2011 | In the first UN negotiating session on new financing options for forest protection since the ill-fated Cancun decisions, a delegate from Guyana said, “Cars kill people. Cars kill people every day but we don’t ban cars. We put in place safety systems like traffic lights and speed limits.” The Guyana delegate then went on to say that there are also risks associated with forest carbon trading, but that we can put in place safety systems, like robust provisions for measuring and verifying carbon reductions, to control them. Well, we certainly agree that there are grave risks — risks that may seriously affect the lives of people who live in and depend on the forests. But protecting forests is not as simple as installing precautionary safety measures like traffic lights for driving. And when it comes to forest carbon trading, we simply don’t need to go down this dangerous and ineffective road.
Rights and Resources Initiative, 13 June 2011 | In a newly-issued briefing note, Friends of the Earth, Rainforest Foundation UK, Greenpeace and FERN cite RRI in debunking ten common misconceptions about global carbon markets and their ability to prevent further deforestation. According to the report: Over the last four years, the United Nations’ negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – REDD+ – has become increasingly central in global discussions on climate change. Unfortunately there are still a number of serious misconceptions about the suitability of carbon markets to finance forest protection. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate why these assumptions are false or misleading. In February 2011, the Secretariat of the UNFCCC invited parties and accredited observer organisations to submit their views on how market-based mechanisms might promote mitigation actions and enhance their cost-effectiveness.
Indymedia Australia, 13 June 2011 | World Bank investments in Carbon offsets and investment in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) was also criticised in the report for failing to take measures to protect community rights and even to reduce deforestation. “An analysis of a range of REDD Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs) uncovered the fact that they neglect national legal frameworks with regard to customary rights, the right to Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), and land titling (FERN & FPP, 2011). They may pay lip service to forest peoples’ rights and benefit sharing but they do not address land conflicts; they prioritise state ownership and carbon monitoring over livelihoods, biodiversity and cultural values. They also tend to be reliant on analysis that unjustifiably blames local communities for forest loss and damage…”
By Rory Carroll, The Guardin, 13 June 2011 | Cocaine barons and farmers have been accused of cutting down swaths of Guatemala’s rainforest to carve out airstrips and to launder drug money, threatening biodiversity and ancient Maya ruins. More than a fifth of the 2.1m-hectare tropical forest – Latin America’s biggest after the Amazon – has been burned and cleared by settlers who are often working for drug traffickers, according to environmentalists and human rights groups. Official figures show the Maya biosphere reserve has lost 21% of its cover since being declared a protected zone in 1990, with impoverished peasants allegedly acting as an advance guard for wealthy drugs-linked farmers. Others put the number even higher.
SADC REDD+ Network, 13 June 2011 | During the SADC Ministerial Meeting that took place in Windhoek, Namibia on 26th May 2011, the programme document on “SADC Support Programme on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)” was approved by the Ministers responsible for Environment and Natural Resources Management. SADC is the first regional organization in Africa to agree on a comprehensive programme to support Member States in their efforts to combat climate change and achieve their development goals through reduced emissions in the forestry sector.
By Geoff Thompson, World Agroforestry Centre, 13 June 2011 | A multifunctional approach to REDD will be far more effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing food production than the practice of intensifying agriculture and sparing forests, reports online journal Science News. The article quotes World Agroforestry Centre scientists at a side-event for the UNFCCC conference in Bonn, Germany last week. It points out that evidence from benchmark sites across the tropics is proving that an integrated, multifunctional approach that allows for land-use sharing in agriculture, forests and other functions can achieve good results in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising food production levels. This approach provides more realistic solutions than the popular view on sparing land for forests through agricultural intensification.
International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 13 June 2011 | Sustainable management of tropical forests in key timber-producing countries has surged since 2005, according to a new report by the Yokohama-based International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). But countries facing conflict and political turmoil continue to struggle to make any meaningful progress in protecting their forests. “We are of course happy to see the progress that has occurred in the last five years,” ITTO Executive Director Emmanuel Ze Meka said in a press release. “But it still represents an incremental advance, and some countries are still lagging behind.” The report is being heralded as the most comprehensive study of the world’s forest cover and forest management with 31 out of 33 major timber trade countries responding to ITTO’s inquiries in the 2010 study. The previous study in 2005 only elicited responses from 21 out of the 33 nations.
By Catherine Airlie, Bloomberg, 13 June 2011 | Carbon credits from projects to halt deforestation can achieve “premium prices” compared with other types of voluntary offsets as demand is set to quadruple in the next three years, according to CF Partners. Credits are being generated from forestry projects such as Wildlife Works Carbon LLC’s Kasigau Corridor in Kenya and Infinite Earth’s Rimba Raya project in Indonesia. Both are registered under a program known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD. The credits can be used by companies wishing to offset emissions voluntarily. “For specific buyers, REDD is at the top of the list, viewed as potentially the most sustainable voluntary credit out there,” John Davis, a specialist in originating and selling credits at London-based CF Partners, said in a telephone interview. These factors are “driving premium pricing relative to similar credits,” he added.
By Fitrian Ardiansyah, Jakarta Post, 13 June 2011 | This year’s World Environment Day, which sports the theme “Forests: Nature at your service” is likely to be celebrated in a more “colorful” way in Indonesia. This may be due to the fact that in the last two weeks prior to June 5, three influential policies were issued by the government. These were two presidential decrees concerning forests and the most recent economic development master plan. If not properly guided, managed and implemented, these three policies have the potential to be contradictory and hence could ruin a significant chance for Indonesia to sustainably manage its remaining valuable forests. For instance, on Friday, May 20, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a presidential instruction number regarding a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear primary forests and peatland throughout Indonesia.
