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REDD in the news: 12-18 September 2011

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REDD in the news: 12-18 September 2011

A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.

12 September 2011

EU to Classify Spot Carbon as Financial Instrument, Draft Shows

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 12 September 2011 | The European Union’s regulator will propose classifying spot carbon-dioxide contracts as financial instruments to better protect the world’s biggest emissions market from fraud, an EU draft document showed. The European Commission opted to extend its Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or Mifid, to cover spot carbon deals rather than design a tailor-made regime, according to the draft proposal obtained by Bloomberg News. The commission wants to enhance supervision of the market after thieves in January illegally transferred allowances valued at about 23 million euros ($31 million) at today’s prices. “Both spot and derivatives markets will be under a single supervisor,” the commission said in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the proposal. Mifid and the EU rules on market abuse “would apply, thereby comprehensively upgrading the security of the market without interfering with its purpose, which remains emissions reduction.”

EU could dish out 700 million free CO2 credits to upgrade ageing power plants

By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 12 September 2011 | The European Union will give away nearly 700 million free emissions allowances (EUAs) to 10 member states that need to upgrade their ageing energy infrastructure, Deutsche Bank has forecast. The third phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme due to start in 2013 will tighten restrictions on the amount of carbon emitted by power plants. However, it also includes a clause designed to encourage the modernisation of old, inefficient power plants in eastern Europe. Ten member states, including Romania, Latvia and Cyprus, are eligible to apply for free EUAs, and are due to submit their proposals by the end of September. So far just Poland and the Czech Republic have published their plans. Based on this data, Deutsche Bank has forecast that the EU will hand out 690 million EUAs to the 10 member states over the third phase of the scheme from 2013 to 2020.

Old growths remove 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year

By Renee Sizer, ScienceNetwork, 12 September 2011 | A joint study with the Australian Climate Change Science Program has found that the world’s established forests remove 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere. The report, funded by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, has also found deforestation emits more carbon emissions than previously thought—a staggering 2.9 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. The report’s authors suggested the world’s carbon balance could be drastically improved through schemes like the United Nations backed Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation scheme.

Africa Keen to Ensure Kyoto Protocol Survives

By Laura Lopez Gonzalez, IPS, 12 September 2011 | Durban should not be the burial ground for the Kyoto Protocol, says Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, about his expectations from the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change happening in his hometown in South Africa later this year. “The stars are not aligned to get a legally binding treaty. What we need to do then is get as close to the legally binding treaty as we can,” says Naidoo. For Naidoo, a former anti-apartheid activist who assumed Greenpeace’s helm in 2009, a legally binding treaty, support for Africa’s women farmers and protection for the continent’s forests are among his wish list for COP 17, which may decide the the Kyoto Protocol’s fate. The protocol, which expires in 2012, sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

[Cameroon] A Huge Oil Palm Plantation Puts African Rainforest at Risk

By Rhett Butler and Jeremy Hance, Yale Environment 360, 12 September 2011 | Industrial palm oil production is coming to Africa, its ancestral home. The world’s most productive oil seed has been a boon to Asian economies, but the looming arrival of large-scale plantations in Africa is raising fears that some of the same issues plaguing Malaysia, Indonesia, and other leading producers – deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, conflicts with local people, and poor working conditions – could befall one of the world’s most destitute regions. One of the biggest palm oil projects in Africa is being developed by Herakles Farms, a New York-based agricultural firm that is planning to cultivate a 60,000-hectare (148,000-acre) plantation in Cameroon. The problem is that Herakles’ proposed plantation lies in the middle of one of Africa’s most biodiverse – and threatened — landscapes.

Rebel raid strips endangered Colombian tribe of emergency medicines

Survival International, 12 September 2011 | Armed rebels have hijacked the first attempt to provide medical aid by boat to Colombia’s near-extinct and nomadic Nukak Indians. Survival has learned that medical staff were forced to abandon all their supplies, which included stretchers, surgical equipment and computers. The National Indigenous Organization ONIC, which owns the stolen boat, told Survival how it came under attack. Members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) gave those on board twenty minutes to flee.

Ghana: Mainstreaming Gender Consideration in REDD

By Mavis Otinkorang, AllAfrica, 12 September 2011 | Addressing participants at a workshop organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature- Ghana (IUCN) under theme, “Mainstreaming Gender Consideration in Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation,” Mrs. Quesadu-Aguilar, a facilitator cited studies by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Gender and Forestry in Africa and the UN Economic Commission for Europe on Women in the forestry workshop in Europe which revealed that the forestry sector is widely identified with men and that the design of policies and management of formal forestry is almost and always male dominated.

