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REDD in the news: 19-25 September 2011

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REDD in the news: 19-25 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 bookmarks are updated regularly.

Avoiding deforestation in the context of biofuel feedstock expansionAn analysis of the effectiveness of market-based instruments

P Pacheco, L. German, J.W. van Gelder, K. Weinberger and M.R. Guariguata, CIFOR, 2011 | This report assesses the potential effectiveness of market-based instruments in ensuring that biofuel feedstock development does not expand in detriment of natural forests. We employ a detailed literature review, including a look at select case studies, to evaluate the effectiveness of three main types of instruments: – those governing production practices and access to markets; – those governing the provision of finance for biofuel feedstock production and processing; and – those aiming to safeguard environmental services emanating from forestlands which could be threatened by the expansion of biofuel feedstock. No single instrument is likely to ensure that biofuel development will reduce its potential pressure on forests hence avoiding deforestation. A host of complementary mechanisms will be needed to achieve this aim.

CGIAR Conference Debates Latest Research on REDD+ and Sustainable Development

IISD, Climate Change Policy & Practice, September 2011 | The Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security Program (CCAFS) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) held a conference at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC, US, on 26 August 2011, to examine issues related to understanding the relationships between carbon emissions and rural livelihoods. The conference focused on papers prepared by leading international researchers. In “The viability of cattle ranching intensification in Brazil as a strategy to spare land and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions,” the authors rely on a literature review to explore cattle ranching intensification programs (CRIPs).

19 September 2011

Global climate deal should wait another 4 yrs

By Ben Garside, Reuters, 19 September 2011 | A binding global pact to limit global emissions should not be finalised until 2015, according to a U.N. submission by Australia and Norway. The two countries reckon it will take four years to agree a legally-binding deal that includes emission targets for developed and developing countries. Such a pact would expand the current Kyoto pact that only applies to rich nations. “A stepwise approach from Durban to 2015 will provide time and space for countries to build confidence and capacity, and ensure a robust outcome over time,” said the submission by the countries, which both signed the 1997 Kyoto treaty.

US sees global discord on climate action

Khaleej Times, 19 September 2011 | The top US climate negotiator said Monday that major economies were divided on how to move ahead on emission cuts, with only the European Union supporting an extension of the landmark Kyoto Protocol. Representatives of major economies that represent the bulk of carbon emissions blamed for climate change met last week in Washington to seek progress ahead of a UN meeting that opens November 28 in Durban, South Africa. With no new treaty in view, the European Union has spearheaded calls for the Durban meeting to extend the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only treaty that mandates emission cuts. Kyoto’s obligations expire at the end of 2012. “This is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, issues in the negotiation,” Todd Stern, the US special envoy on climate change, said of the prospects for a second Kyoto commitment period.

Bonds key to forests and climate

WWF, 19 September 2011 | Forest bonds could be key to scaling up finance to conserve the world‟s tropical forests, according to WWF, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) and the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). The organizations are calling on governments to take action to close the gap between current financial commitments and the resources needed to protect the world’s forests. Upcoming United Nations climate change talks, set to get underway in Panama in early October and South Africa in December, provide an opportunity to focus on innovative options for financing forest conservation. To end forest loss, forest countries need support from industrialized countries. While public financing is essential, other sources of innovative financing, such as credit support for forest bonds, could be a way to leverage private-sector finance so that the public sector is not alone in efforts to scale up forest finance, according to the groups.

Bonds key to forests and climate

Global Canopy Programme, 19 September 2011 | Forest bonds could be key to scaling up finance to conserve the world‟s tropical forests, according to WWF, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) and the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). The organizations are calling on governments to take action to close the gap between current financial commitments and the resources needed to protect the world’s forests. Upcoming United Nations climate change talks, set to get underway in Panama in early October and South Africa in December, provide an opportunity to focus on innovative options for financing forest conservation. To end forest loss, forest countries need support from industrialized countries. While public financing is essential, other sources of innovative financing, such as credit support for forest bonds, could be a way to leverage private-sector finance so that the public sector is not alone in efforts to scale up forest finance, according to the groups.

Conservationists renew push for ‘rainforest bonds’

mongabay.com, 19 September 2011 | Conservationists are renewing a push for a special class of ‘rainforest bonds’ to fund efforts to conserve tropical forests. WWF, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) and the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) will on Monday issue a report arguing that forest bonds could mobilize private-sector money to augment public sector finance needed to the early stages of the REDD+ program, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Forest bonds issued by forest countries would be sold to investors to provide up-front capital for REDD+ activities. According to the report, revenue to repay the bonds could come from environmental taxes, reduced impact logging, and payments for ecosystem services – including carbon sequestration and watershed services.

Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force to meet in Kalimantan

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 19 September 2011 | Representatives from the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF) will meet for their fifth annual meeting in Kalimantan today to discuss sub-national and provincial efforts to tackle deforestation and develop REDD+ schemes. “We are hoping to learn a tremendous amount about the progress being made at the federal and state levels and how sub-national governments are leading the way and building comprehensive approaches to REDD”, said William Boyd, GCF Secretariat at an opening press conference today.

Brazilian police arrest suspects in Amazon murders of environmentalists

By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 19 September 2011 | Police in the Brazilian Amazon say they have arrested two men in connection with the murders of two rainforest activists who were gunned down in May. José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, were killed on 24 May, six months after Ribeiro da Silva had predicted during an international environmental conference that he could be killed at any time. The activists were known for their vocal stance against illegal loggers, cattle ranchers and charcoal producers operating in Praia-Alta Piranheira, a remote Amazon settlement in Brazil’s Para state, where they lived. On Sunday, nearly four months after the killings, police said they had arrested two of their three prime suspects during a dawn raid on a jungle camp around 32 miles from the Amazon town of Novo Repartimento. Police said they had seized three revolvers and one shotgun during the raid.

China-Africa Express: As business takes off, what happens on the ground?

By Louis Putzel, CIFOR Forests Blog, 19 September 2011 | Now, some of us at CIFOR are working on a project to understand specifically how new trade and investment configurations associated with China are likely to affect forests and forest-based livelihoods in Africa. This year, the International Forestry Review published an article based on research by Paolo Cerutti and others, and we just put out a summary of a set of scoping studies we did in several Congo Basin countries… In Cameroon’s logging industry … Cerutti and colleagues find that, although different markets demand different species, which causes different effects on forests, the national origin of companies involved in logging, whether Chinese or other, didn’t make an obvious difference. A company exporting to Europe tends to cut only a few species…, while companies exporting to China tend to cut and process more different species per area. In forestry, this is sometimes seen to be a good thing.

In Congo Basin rainforests, the success of REDD+ leaves adaptation efforts trailing

By Frank Swain, CIFOR Forests Blog, 19 September 2011 | The dominance of REDD+ schemes (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) as a way to tackle climate change has encouraged government offices, international agencies and private groups in the Congo Basin to focus on mitigation efforts, often at the expense of protective adaptation to climate change, according to a recent study by the Center for International Forestry Research. “When it comes to adaptation, people say ‘show me the impact of climate change’,” says Olufunso Somorin, lead author of The Congo Basin forests in a changing climate: Policy discourses on adaptation and mitigation (REDD+). “But the reality is that climate change is never debated when it comes to mitigation through REDD+. You begin to wonder if we actually have two different climate changes to deal with.”

Amaila Falls road project should be halted, re-examined

Stabroek News, 19 September 2011 | In light of recent revelations that external consultants have found that the original specifications for the Amaila Falls access road were poorly designed, AFC presidential candidate Khemraj Ramjattan has called for the project to be immediately halted and re-examined. “There must be an immediate halt and a total re-examination of the whole project,” Ramjattan told Stabroek News recently, adding that it is clear from the consultants’ report that the project could have fundamental flaws. He said in re-examining the project, the specifications and the alignment of the road should all be looked at. By stopping the road now, it may save money in the long run rather than having to invest more to repair it six months after it would have been completed. “But they [the government] won’t do that,” Ramjattan said, saying that the administration was more interested in “gravy trains.”

[Indonesia] REDD Programme Plus Return Discussed in Palangkaraya

Info REDD, 19 September 2011 | Program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) will not work properly if it does not involve the local community. This statement was delivered William Boyd, Senior Adviser GCF (Governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force), in a press conference to reporters, Monday, September 19, 2011 evening in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. “GCF is a unique collaboration,” said Boyd is a researcher at the University of Colorado, United States. GCF, he said, was formed to provide input on a comprehensive program of REDD plus or reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This scheme was launched since the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali in 2007.