14 June 2011
By Stephen Minas, Climate Spectator, 14 June 2011 | The world’s climate change negotiators have spent another week marred by procedural wrangling, as the International Energy Agency warned that the window for keeping the global temperature increase below the targeted 2ºC is rapidly closing. National officials meeting in Bonn, Germany, for two weeks of United Nations climate talks spent much of last week unable to agree on agendas for key negotiating tracks. There has been no movement on divisions over the shape and ambition of a global climate deal. No further sessions have been scheduled to prepare for the end of year meeting in Durban, South Africa.
By Meena Raman, Third World Network, 14 June 2011 | At an informal group meeting held on 13 June which was open to observers to discuss “policy approaches and positive incentives on issues related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries” known as REDD-plus, Parties were asked by the facilitator, Mr.Antonio La Vina (Philippines) to consider financing options for results based actions as requested by paragraph 77 of the Cancun decision (1/CP16).
Bretton Woods Project, 14 June 2011 | Global oil and gas company BP has pledged $5 million to the Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). BP will finance the FCPF’s carbon fund, which facilitates the sale of forest carbon credits from participating countries to investors. The company will reportedly be able to offset its own emissions through the fund, or profit from its involvement by buying credits and selling them on open markets. “BP should focus on cleaning up its own act, including the still highly polluted Gulf of Mexico, instead of engaging in forest carbon offset credits to avoid meeting climate goals. The carbon fund is almost entirely public money and cannot be used to bail out dirty industries like BP” said Kate Horner, of Friends of the Earth US.
Bretton Woods Project, 14 June 2011 | The Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is considering whether to allow multiple delivery partners, including UN agencies and regional MDBs, to implement Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) grants without applying Bank safeguards (see Update 72). The FCPF charter currently states that all FCPF projects are subject to Bank safeguards, but a task force will instead consider a common delivery approach for implementing agencies, which would negate this provision. A May letter to the Bank, signed by 30 civil society organisations including Greenpeace International and Ghanaian NGO Civic Response, argues that current proposals indicate a significant weakening of safeguards and a potential lack of effective monitoring and supervision of FCPF funding.
WWF, 14 June 2011 | For REDD+ to succeed, the global community must demonstrate that the carbon held in forests can be efficiently and accurately measured so that changes can be monitored and reported across large forest areas. This will ensure that it’s possible to verify whether real progress is being made in preventing emissions from forest loss. WWF is supporting forest countries’ efforts to put in place systems to measure, monitor, report on and verify the amount of carbon held in forests (referred to as MRV). Forest countries need financial, technological and capacity-building support to develop these robust MRV systems. WWF is also developing innovative tools to measure, monitor and report on forest carbon.
By Tony La Vina, Manila Standard Today, 14 June 2011 | This last week, joining a strong and dynamic Philippine Delegation, I was once again involved with negotiations in Bonn for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-Plus) a series of initiatives to stop deforestation, reverse its degradation, and conserve and enhance forests. In 2009 during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, I chaired the negotiations involving nearly 200 countries to arrive at an agreement to establish the REDD-plus mechanism. Last week, I was again asked to chair the continuing negotiations to finally begin implementing REDD-plus. The goal of the REDD-plus mechanism is to provide incentives for governments, private firms, and local stakeholders to preserve and enhance forests, as opposed to harvesting or converting them. The mechanism however, if designed or implemented badly, could negatively impact forest-dependent communities, including indigenous peoples, or the environment.
BY Olivia Rondonuwu, Reuters, 14 June 2011 | Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of a taskforce on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), had proposed including secondary forest as well as untouched primary forest in the moratorium… The forestry ministry said the area subjected to the moratorium is 55 million hectares (137.5 million acres) of primary forests and 17 million hectares of carbon-rich peatlands, while the presidential advisor said it is 64 million hectares of primary forests and 20 million hectares of peatlands. “This is a mess. Who would not be confused by this? Even I am confused,” said Mangkusubroto, who has a “Gone Surfing” door hanger in his office and tries to stay relaxed despite trying to fix the country’s notorious bureaucracy.
IHB, 14 June 2011 | The 2 year moratorium on primary forest clearing and logging provided guidance to the plantation, energy and construction industries concerning green house gas emissions, while offering various forms of exemptions and concessions.
By Hatman Bintang, Indonesia Today, 14 June 2011 | First Growth Funds Limited group reports its joint venture with Greencollar Group (GCS), First Growth Forests (FGFJV), has commenced the world’s first program to develop forestry carbon projects for the whole of a province in West Papua. “Developing projects at the landscape scale aligns project activities with market expectations for forestry credits and the UNFCCC’s emerging REDD+ principles. West Papua has nearly 8 M hectares of forest classified for logging, agriculture, and various urban expansion uses,” the company said in press release. The program will develop and market forest carbon projects through a public private partnership with the Government, applying the market-leading Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). Projects are on-track to deliver carbon credits from Quarter 3 of this year.
Survival International, 14 June 2011 | Peru’s Culture Ministry has promised to protect an uncontacted tribe’s reserve in the Amazon amid fears that it would be shut down. In a statement released last week, the ministry denied reports that it planned to abolish the Murunahua reserve, and stated that it is fully protected under Peruvian law. The controversy was sparked by employees of the Indigenous Affairs Department, Indepa, which lies within the Culture Ministry, after they revealed plans to close the reserve in meetings with local organizations. Luis Lacerna, the director of Indepa’s Indigenous Protection, Economic Development and Territory department, is currently the only employee whose identity has been revealed by the international press.