[Indonesia] Australian Ambassador meets leaders in Kalimantan

Antara News, 12 September 2011 | The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, is visiting East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan this week to strengthen relations and visit Australian-funded development projects. According to the Australian Embassy here in its media release on Monday, Ambassador Moriarty will meet senior officials, including the Governor of Central Kalimantan, Agustin Teras Narang, and Australian business leaders. He will also visit Australian-funded projects aimed at boosting economic development. In Central Kalimantan, the Ambassador will view an Australian-funded peat land conservation and rehabilitation project with Governor Narang.

Rimba Raya Debacle Casts Pall Over Indonesian REDD

By Marigold Norman, Ecosytem Marketplace, 12 September 2011 | Developed in 2008 by InfiniteEarth and the Orangutan Foundation International, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve REDD Project was designed to conserve 91,000 hectares of tropical rainforest and peat swamp in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Over the next 30 years, it would have prevented the release of nearly 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to the rural poor and the Ministry of Forestry. But the country’s own government turned more than half of those hectares over to a palm oil plantation to feed a longstanding cash cow for the Ministry of Forestry, with potentially devastating implications for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). “The Rimba Raya case calls into question the true level of Indonesia’s commitment to REDD,” says Todd Lemons, the CEO of the Rimba Raya’s project developer InfiniteEarth.

Indonesia Smokes Up its Neighbors

Asia Sentinel, 12 September 2011 | Despite numerous promises by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that it would stop, the burning of Indonesia’s rainforest is continuing, to the point where the haze is so thick that schools are closing, airplanes are being diverted and 60 percent of Malaysia is experiencing moderate pollution. Indonesia’s immediate neighbors are expected to bring up the choking haze on Sept. 22 at a two-day meeting of environment ministers from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to be held in Bangkok. The meeting is part of an annual series to discuss cross-boundary haze issues, so far to no avail.

Indonesia’s Coal Sector Eyes 2012 Boom

By Ririn Radiawati Kusuma, Jakarta Globe, 12 September 2012 | Coal production is set to surge next year as coal miners bolster their businesses and several new mines commence production, the nation’s miners say. Indonesia’s production of thermal and coking coal is forecast to hit 380 million tons in 2012, up 5.5 percent on this year’s estimate, Supriatna Suhala, the executive director of the Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI), said on Monday. The Energy Ministry’s forecast for coal production next year is 332 million tons, but that estimate does not include the output of smaller mining companies. China’s demand for coal is expected to double in the next five years to 6 billion tons, according to the APBI. Meanwhile, coal is used in Indonesia’s power plants to make up for insufficient supplies of natural gas, which is locally produced in large amounts but most of which is exported. Indonesia exports the majority of its coal to China, India and Japan.

13 September 2011

Emissions are under-priced in Europe

By Guy Turner, Bloomberg, 13 September 2011 | The price of carbon in the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) should be trading at three times today’s levels according to new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance of the long-term fundamentals in the emissions market. Looking at how the scheme will evolve up to 2020 and beyond, the price today should be €40 – 60/tCO2, compared to the current price of around €12 – 13/tCO2. By 2020 prices will need to rise to €60 to €90/tCO2.

World Bank won’t give up on carbon markets

Bretton Woods Project, 13 September 2011 | In June, the Bank released its annual States and Trends of the Carbon Market report, which revealed that the market for carbon credits has declined for the first time, with $1.5 billion of credits traded last year, the lowest amount since 2005. Andrew Steer, the Bank’s special envoy on climate change, said that “this bodes very badly for the countries we are trying to help … the market is failing us.” Despite the gloomy findings of the report, the Bank continues to advocate carbon market mechanisms as pivotal to securing low-carbon development. Steer said “this report sends a message of the need to ensure a stronger, more robust carbon market with clear signals”. The Bank demonstrated its faith in national carbon finance initiatives by also announcing that eight countries have received grants to plan national carbon market based instruments under its Partnership for Market Readiness.

The adaptation-mitigation cocktail or why policy-makers have hangovers

By Emilia Pramova, CIFOR Forests Blog, 13 September 2011 | It is a tough job to attend international climate change meetings. Endless sessions without consensus, buzzing protestors and media, and always a lot of unmet expectations. It is only natural after long days like this, to unwind with a good cocktail in hand. But regardless of any Caipirinhas consumed in the bar, all decision-makers have another hangover to worry about during negotiations – the one from the adaptation-mitigation cocktail.And this cocktail has the potential to turn into a Molotov one for forests, with far more serious implications than a simple hangover. A current and rapidly expanding research body is trying to indicate the optimal and most efficient mix of the two strategies through integrated assessment models (IAMs).

Agriculture, Forests and Rights are key ingredients to reducing emissions

By Elizabeth Kahurani, ASB, 13 September 2011 | Being one of the major drivers of deforestation, there is wide consensus that agriculture will largely determine success on efforts to reduce carbon emission levels. Despite this recognition, even in countries’ preparation proposals to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), there is no explicit plan on how to tackle the issue. Same case goes for community property ownership and tenure rights, factors that evidence has shown are inherent to the effectiveness of REDD+ and any such climate change interventions. One of ASB’s flagship projects –Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses (REALU), continues to demonstrate how these issues can well be tackled within a wider scope that extends focus beyond forests to other land uses in the landscape, and other partners are adding voice to the REALU approach.

Africa Forest Restoration Can Protect Food Security, Group Says

By Consolatah Lucas, Bloomberg, 13 September 2011 | Restoring and preserving dry-land forests can help provide food and fertilizer on small farms and prevent the recurrence of famine in Kenya and other African countries, a research group said. The destruction of forests and other forms of human-caused land degradation have caused more damage than drought, turning vast areas of once-grazeable and farmable land into near-desert, forestry experts from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “Deforestation and land degradation have hindered capacities to cope with disasters and adapt to climate variability and change in the long-term,” said Frances Seymour, director general of the group’s Center for International Forestry Research.

LTS Safeguarding REDD+: Working Towards Robust, Efficient and Transparent Financial Governance

LTS International, 13 September 2011 | Global Witness has contracted LTS to identify the main risks in REDD financial flows (from both public and private sources) from international to local level, and to propose appropriate financial audit mechanisms and safeguards to mitigate these risks. LTS will review existing funding mechanisms, assess the various risks (misrepresentation, misappropriation, inefficiencies), and then produce a system of checks and oversight mechanisms, drawing on international audit and public finance best practice. LTS is leading the study which involves the following tasks: i) describing and categorising possible funding models for REDD and for each generic model describe how and where the major risks occur and what safeguards might be applicable to prevent this.

Failure to protect forests will lead to huge financial losses – UN-backed report

UN News Centre, 13 September 2011 | The United Nations and a coalition of financial institutions warned today that huge losses, both financial and environmental, could result from a failure to agree on a climate change agreement that spurs private sector investment in efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. In a report entitled “REDDy-Set-Grow Part II: Recommendations for international climate change negotiators,” the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) – in partnership with over 200 financial companies – urged negotiators at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to remain committed to the international policy framework on the reduction of deforestation and forest degradation reduction known as REDD+.

Durban summit must clarify our role in REDD+, say financiers

BusinessGreen, 13 September 2011 | The United Nations and a large coalition of financiers have urged policy makers to clarify the role of private investment in helping to fight deforestation, in a new report published ahead of this year’s climate change negotiations in Durban. More than 200 banks and investors issued the call today under a United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) partnership seeking to ensure the success of REDD+. The REDD+ policy is aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

Finance sector favours ‘nested’ approach to REDD+

Environmental Finance, 13 September 2011 | A hybrid mechanism, in which tradable credits can be issued directly to forest carbon projects, as well as to national governments, is the clear preference of the private finance sector for rewarding projects that reduce deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), according to a report from the UNEP Finance Initiative. The most promising policy option for private sector involvement in REDD+ is the ‘nested’ approach,” says the report REDDy Set Grow (part 2). “There is a high likelihood of private sector involvement in REDD+ activity implementation and financing … as long as private entities at the sub-national level are eligible for crediting”, it concludes.

Australian carbon tax plan goes to parliament

Reuters, 13 September 2011 | The Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, has introduced her government’s controversial carbon tax plans into parliament in a third attempt to legislate a price on pollution. Gillard has staked her minority government’s future on passing the laws, which would force around 500 big polluting companies to pay for carbon emissions through a A$23 (£15) per tonne carbon tax from July 2012, before emissions trading from mid 2015. Earlier plans to levy a tax were rejected in 2009. If enacted, the plan would see Australia match the European Union and New Zealand with national emissions trade schemes, while the United States and Japan have smaller regional schemes. The carbon price is the central plank in the government’s plan to cut carbon emissions, blamed for global warming, by 5% of levels in 2000 by 2020. The policy has the support of key independents and Greens, ensuring the plan should be endorsed by parliament.