By Pete Harrison, Reuters, 14 June 2011 | The Europe Union’s carbon market could be flooded with excess pollution permits over the next decade, deflating prices and undermining investment in green energy, five EU energy companies warned on Tuesday. The utilities, including Britain’s Scottish and Southern Energy and Denmark’s Dong, said falling carbon prices could: “severely hamper business incentives to invest in low-carbon technologies.” The EU’s upcoming “energy efficiency directive,” due in late June, will propose cutting energy consumption in buildings, vehicles and more controversially, industry. Energy efficiency measures for building and transport are widely supported by many industries, as well as environmentalists. But carbon market experts say it would be a mistake to put a further layer of regulation on top of the EU’s main tool for curbing greenhouse gas emissions — the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
By Martin Banks, theparliament.com, 14 June 2011 | Speaking on Tuesday at an event jointly organised by the Parliament Magazine, Imke Lübbeke, of the WWF, said that the environmental impact of oil palm had “not been exaggerated”. Lübbeke, the organisation’s EU bio-energy policy officer, said there was “increasing evidence” that oil palm production was directly responsible for a 12 per cent reduction in the “number, variety and abundance” of wildlife in Malaysia, the world’s second biggest producer of palm oil. She added, “WWF is not against palm oil which is a very valuable vegetable oil. It has unique characteristics that suit it to processed foods and other consumer goods like detergents and soaps. We support palm oil as long as it produced sustainably.”
By Mark Kinver, BBC News, 14 June 2011 | Europe’s forests can play a key role in helping mitigate the impact of climate change, a report described as the most comprehensive of its kind concludes. Europe is home to 25% of the world’s forests, which absorb about 10% of the EU’s annual emissions, it added. The study said that improved policies had increased tree cover but that the risks of fire and disease were growing. The report was published at a summit where ministers considered developing a legally binding deal on forest policy. “We are benefiting now from the wise and brave decisions made in past,” said Kit Prins, former UN timber chief, as he presented the findings to delegates at the Forest Europe conference in Oslo.
By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 14 June 2011 | Guyana received some money from Norway outside of the agreed mechanism under their forest partnership and it has asked for more. The US$470,000 the government received last year was channelled through non-governmental organisation, Conservation International, while this year, the government asked Norway for a further US$1.54 million to pay contractors involved in preparing reports for the partnership. However, Norway has slashed the sum requested significantly and discussions are ongoing between both governments and CI, sources with knowledge of the arrangements confirmed to Stabroek News. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
15 June 2011
By Natasha Gilbert, Nature News, 15 June 2011 | Forests are vital to the livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries, providing on average more than one-fifth of their annual income, according to data presented today at a meeting in London. The study provides much-needed solid evidence for the importance of forests to the world’s rural poor. It also overturns some existing assumptions, showing, for example, that forests provide vital income to whole communities, not just the poorest, and that richer households are most likely to contribute to deforestation. Income from forests has been largely “undervalued”, particularly in assessments of poverty and income such as the World Bank’s Living Standard Measurement Survey, says Arild Angelsen, an environmental economist at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Aas and a lead author of the study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) based in Bogor, Indonesia.
Survival International, 15 June 2011 | More than 1,000 Penan hunter-gatherers will be taken from their rainforest home and dumped in a vast oil palm plantation – to make way for the controversial Murum dam. The Penan have said they do not want to move, but have been given no choice. They told the government that if they had to leave they wanted to move to another part of their ancestral land. The government accepted this – but has sold the same area to the Malaysian company Shin Yang, which is clearing the forest and planting thousands of oil palms. The Penan, who live in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, rely on their forest for hunting and collecting wild fruits and plants; without it they cannot survive. In an emotional appeal the Penan said, ‘Shin Yang has entered the area illegally without our consent. If it is allowed to extensively clear and fell the forest, there will be no more forest left for our community to sustain our livelihood’.
By Adrian Bathgate and David Fogarty, Reuters, 15 June 2011 | From moribund to modestly active, New Zealand’s carbon trading scheme has picked up since the entry of big polluters a year ago but faces a major challenge in how to ramp up pressure on firms to take more steps to cut emissions. The emissions trading scheme, or ETS, remains the first national scheme outside Europe’s $120 billion a year program. Industry is questioning whether New Zealand should toughen its scheme given the glacial pace of U.N. negotiations on a new climate pact and slow progress in other competitors in bringing in a national price on carbon. Neighboring Australia is struggling to win support for its carbon pricing plan.
By Salla Rantala, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | Driving along a narrow country road leading towards the Rubeho mountains in Central Tanzania’s Kilosa district, we come across bicycle after bicycle loaded with sacks of charcoal, heading towards sprawling urban centres. Two weeks later, I write this to the loud churning sound of the diesel generator of our compound in Dar es Salaam, during another one of the programmed 16-hour power cuts across the city. The links between the two situations are multiple, with a number of implications for the success of a national initiative of mitigating climate change through reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Over 90% of Tanzanians depend on wood fuels for domestic energy, and in the urban centers, charcoal is the fuel of choice. In Dar es Salaam, the proportion of households using charcoal as the primary source energy arose from 47% to 71% between 2002-2007.