Stakeholder consultation workshop to finalize FIP plan for Laos

By Unna Chokkalingam, Forest Carbon Asia, 13 September 2011 | Lao PDR held a stakeholder consultation workshop in Vientiane on September 9, 2011 to finalize its Forest Investment Program (FIP) plan. “The FIP supports developing countries’ efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and promotes sustainable forest management that leads to emission reductions and the protection of carbon reservoirs. It achieves this by providing scaled-up financing to developing countries for readiness reforms and public and private investments, identified through national REDD readiness or equivalent strategies.” Laos is one of the eight countries selected for piloting the FIP with a pledged allocation of US$ 20-30 million. A grant of US$ 227,900 has already been provided to prepare the Program. The multilateral development banks – World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation – will coordinate with the Government of Laos to implement FIP.

Indonesia to launch REDD+ agency to tackle deforestation

mongabay.com, 13 September 2011 | Indonesia will establish a REDD+ agency to support the country’s efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, according to a statement released by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s office. The agency will be created by a new REDD+ Task Force headed by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, an adviser to President Yudhoyono. Kuntoro ran Indonesia’s first REDD+ Task Force, whose mission expired June 30. The charter of the new REDD+ Task Force will run through December 31, 2012… Editor’s note: the initial version of this post confused the new REDD+ Task Force with the new REDD+ agency. We apologize for the error.

Indonesia boosts staffing of forest protection agency

By Olivia Rondonuwu, Reuters, 13 September 2011 | Indonesia’s president has expanded the staffing of an agency that aims to save tropical forests to gain carbon credits, after the body struggled to make progress required to win a $1 billion climate deal with Norway. The move by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to add more officials, including his vice-ministers for agriculture and finance, comes ahead of a visit by Norway’s environment minister to Jakarta this month. The agency did not meet a June deadline to set up a framework to regulate and verify projects to gain credits from forests, which soak up vast amounts of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and no such projects have got off the ground so far. “If timeline becomes the basis to gauge performance, then its performance was bad,” said Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s forest campaigner. “But there were competing political interests inside the previous task force which made it difficult to get things done.”

Indonesian President forms new REDD+ Task Force

By Leony Aurora and Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 13 September 2011 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono demonstrated his commitment to tackling deforestation and reducing carbon emissions yesterday with the signing of a decree to form a new REDD+ Task Force. The Task Force, supported by leading ministers and government officials in forestry, will see the establishment of a REDD+ agency, the completion of a national REDD+ strategy and aims to improve coordination between government and local ministries. It will be headed by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Chairman of the of Presidential Working Unit on Development Monitoring (UKP4). “The new Task Force for a REDD+ agency will continue to ensure the coordination of all activities related to REDD and will report directly to the President,” said Kuntoro, who chaired the previous Task Force on REDD+.

[Indonesia] Govt to seed clouds for 30 days to fight S. Sumatra forest fires

By Khairul Saleh, Jakarta Post, 13 September 2011 | The South Sumatra provincial administration will launch a weather control program to stop the forest fires and haze that have plagued to province for the last month, according to an official. The weather modification program will be administered by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and is expected to last 30 days. BPPT Artificial Rain division head Heru Widodo said that artificial rain, also known as cloud seeding, was first introduced in Indonesia in 2007 and had proven effective in overcoming haze… South Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Yulizar Dinoto said 894 active hot spots have been recorded in the forested areas of several regencies, including Ogan Komering Ilir, Musi Banyuasin, Banyuasin, Musi Rawas and Muaraenim. “The fires come from forests, peatlands, bushes and plantations,” he said.

14 September 2011

Will REDD conserve natural forests and protect local livelihoods?

By Francesca de Gasparis, The Green Belt Movement, 14 September 2011 | In July I attended a public debate in London on the potential for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) to make international forestry more just. The debate brought together a wide variety of stakeholders in REDD in order to assess its possibilities and its frailties. The panel leading the discussion included John Vidal from the Guardian and representatives from DFID, ODI, and FERN among others. What became increasingly clear during the debate is that although the international community appeared to be pushing on with REDD, it remains a highly contested and confused idea… There is an overriding fear that REDD may not be dissimilar to other big money projects affecting the forests. For instance, a member of the audience, who had worked on a REDD project in Peru, stated that it was seen as more dangerous than palm oil plantations.