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | Looking down from a tiny plane above the Amazon, a blanket of patchy green stretches to the horizon, broken only by occasional ribbons of brown as rivers slice through the rainforest. Its enormity makes it look indestructible. But an arc of deforestation is sweeping across the largest tropical forest in the world, driven mainly by cattle ranchers looking for more land to meet a seemingly insatiable global appetite for beef. Saving the Amazon, as well as the world’s other great forests, like in the Congo Basin and Southeast Asia, has long been a goal of environmentalists and others. But the task has taken on new urgency after scientists proposed that it just may represent the cheapest and fastest way to slow climate change – with deforestation accounting for up to 18% of all carbon emissions (equal to the world’s transport sector).
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | Though the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has dropped, about 6,000 square kilometers is still being felled every year, mainly so that cattle ranchers can help to feed a seemingly insatiable appetite for beef, both within Brazil and globally. Despite a push to increase the intensification of agriculture in Brazil, the huge amount of land used to raise cattle is still inefficient, said Peter May, co-author of The context of REDD+ in Brazil: drivers, agents, and institutions, published by the Center for International Forestry Research.
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | In this interview, Sven Wunder, Principal Scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and head of CIFOR’s Brazil office, looks at how REDD+ has developed in South America, and what he sees happening in the next few years. You can watch this interview on video at the bottom of the page. The interview was recorded in Brazil in April. Q: What is the state of REDD+ in South America? Compared to other tropical forest regions of the world, the REDD pilot experiences are fairly advanced in the Amazon region and South America, thanks to very active civil society organizations in this region.
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 15 June 2011 | A landless peasant activist has been killed by a gunshot to his head outside his home in Brazil, the fifth murder in a month amid a conflict over land and logging in Brazil’s Amazon region. The body of Obede Loyla Souza was found over the weekend in the dense forest surrounding his home in Esperança, a settlement in the state of Pará, said Hilario Lopes Costa, co-ordinator for the watchdog Catholic Land Pastoral in Pará. Costa went to the remote settlement, near the town of Pacajá, to interview witnesses and support the victim’s wife and children, who were afraid for their lives.
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | Would US$33 a month do? That is the amount a project in the Amazon pays each of 7,600 families in exchange for a pledge to protect the rainforest. The stipend is bundled together with other development aid, including better education, health care and livelihood support. Families complain it is not enough and say they need the equivalent of an official minimum salary – more than 10 times the current handout. The question of how much money it will take to protect forests in developing countries is becoming increasingly pressing with billions of dollars being pledged for a global mechanism for Reducing greenhouse gas Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). Advocates hope it will offer the world one of the cheapest and fastest ways to slow climate change.
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | A lack of progress in fixing a murky system of land ownership and land-use rules in Brazil may threaten the country’s ability to scale up a climate change initiative that would see it receive extensive international funding to save its forests. “There is a very highly undefined status of land tenure in the Amazon. A large proportion of the Amazon is actually untitled land. It nominally belongs to the Union,” said Peter May, who is working on a global REDD+ research project that is coordinated by the Center for International Forestry Research.
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | With fines for illegal deforestation rarely paid, Brazil is using a novel approach to save the Amazon: block those who clear land illegally from accessing credit. And, refreshingly, the system seems to be working. “If you can link someone who has been charged with an infraction with their accessibility to credit, that can be an effective deterrent,” said Peter May, a scientist working in Brazil in association with the Center for International Forestry Research. “That is one tool that the judiciary is now using fairly effectively, jointly with the national monetary council that those who are not in accordance with the environmental codes should not be allowed to take out (publicly approved) credit.” He said that in Brazil only about 5 people in every 100 who are fined for environmental crimes ever pay up.
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | Virgilio Viana, one of Brazil’s leading movers and shakers on climate change and rainforests, said he is optimistic his country will agree this year on a national legal framework that could pave the way for significant funds to pour in from overseas to save the Amazon. The money would be linked to REDD+, a global climate change mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the conservation and sustainable management of forests (REDD+). “The biggest challenge we have at the moment is to have a legal framework. We don’t yet have a law at the federal level that deals with the concept of payment for environmental services and deals with carbon so that you can have contracts and programs developed under such a framework,” Viana said in an interview. “I am optimistic we will have a change within this year to have it passed in Congress.”
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | Public support is growing in Brazil for a global climate change scheme that could see the country paid not to turn the Amazon into farmland, experts said, after years of derision by nationalist critics who described the plan as “selling the oxygen to the gringos.” “There is a growing and large support for the concept of REDD, which did not exist not too long ago. I see that both in government agencies and the civil society,” said Virgilio Viana, director-general of Brazil’s Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), which manages a project in the Amazon that pays local inhabitants not to cut the forests.
By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 15 June 2011 | Home to the largest rainforest in the world, Brazil is keen to share its REDD+ experiences with other forest-rich developing countries, in what would be a move away from a long-standing model of knowledge sharing from countries in the ‘North’ to those in the ‘South.’ “I think South-South cooperation is a concept that is very important, particularly on REDD that speaks so much to a development agenda that is very different from the developed, industrialized world,” said Virgilio Viana, director-general of Brazil’s Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, which manages one of the largest programs in the world of payments for environmental services.
By David Young, The Guardian, 15 June 2011 | Imagine if your government suddenly passed laws that sold off the street your family had lived on for generations to an international property developer. Your land was to be “converted” into flats in the name of national economic development; bulldozers would soon be moving in to demolish your house and carve up the garden. You had no say in the process and were promised none of the financial windfall. But you were to be comprehensively muscled off your property – end of conversation. This is the scenario that Hugo Che Piu, head of Peruvian NGO Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Dar), is currently fighting in association with Global Witness. In 2009, 30 people died during protests near Bagua in the Amazonas region, after laws passed by executive government decree allowed for huge chunks of forest inhabited by indigenous communities to be handed over to international logging firms to develop biofuel plantations.
By Erik Meijaard, Jakarta Globe, 15 June 2011 | Speaking in December 2007, Yudhoyono said: “The orangutan represents a solution, an interlinked process in which we stop deforestation, save endangered forest wildlife [and] store greenhouse gas emissions.” He added that “the orangutan and its fate brings us closer to the reality of the effects of global warming, and the opportunities that forests provide to mitigate it.” Somewhere along the line, the president’s own intentions to act on this statement have been hijacked and diverted. Despite the oil palm industry crying wolf and shedding crocodile tears, the new instruction does not achieve the president’s stated aims. Hopefully the good intentions put forward in one action plan to save the orangutan will not be undermined by the next action plan intended to “save” the forests.
mongabay.com, 15 June 2011 | 30 percent of forests and peatlands in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan has been destroyed, while a substantial extent of the remainder has been damaged, finds a new assessment that identifies key areas for preservation. The study, conducted by Daemeter Consulting on behalf of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), finds that more than three-quarters of the forest in the Mahakam Lowlands has been lost since 1975. Up to 2 million hectares of natural ecosystems across the province are slated for conversion.
UN Information Center press release, 15 June 2011 | We also need to reward those who make drylands productive, so they will prosper and others will seek to emulate their example. Resources currently under development under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change — such as REDD Plus and the Green Climate Fund – can go a long way towards improving the resilience of dryland populations, who stand to be affected first and worst by climate change. Too often, investing in drylands has been seen as unproductive or risky, instead of a necessary avenue for improving the well-being of local communities and national economies. Our challenge is to change market perceptions so drylands cease to be investment deserts.
Republica, 15 June 2011 | Three watersheds in Dolakha, Gorkha and Chitwan districts on Wednesday received a total sum of $95,000 under the first-ever Forest Carbon Trust Fund (FCTF) in Nepal. Charnawati watershed in Dolakha received $45,535, while Ludikhola watershed in Gorkha received $27,560 and Kayarkhola watershed in Chitwan received $21,905. The FCTF piloted in the three watersheds has been implemented in a project on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+), International Centre for Integration Mountain Development (ICIMOD) said in a statement.
By Danielle McKay, The Mercury, 15 June 2011 | A proposal to keep Tasmania’s native forests standing in exchange for billions in carbon credits has been rejected by the State Government, Liberal Opposition and Forestry Tasmania. Redd Forests Pty Ltd has written to Forestry Tasmania suggesting it adopt the “commercially proven” model. The company’s Tasmanian-based project manager, Jarrah Vercoe, said Redd Forests had made $450,000 by selling just under 30,000ha of privately owned native forest to international carbon buyers. Mr Vercoe said, unlike native forest woodchips, there was a growing demand for carbon credits. “Based on the value of recent carbon credit sales and conservative figures on timber volumes, our proposition is that Tasmania can generate in excess of $50 million per annum from these avoided emissions,” he said. “This works, it is proven. We could do this tomorrow.”
By Andrew Darby, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2011 | Meanwhile, the Redd Forests carbon offset company, of which Ms Cameron is a director, has pitched to Forestry Tasmania a plan to lease up to 500,000 hectares of public native forests earmarked for logging. Redd Forests managing director Stephen Dickey said the lease could yield up to $100 million annually for Tasmania. Forestry Tasmania’s general manager for corporate relations, Ken Jeffreys, said predictions of a bonanza were likely to create false hope.
By Tim Costello (World Vision), Canberra Times, 15 June 2011 | World Vision’s work is among the poorest of these nations. We seek the well-being of all children, so they can enjoy ”life in all its fullness”. We are partnering with communities to create greater prosperity in ways that sustain their livelihoods by protecting the lands they depend on. In Ethiopia, seven small communities have banded together and restored degraded hills that is now providing more food, fodder and fuel, and the captured carbon is being sold through the World Bank.
16 June 2011
EIA Investigator’s Blog, 16 June 2011 | Yesterday, EIA and Telapak released a new briefing paper – Caught REDD Handed- exposing illegal deforestation in Indonesia. In summary, the briefing exposed how, on the very day Indonesia’s president signed a new moratorium on forest exploitation in areas of peatland and primary forest across Indonesia, EIA and Telapak were filming a Malaysian owned plantation company actively clearing about 5,000 hectares of it in the REDD+ Pilot Province, Central Kalimantan. The moratorium was breached on day one – hardly a good sign for what is already a weak moratorium.
By Liam Cochrane, Radio Australia, 16 June 2011 | n the day Indonesia’s landmark moratorium on forest conversion was signed, it was being actively broken according to a British environmental group. A British environmental group says forests in Central Kalimantan were being cleared on the day a billion dollar forest protection scheme for the province was being signed between Indonesia and Norway. The deal last month was part of the REDD scheme, under which Indonesia receives money from Norway in return for protecting its forests. But the Environmental Investigation Agency says Norway will actually profit indirectly from the plantation clearing that was taking place in Indonesia even as the ink dried on the REDD agreement.
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 16 June 2011 | An undercover investigation has found evidence that a subsidiary of Malaysian palm oil company has illegally cleared forest in breach of the Indonesia’s moratorium on new permits in primary forest areas and peatlands. A field investigation conducted last month by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telapak found that PT Menteng Jaya Sawit Perdana (PT Menteng), a palm oil company owned by Malaysia-based Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK), has cleared peat forest near Sampit in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province without securing proper licenses. PT Menteng had only a Location Permit, not the Plantation Business Permit required under Indonesian plantation law or a permit from the Ministry of Forestry releasing the 7,400-ha (18,300-acre) concession.