REDD+ expectations and experiences

University of Copenhagen, 14 September 2011 | To mark the International Year of the Forest a one day seminar “REDD+ expectations and experiences” will be held. The aim of the seminar is to examine critical issues that have arisen in the international effort to design and implement mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Initially put forward as a relatively simple means of mitigating climate change by avoiding deforestation, the expectations associated with REDD+ have steadily increased. At the same time, it has become increasingly apparent that building a national and international REDD+ mechanism is a lengthy and complex process. The seminar will bring together researchers and practitioners to compare expectations associated with REDD+ with experiences gained from pilot forest carbon initiatives.

‘Serious’ Error Found in Carbon Savings for Biofuels

By James Kanter, New York Times, 14 September 2011 | The European Union is overestimating the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved through reliance on biofuels as a result of a “serious accounting error,” according to a draft opinion by an influential committee of 19 scientists and academics. The European Environment Agency Scientific Committee writes that the role of energy from crops like biofuels in curbing warming gases should be measured by how much additional carbon dioxide such crops absorb beyond what would have been absorbed anyway by existing fields, forests and grasslands. Instead, the European Union has been “double counting” some of the savings, according to the draft opinion, which was prepared by the committee in May and viewed this week by The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times.

UN: private sector engagement needed to save forests

mongabay.com, 14 September 2011 | Reversing global forest decline will require private sector engagement and finance, argues a new report published by the United Nations and a coalition of more than 200 financial institutions. The report, “REDDy-Set-Grow Part II: Recommendations for international climate change negotiators,” urges negotiators meeting at this December’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Duban South Africa to lay out a policy framework that “clarifies the fundamental role of private engagement and investment in funding REDD+.” Under REDD+, industrialized nations would pay developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Climate investment needs quantum leap, says U.N. official

Reuters, 14 September 2011 | The private sector needs to make a “quantum leap” by joining forces in lobbying efforts, radically changing business models and increasing investment in order to combat climate change, the U.N.’s climate chief said on Wednesday. Leaders of 193 countries are set to meet for the next annual U.N. climate summit in November in South Africa, where governments will discuss ways to encourage investments to reach at least $100 billion a year by 2020 toward tackling climate change.

Evading indigenous consultation in Bolivia

By Manuela Picq, AlJazeera, 14 September 2011 | Indigenous groups from the lowlands of Bolivia have been marching since August 15, 2011 to protest the construction of a highway through protected territories. Over 1,500 protesters have joined the 375-mile trek from the Amazon lowlands to La Paz, pregnant women and children included. President Evo Morales response was to label them “enemies of the nation.” He discredited protesters, portraying them as being confused by NGOs, and even denounced the march as another strategy of US imperialism. Although negotiations are in sight, what seems like a mere controversy over a local issue may in fact be representative of Latin America’s broader tensions with its indigenous population.

[Indonesia] RI’s reforestation program to absorb 47.6 bln tons of carbon gases

Antara News, 14 September 2011 | Indonesia is resuming its reforestation program this year, having set itself the target of planting at least 1.7 million trees capable of absorbing about 47.6 billion tons of carbon gases. “I believe 90 percent of the 1.7 billion trees will grow. We have set ourselves the target of planting at least 1.7 billion trees this year. Hopefully, the number of trees that can grow will be far higher than last year,” Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said. As part of its efforts to cut its gas emissions by 26 percent in 2020, the Indonesian government since 2007 has been launching a tree planting drive to rehabilitate its damaged forests, green its denuded lands and provide homes to billions of tons of carbon sinks. Indonesia has designated 37.5 million hectares of its 130 million hectares of forests as homes for carbon sinks as part of its emission reduction project through the global REDD scheme.

[Indonesia] RI forestry ministry to plant 1.7 bln trees this year

Antara News, 14 September 2011 | The Forestry Ministry has set itself the target of planting more than 1.7 billion trees across the country this year at a cost of Rp3 trillion. The target was the same as last year in which 90 percent of the number would grow, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said here on Wednesday. “I believe 90 percent of the 1.7 billion trees will grow. We set ourselves the target of planting more than 1 billion trees this year. Hopefully, the number of trees that can grow will be far higher than last year,” he said. Right now the country had 1.7 billion seeds consisting of 600 million from the ministry, 500 million from state forestry companies and 600 million from timber estate companies, he said… “Many companies have expressed interest in participating in the reforestation program, including mining company Adaro,” he said.