By Olufunso Somorin, CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 June 2011 | Financing forest conservation in Central Africa is an age-old issue of trust between the developed and developing worlds or “North and South”, said the President of Guyana, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo at the Three Tropical Forest Basin Summit (Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong) this week. “The North thinks they are always taking a risk by financing forestry projects, whether conservation or development, in poor developing countries. But we are the ones (the South) that are actually taking the risk. By choosing not to follow the path to development, we take the risk with the poverty of our people, the underdevelopment of our economy and infrastructure. The truth is that green economy is a big risk for us”.
By Arsène Séverin, IPS, 16 June 2011 | Only two of the eleven countries that share the Congo Basin have validated their plans to participate in the forest conservation process known as REDD+. Preparatory plans for REDD (the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests, the plus refers to the extension of the programme to encompass certain tree plantations) have been completed by only the Republic of Congo and its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
IUCN, 16 June 2011 | A new briefing paper illustrates how participatory assessment tools can inform REDD+ decision-making about important links between forests and livelihoods. REDD+ is a mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aimed at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. The Forests‐Poverty Toolkit is a participatory rural assessment tool that undertakes wealth‐ranking exercises based on locally identified indicators. Data collected make it possible to identify and differentiate forest dependence among men and women, richer and poorer people and among people living closer or further away from markets. The toolkit sheds new light on non-monetary aspects of forest dependency and collects data on forest trends that help villagers to identify the key forest problems in their area and potential solutions.
Sunshine Coast Queensland, 16 June 2011 | A CQUniversity researcher has spent the past two and half years investigating ways to reduce carbon emissions to positively impact on climate change, while reducing poverty in developing countries. PhD researcher Thakur Bhattarai has been looking into the impact of carbon trading on developing countries and hopes to convince governments on policies that will maintain the integrity of forests and improve the well-being of forest communities. “It has been widely accepted that the emission from deforestation and forest degradation from the developing countries is contributing about one fifth of global emissions, more than the entire transportation sector, and if we do not stop the deforestation and forest degradation, most of the world’s forests and important ecosystems will have disappeared by the end of 2100,” Mr Bhattarai said.
By John Bowler, Greenpeace International, 16 June 2011 | Bonn jour :-) and “hi” from the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany where the Greenpeace forest team is working hard to secure a good REDD deal. The REDD concept is fairly simple: rich, developed countries provide funding to help developing countries protect their forests and invest in clean, green development). But we are not just listening, lobbying and negotiating. We are also campaigning. Last week we held a side event focused on the consultancy company McKinsey. I’m not going to get into that here so if you want to know more about that go to David’s blog. What I want to let you know about is a spoof presidential decree from Brazil’s President Dilma that we distributed yesterday morning.
Survival International, 16 June 2011 | Brazilian beef barons whose illegal clearance of land inhabited by uncontacted Indians in Paraguay was spotted by satellites have now been charged with illegal deforestation. The charges come after Survival released satellite images showing 4000 hectares of illegal deforestation on land owned by the ranching companies BBC S.A and River Plate. The area in northern Paraguay is home to uncontacted Ayoreo Indians who rely entirely on the forest for their survival. Members of the tribe that have been forced out of the forest in recent years are fighting for entitlement to their ancestral land as the only means to save their uncontacted relatives.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 16 June 2011 | Early this month, headline-grabbing reports on the carbon markets from both Ecosystem Marketplace and the World Bank highlighted a souring compliance market for carbon while the voluntary space picks up where it left off from pre-recession days. REDD+ took the lead role in the latest cast of market players, and despite the relatively small scale compared to compliance markets or current public finance pledges, we’re keeping our eye on REDD+ to be the new standard-bearer as the voluntary market’s “mouse that roared.” In Brazzaville, leaders from the three major forest basins of the world put their heads together on forest climate policy and resolved to follow a shared vision and leadership for the upcoming UN negotiations in Durban this December. And leading into Bonn, international climate negotiators resumed ongoing talks, hoping to regain momentum after the haltingly fractious logjam that surfaced at the last meeting in Bangkok.
By Tom Levitt, The Ecologist, 16 June 2011 | one-fifth of household income in rural communities and says access for them should be prioritised in REDD-type conservation projects. We are ‘undervaluing’ the income rural communities in developing countries derive from forests, according to major survey of 25 countries including Brazil, Guinea and Indonesia. As a result, REDD-type agreements designed to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation by restricting access to forests could deprive rural households of a major part of their livelihood. The study, undertaken by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), found that income derived from forest sources made up between 20 and 25 per cent of the total household income of rural communities.
WWF, 16 June 2011 | As the latest United Nations climate change talks reach their final stages, CARE International, Greenpeace and WWF are calling on the world’s governments to show leadership and unite on efforts to halt forest loss by 2020… “We are spending precious time designing a complex system of rules for REDD+. These are necessary to protect the rights and livelihoods of the millions of poor men and women who depend on forests,” commented Raja Jarrah, CARE’s Senior Advisor on REDD+. “But this is only part of the story. With no ambitious commitment to cut global emissions, it is like treating a patient’s lung disease without asking him to stop smoking.”
Stabroek News, 16 June 2011 | Representatives of the Joint Opposition Political Parties (JOPP) met a Norwegian official last Thursday and raised several concerns, including whether Oslo was taking seriously, the recommendations in a recent report done for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. Minister Counsellor Inge Nordang paid a courtesy call on the JOPP at the PNCR’s headquarters, Congress Place, Sophia and met PNCR leader, Robert Corbin, PNCR presidential candidate David Granger, PNCR Vice-Chairman Dr George Norton, Member of Parliament Africo Selman, Co-leader of the Working People’s Alliance Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, Martin Lopez of the Guyana Action Party and Nicole Telford of the National Front Alliance. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
Kaieteur News, 16 June 2011 | A controversial US$15.4M contract to build access roads to a major hydro project at Amaila Falls continues to be way behind schedule, with only three months to go, and the delay could jeopardise ongoing financial negotiations. As a matter of fact, attempts by the contractor, Synergy Holdings Inc., to outsource some of the works to meet a September deadline, are not finding much success. Government is hoping to close the financing deal before the year is out. While Government had given the green light to Synergy Holdings Inc. on October 5, last year, to start work, the work is only one-third completed, says Walter Willis, Senior Engineer of the Ministry of Public Works. Willis is supervising the works on behalf of Government. There is less than three months remaining…the deadline is September 9.
Stabroek News, 16 June 2011 | Following discussions with international donor agencies and community consultations, the government is moving ahead to rehabilitate the Kaburi Village Road in Region 7 under the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project. The Public Works Ministry is inviting bids from eligible and qualified contractors for the project to rehabilitate and reconstruct the Kaburi Village Road. 120 days have been identified as the timeline for the project to be completed, an advertisement in yesterday’s edition of the Guyana Chronicle said. The rehabilitation of this road is seen as being very important as the government moves to secure financial closure for the hydropower plant. Kaburi is located about 70 km from the proposed site for the hydropower plant and is the village closest to the area. [R-M: Subcription needed.]
Stabroek News, 16 June 2011 | The government has budgeted $600M for demarcation and land titling activities in 25 Amerindian communities this year with Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai saying yesterday that the process is not as simple as it looks. A report for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) released several weeks ago had urged the completion of land titling activities but questioned the high cost outlined by Guyana and added that it is unclear whether the use of current technology has been fully investigated. Guyana is seeking $2.4B from 2011 to 2014 from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) for land titling and demarcation for Amerindian communities. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
17 June 2011
Bolivia’s indigenous social movements press release, 17 June 2011 | “Our Mother Earth is ill. The development model of unlimited economic growth and overconsumption has broken the balance between human beings and the environment” said indigenous leader Rafael Quispe… “In order to achieve a net reduction of carbon emissions REDD plus cannot be financed by market-based mechanisms or used in carbon offsetting. Instead funds should come from developed countries and innovative funding sources should be explored. For example, by establishing a new mechanism for a tax on financial transactions that would generate funds without any conditionality”, added Lauriano Pari.
Carbon Trade Watch, 17 June 2011 | REDD+ rewards polluters with carbon credits, allowing them to elude their responsibility to reduce emissions at source. There are billions of dollars at stake and no real obligation to respect human or collective rights – the so-called “safeguards” mentioned in the negotiating text states that they should only be “promoted and supported” rather than being obligatory for governments. These sneaky words are absolutely inadequate to protect Indigenous and forest-dependent Peoples’ rights. REDD-type projects have already resulted in land grabs, jailings, servitude and threats to cultural survival. It is crucial to ask who is gaining from REDD+, who is making the decisions, where is the money coming from and who is pushing REDD+, and why. Below is an overview of some of the key players who are behind designing, implementing and profiting from REDD+.
Deutsche Welle, 17 June 2011 | After two weeks of talks on the future of global climate policy came to an end at the UN in Bonn much was left to be desired. As the end of the Kyoto Protocol draws near, major progress is slow in coming… Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics at Greenpeace in Germany, said he sees many governments that aren’t interested in pushing negotiations forward toward an acceptable deal. “There are still many countries in the climate talks that don’t want to see results and try to slow things down by bringing up procedural questions about the negotiations,” Kaiser said. “Unfortunately, we saw that here in Bonn again.” Kaiser was critical of the role of the United States. Many had hoped US President Barack Obama would breathe new life into the climate negotiations, but Kaiser said the president lacks the political backing in Washington to take on major climate policy changes.
EDF press release, 17 June 2011 | [T]he latest UN climate negotiations in Bonn made incremental progress on some technical issues, but the large differences … remain unresolved… “There is still a potentially useful role for the UN talks regarding common rules for measuring and accounting for emissions necessary to create strong markets – but only if countries find ways to negotiate decisions more efficiently. It looks increasingly likely that the real progress on fighting global warming will take place outside the U.N. process, in national, regional, and state-level carbon markets,” said Annie Petsonk, EDF’s International Counsel… And once again, the most progress was made on policies to reduce emissions from deforestation (REDD+). “Tropical forest nations made good and steady progress on the key technical issues they need to resolve to be able to offer to carbon markets well-verified reductions in emissions from deforestation,” said Petsonk.
By Susanne Rust, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 June 2011 | California’s largest utility promises its customers green salvation through its ClimateSmart program. For every bit of energy a Pacific Gas & Electric ratepayer uses – from turning on a vacuum cleaner to powering up a computer or heating up an oven – a little part of a tree or forest is saved to erase the carbon sins of the customer. The voluntary program costs participants about $60 a year. But the company isn’t telling its customers one crucial fact: Those forests were purchased years ago by a Virginia conservation group that used nearly $50 million in loans and grants from California taxpayers. The Conservation Fund then sold PG&E carbon credits on land it had purchased for preservation and selective logging. The group argues that it could harvest far more trees, but is choosing to preserve them. And the saved trees, which sequester carbon, are worth something it can sell: carbon credits to PG&E and others.