Indonesian presidential decree concerning establishment of a REDD+ task force

CIFOR Forests Blog,, 14 September 2011 | Considering: That in order to implement the Letter of Intent on “Cooperation on reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” between the Government of Indonesia and Norway, through Presidential Decree Number 19 Year 2010, REDD+ Agency Establishment Task Force has been established in which its assignment has ended on 30 June 2010; That in regards to the implementation of REDD+ Agency Establishment Task Force, which established through Presidential Decree Number 19 Year 2010 have not yet completely finished, then it is deemed necessary to re-establish a coordinating body that will be responsible to carry out activities required in preparing the establishment of REDD+ Agency; That based on the consideration as referred to in letter a and letter b, it is deemed necessary to stipulate Presidential Decree concerning Task Force for preparing the establishment of REDD+ Agency.

[Indonesia] Second Chance for Body Charged to Assemble REDD Institution

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 14 September 2011 | A task force charged with establishing a forest conservation oversight body has been renewed so that it may fulfill its mandate, a senior official said on Wednesday. The presidentially appointed task force, which is responsible for setting up an institution to monitor schemes for the United Nations-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation policy, has been given until the end of 2012 to achieve the goal. Its initial working period expired in June without a result. “The task force is meant to set up the REDD institution, to coordinate arrangement of the REDD+ national strategy, to set up a financial instrument and monitoring agency and monitor implementation of REDD and of a new permit moratorium on peat lands and primary forests,” said Agus Purnomo, a presidential adviser on climate change.

Painkillers and pens used to placate Peru’s Indians as gas giants move in

Survival International, 14 September 2011 | Isolated Indians in southeast Peru are being ‘bribed’ with painkillers and pens, as industry giants seek to open up their land to explore for gas. Survival has learned that even members of INDEPA – the government agency set up to protect Peru’s tribes – have put pressure on communities so research can be carried out in the reserve where they live. Workers from Argentine gas giant Pluspetrol have been into the Kugapakori-Nahua Reserve to conduct environmental tests on the land’s suitability. The reserve was created in 1990 to protect the territorial rights of vulnerable tribes.

[USA] Californian Emissions Trading Scheme on Target to Commence in January 2012

Citola, 14 September 2011 | The Californian emissions trading scheme is on target to commence in January, 2012. Linda Adams, Former Secretary of the Californian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said in Canberra yesterday at the National Press Club of Australia that the scheme is on-target and widely supported by the Californian public… Angus MacNee, CEO of Citola Group plc, attended the Press Club Forum and was encouraged by the very pro-forestry and pro-REDD stance of the Californian emissions trading scheme. Former EPA Secretary Adams stated that robust carbon offsets will play a large role in Californian compliance markets and that California has formed key partnerships (and the bequest of former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) with several states in Mexico and the state of Acre in Brazil to access carbon offsets from reducing deforestation.

15 September 2011

‘Climate talks to settle for 2nd prize’

By John Yeld, Cape Argus, 15 September 2011 | There is no chance of an agreement at the 17th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP17, in Durban that will involve all developed countries – including the US – accepting legally binding greenhouse gas emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, Parliament has been told.

Pristine forests never completely regenerate: new study

ABC, 15 September 2011 | Barry Brook: “We were focusing on looking at pristine forests. And then we were comparing the diversity and the biodiversity health of those forests compared to paired studies nearby in regions that had been impacted by people. And so we ended up looking at 138 studies that had been published, comprising over 2,000 comparisons to really get a good, robust understanding of the differences across the tropics.”

[Philippines] Leyte villagers bring forests back to life

By Joe Galvez, GMA News, 15 September 2011 | In a small village in Southern Leyte, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is assisting farmers in managing a long term Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) project that aims to reforest denuded mountains and address climate change concerns at the same time. The Young Innovator for Social and Environmental Development Association (Yisedai) led by its president, Florentino Saludo, are continuously planting more trees in addition to more than 400,000 seedlings planted so far at the San Francisco Natural Park.

16 September 2011

How effective, efficient and fair are REDD+ policies?

Building and Wood Worker’s International, 16 September 2011 | Mere reference to social groups like indigenous peoples and local communities will not be sufficient. An acceptable International forest and climate regime must contain effective commitments and safeguards on rights, equity and governance issues. With more forest management moving towards community based initiatives in parts of Africa, in a period marked with unpredictable and rising world food prices, there will be need to support secure tenure measures and provide assistance to equip communities to protect their forests which in the long run will be much more effective, just and cheaper option than the ongoing trend of compensating Multinationals (MNCs). Narrow monetary compensation for foregoing use of forestland and resources is never likely to fully compensate for loss of food security, social and cultural integrity which so far cannot even be valued in monetary sense.

A complete guide to carbon offsetting

By Duncan Clark, The Guardian, 16 September 2011 | Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world in order to balance out their own carbon footprints. The projects are usually based in developing countries and most commonly are designed to reduce future emissions. This might involve rolling out clean energy technologies or purchasing and ripping up carbon credits from an emissions trading scheme. Other schemes work by soaking up CO2 directly from the air through the planting of trees… Heather Rogers, author of Green Gone Wrong, visited a number of offset schemes in India and found all kinds of irregularities. One VGS-certified biomass power plant refused to allow her around, though staff there reported a number of concerns such as trees being chopped down and sold to the plant, which was designed to run on agricultural wastes.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 16 September 2011 | This week, we followed up with further analysis on the outlook for Indonesian REDD+ in the light of recent troubles for the country’s leading REDD project… While some industry players have clearly questioned Indonesia’s true commitment to REDD+ in the wake of Rimba Raya exposés, many of those involved actually predict long term successes, with mounting pressure encouraging greater cross government commitment in Indonesia. The day after publishing our article, we received an Indonesian press release announcing the expansion of the federal REDD task force to include a number of additional key officials from across government. Everyone involved no doubt hopes this signals a new, and more coordinated, commitment to REDD+ from the Indonesian government. Despite the project development jitters some may have for Indonesia, there are abundant signs of market progress and developer confidence elsewhere.

[Indonesia] Minister calls for greenhouse gas emission reduction to overcome drought

Antara News, 16 September 2011 | Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one of the long-term efforts to deal with drought which currently affects a number of areas in the country. “We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they increase temperature that leads to drought,” he said here on Thursday. The minister said the drought affecting several parts of the country proved that the impact of climate change had occurred. Drought currently affects a number of areas in the country including the northern part of Java, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara, causing hectares of paddy fields to dry up. Yet the government assured that food stocks are enough to meet demand from the people living in drought-affected areas. The government has set aside Rp1.7 trillion in funds to address the El Nino-induced drought affecting several parts of the country.

[New Zealand] Softer still on climate change effort

By Brian Fallow, New Zealand Herald, 16 September 2011 | The soft start to New Zealand’s carbon pricing regime is set to get softer still. The Government yesterday released a review of the emissions trading scheme chaired by David Caygill and its own preliminary response to it. The review had generally endorsed the choice of an ETS as the most effective policy for reducing emissions at least cost to households and businesses, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith said, and also the Government’s moves in 2009 to slow down its introduction.

[Philippines] In Silago town, farmers take care of rainforests

By Joe Galvez, GMA News, 16 September 2011 | Deep inside the rain forest of Silago in Southern Leyte, a people’s movement that aims to preserve a vast area that is rich in biodiversity is making its actions felt. Silago is a typical town in rural Philippines with a territory that stretches from beaches in the lowlands to upland forests. It is one of the project sites for a project called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which aims to preserve forests and address the negative impact of climate change at the same time.

17 September 2011

The climate gamble on African soil

By Sumayya Ismail, AlJazeera, 17 September 2011 | A climate change specialist who works closely with African governments, providing advice on sustainability issue, thinks the carbon market is “a mechanism by which the rich countries reduce emissions in developing countries and earn credits for it”. “It is not really funding for developing countries to reduce their emissions; it is funding for developed countries to transfer the burden of their own emissions elsewhere,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of professional reprisal. The specialist said that although there is agreement that emissions have to be offset on a global level, the question is who reduces them. “Is it the poor Ethiopian farmer who lives off the land, or the American with the Hummer who lives on 20 gigatons of emissions a year?” he asked. “A trivial amount of money goes to farmers involved in the process,” the specialist added. “It is cents really.”