Solomon Star, 17 June 2011 | The ministry of forestry has been in contact with relevant ministrys on measures to ensure all other components of the two projects in yesterday’s front page article are attended to… “Hence, it is not entirely true that the ministry is out sorts for funding to carry out its planned work programs in 2011.” Furthermore, opportunities for donor countries with strong interests in carbon trading to meet their internal obligation under the global effort at reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradations (REDD) will be explored soon and we are optimistic about our potential to attract donor assistance for forestry sector programs and activities under the ministry, the statement added.
By Catherine Airlie, Bloomberg, 17 June 2011 | UN talks on protecting forests aren’t moving fast enough even though voluntary projects are already generating emissions reductions, a Kenyan delegate attending this week’s climate talks said. Kenya hosts the Kasigau Corridor forestry project, the world’s first to be issued with voluntary credits under … REDD. Envoys meeting at the talks in Bonn approved text yesterday on a so-called REDD-plus mechanism… REDD-plus, which is designed to offer extra benefits alongside emissions savings from forests, is “progressing but not at the speed which some of us would want to move,” Alfred Gichu, senior assistant director of the Kenya Forest Service, said in an interview in Bonn. “I am however happy to note that the private sector has already taken the initiative, but they would be better facilitated had there been rules in place to govern their participation.”
By Michael Taylor, Reuters, 17 June 2011 | Indonesia’s freshly inked two-year forest moratorium was breached on its first day as a plantation company burned carbon-rich peatlands on Borneo island, an investigation by an environmental group said. Indonesia revealed a long list of exemptions to its much-delayed two-year forest moratorium on logging that came into effect on May 20, in a concession to hard-lobbying plantation firms in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and its Indonesian partner Telapak said they had documented peat forest in Central Kalimantan province’s moratorium zone being burned by Malaysian plantation group Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) on May 20. KLK officials were not immediately available for comment and company executives did not respond to queries emailed by Reuters. The Forestry Ministry told Reuters it had not seen the environmental group’s report…
Stabroek News, 17 June 2011 | A team from the European Forestry Institute (EFI) is in Guyana conducting a diagnostic assessment of the forestry sector aimed at providing additional information to Guyana, as it considers joining the European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Network Voluntary Partnership Agreement (EU FLEGT-VPA). [R-M: Subscription needed.]
18 June 2011
Kaieteur News, 19 June 2011 | The government says it plans to use funds from the forest-saving deal with Norway to help build the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, put solar panels in every Amerindian home and demarcate Amerindian lands, none of these projects have yet reached a committee which has to approve financing. As a result, no financing has yet reached Guyana, and Norway is claiming that this has to do with the fact that the system being set up to channel the money is a new one and there have to be safeguards in place, including ensuring the money will be spent for the intended purpose. Regarding the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric project, Norway said that while the project is listed under the LCDS, it has not been submitted to the relevant Steering Committee for assessment and approval for financing.
Stabroek News, 19 June 2011 | The first projects to be funded through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) remain in the developmental stage 18 months after the forests’ saving agreement was sealed with Norway. Only one project concept note (PCN) has been submitted to the GRIF Steering Committee… [R-M: Subscription needed.]
19 June 2011
Sandbag press release, 19 June 2011 | New research by Sandbag Climate Campaign has revealed the top ten companies profiting from Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), all of whom are prominent members of trade associations actively lobbying to prevent the system from being reformed. The Carbon Fat Cats, all of them steel and cement companies, share between them surplus carbon permits (EUAs) of 240 million tonnes – more than the annual carbon emissions of Austria, Denmark, Portugal and Latvia combined. Valued at 4.1 billion Euros, this windfall of free permits from 2008-2010 is worth over four times the entire EU environment budget over the same period. The surplus could grow further to a value of over 5.6 billion Euros by the end of 2012.
By Michael Marshall, New Scientist, 19 June 2011 | The UN is failing to accurately measure the global climate benefits of preserving forests. As well as providing homes for many species, trees store carbon dioxide that would otherwise warm the planet. With this in mind, the UN set up the REDD programme … in 2008, which will pay poorer countries to preserve their forests based on how much carbon dioxide they store. What this fails to take into account is that forests also alter temperature in other ways. Those close to the poles are dark, and so absorb more sunlight than croplands would. But in the tropics, more water evaporates from forests than from unforested land, so they cool their surroundings. To get a fuller picture, Vivek Arora of Environment Canada and the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and Alvaro Montenegro of St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, used a computer model to estimate the overall effect of reforesting.
By Karimeh Moukaddem, mongabay.com, 19 June 2011 | Africa’s forests are fast diminishing to the detriment of climate, biodiversity, and millions of people of dependent on forest resources for their well-being. But is the full conservation of Africa’s forests necessary to mitigate global climate change and ensure environmental stability in Africa? A new report by The Forest Philanthropy Action Network (FPAN), a non-profit that provides research-based advice on funding forest conservation, argues that only the full conservation of African forests will successfully protect carbon stocks in Africa. Focusing on the role of African forests in helping mitigate climate change, the report, Protecting and restoring forest carbon in tropical Africa: A guide for donors and funders is the first to explore methods to protect and restore Africa’s forests.
Kaieteur News, 19 June 2011 | The publisher of Kaieteur News has refused to publish advertisements requested by Sithe Global, the developers of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, as a principled position given the company’s refusal to answer questions posed by this newspaper. “If neither the government nor the opposition would take a stand, Kaieteur News will take a stand in the interest of this nation and its people,” Glenn Lall, publisher of Kaieteur News said in explaining the decision of the newspaper.