[Indonesia] W Sumatra`s forests suitable for kyoto protocol projects : observer

Antara News, 17 September 2011 | West Sumatra`s forests have the potential of being ideal hosts for climate change projects under the Kyoto Protocol, a local climate change observer said. “The forests of West Sumatra have the ideal qualities and conditions for the implementation of climate change projects under the Kyoto Protocol scheme,” Hendri Koswara, an environmental affairs observer at Andalas University, said here Saturday. But to actually implement such projects in West Sumatra`s forests, the local authorities must ensure institutional readiness, an adequate budget allocation and regulatory support, he said. So far, the West Sumatra provincial government had issued Perda (bylaw) No 6/2008 on the utilization of customary lands. “But since the issuance of the bylaw, the West Sumatra government had often faced dilemmas related to the lcal people`s rights in the relevant land management,” he said.

[Indonesia] President Yudhoyono to provide extra time to set up REDD agency

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 17 September 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono has issued a decree providing additional time for a presidential task force to establish a long-awaited agency to implement a two-year forest moratorium. The project has been funded by the Norwegian government to reduce forest loss in Indonesia. The so-called REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) Plus task force was assigned with setting up the REDD agency in December 2012 at the latest. “There are many improvements in the new decree, including the involvement of officials from the Agriculture and Energy and Mineral Resources Ministries in the task force,” Presidential special staffer on climate change Agus Purnomo told The Jakarta Post on Friday. Agus, who is also the REDD task force secretary, said that the involvement of the two sectors was crucial to speed the establishment of the REDD agency.

[Philippines] From illegal logger to conservationist

By Jacqueline Hernandez, Manila Bulletin, 17 September 2011 | Vanzuela says that after being caught by local police in 1982, and after having conversations with people from the local government unit, he changed his mind. From then he started attending seminars offered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other organizations like the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH… Today he is a conservationist, an active member of YISEDA, a community-based forest management project in Sitio Canlugoc in Barangay Lanao, Maasin City. Vanzuela has led his fellow Maasinhons in protecting the forest around them. He has thought dozens of children with the proper way of planting trees and has shared his agricultural knowledge to many.

Iwokrama, REDD attract CIFOR Director General to Guyana

Guyana Chronicle, 17 September 2011 | Director General of the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Frances J. Seymour, is in Guyana to live her dream of embarking on an excursion to Iwokrama which she has for decades longed to visit. She paid a courtesy call on President Bharrat Jagdeo at the Office of the President on Thursday.CIFOR, which has its international headquarters in Indonesia, and engages in forest related activities around the world, has an ongoing cooperation programme with Iwokrama which Seymour described as a unique institution.“(Iwokrama) is doing very important work to demonstrate not only the potential of sustainable management of forest for timber, but also collaborative governance with local communities in managing forest resources, so we are very happy to be collaborating with Iwokrama,” Seymour said.

[Guyana] US$15.4M Amaila Falls project…Deadline extended to yearend

Kaieteur News, 17 September 2011 | Contractor of the US$15.4M Amaila Falls access roads, Synergy Holdings, has been granted until yearend to complete works.Originally the deadline was September 9. That deadline has passed but a decision to make the road wider spurred the extension, Senior Engineer of the Ministry of Public Works, Walter Willis, has disclosed. Updating reporters on the works which is critical to close financing of the Amaila Falls hydro-project, Willis also disclosed that Synergy Holdings has only been paid US$2.9M for works completed and was being managed closely. Synergy Holding’s principal, Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall, has been under the spotlight since being handed the multi-million contract. There were questions raised about his road building experience.

18 September 2011

[India] Chhattisgarh coal blocks a test case for acquiring tribal lands

By Aman Sethi, The Hindu, 18 September 2011 | This wedding season, anxious grooms from Parsa and Ghatburra, two villages in Chhattisgarh’s Surguja district, were offered financial assistance from an unlikely source. Adani Mining Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Ltd, was handing out loans to all those who could prove that the money would be spent on marriage arrangements. “A company official took us to the bank, opened accounts in our names, and gave us cheques of Rs. 20,000 each. He then took us to the tehsildar and made us sign an agreement,” said Mohar Sai, a resident of Parsa, who said he knew of about 20 villagers who had taken such loans. Mr. Sai said that in loan agreements, made out on stamp paper in the presence of the tehsildar, villagers promised to repay the company from money received when their lands in Parsa East and Kente Basan were acquired by the district administration and turned into a coalmine operated by Adani Mining.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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