20 September 2011

Certifying ecosystem services is not going to be easy

By Eirk Meijard, CIFOR Forests Blog, 20 September 2011 | Certifying the goods and services provided by ecosystems requires that these are not just translated into tradable commodities, but also that social and ecological criteria are met. New holistic certification systems are needed, according to a recent study by CIFOR. But it is a long way from actual implementation. “For a start, the science to consistently translate forest ecosystem services into tradable commodities is inadequate,” said Erik Meijaard, lead author of Ecosystem Services Certification: Opportunities and Constraints. “Answers to questions such as “how much carbon is stored in your forest?” are needed for trade, however co-objectives related to social and ecological aspects of forest management also need to be met which complicates their certification, for example, “are certified forests also good for wildlife?” or “are local communities being sufficiently involved in decision making?” said Meijaard.

Satement by Mr Ahmed Djoghlaf the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity

CBD, 20 September 2011 | As you are aware, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, at its tenth meetings, held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010 adopted a new strategic plan for biodiversity. The Strategic Plan for the period 2011-2020 includes clear and measurable targets to achieve the objectives of the Convention in forests and other ecosystems. In this context, REDD-plus has been welcomed by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD as a mechanism that could also contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

When a Lie Comes to Life

By Erik Meijaard, CIFOR Forests Blog, 20 September 2011 | Douglas Sheil and I launched CoFCCloT in August 2011. A Google search for CoFCCloT results in 138,000 hits just now. Not bad for an organization that doesn’t exist. We invented the Coalition of Financially Challenged Countries with Lots of Trees for a recent satirical paper in Biotropica, in which a CoFCCloT spokeswoman speaks about demands from tropical rainforest countries that Europe, the USA and other wealthy countries should stop pointing their fingers at others and do more themselves to improve the global environment. This included the suggestion to release lions in Greece and gorillas in Spain to help their ailing economies.

The Grass Roots of Carbon Credits

Redd Carbon Credits UK, 20 September 2011 | A program launched this week by Ducks Unlimited, and backed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG), aims to preserve natural green fields across the Northern Plains from being turned into cropland. The project is in partnership with the Nature Conservancy and will compensate ranchers for keeping their grassland and other pasture areas intact. An essential part of the program is a mechanism for compensating farmers by purchasing verified carbon credits from them. The logistics behind the CIG program and how exactly the finances, totalling more than $205,000, will be distributed to buy carbon credits from landowners and farmers are still being designed. Biologist and environmental activist Randal Dell is the main architect behind the initiative.

REDD Carbon UK: Global Landscapes Benefit from Grassland Carbon Credits

DEZZ press release, 20 September 2011 | U.S. nonprofit Ducks Unlimited announced this week the launch of a new program backed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG), which aims at preserving natural grassland areas across the Northern Plains from being altered by agricultural practices. The grant is designed to compensate ranchers, including the possibility of buying carbon credits earned through landscape conservation efforts. If natural greenfields, just like forests, become widely recognized for their potential to act as carbon sinks, a new offset market will open possibilities for sustainable projects in the land sector, claims UK carbon market portal http://www.reddcarboncredits.co.uk/2011/grass-roots-carbon-credits.

[Guyana] The Auditor General should investigate payments under the Synergy contract

By Janette Bulkan, Letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 20 September 2011 | The government’s Request for Proposals in early 2010 for the building of the access road to the Amaila Falls hydropower dam site called for an all-weather road for heavy traffic; 85 km of road rehabilitation; 110 km of new road; the whole 195 km of road, 20 metres wide, surfaced with a white-sand-clay base 300 mm thick topped by 150 mm of laterite, the whole compacted to 95 proctor; HDPE culverts, bridges and river-crossing pontoons capable of bearing 100 tonne loads, 20 tonnes per axle; 65 km x 100 metres wide completely cleared right-of-way for the transmission line; all to be completed within eight months/240 days from contract effectiveness date. At a news conference on March 23, 2011, the CEO of Synergy Holdings Inc said that “As I get done, I submit an invoice, Ministry of Public Works approves it, [and it] goes to the Ministry of Finance. I get paid”.

New GCF fund to promote state and provincial development of REDD+

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 20 September 2011 | A new independent climate fund which will support provincial and state efforts in the implementation of REDD+ programmes was launched today at the Governors Climate and Forest Task Force meeting in Central Kalimantan. The Governors Climate & Forests Fund or GCF fund will provide states and provinces with the opportunity to access funds worth over $6 million to build innovative Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation programmes (REDD+). “The GCF Fund is the first facility in the world where public and private donors and investors can directly fund state and provincial REDD+ efforts in multiple countries” said Governor Teras Narang from the Central Kalimantan Province. “Today the GCF are helping countries to develop new pathways to low emissions development while also advancing the priorities of local forest-dependent people”.

[Indonesia] Farmers Celebrate at Plantation Law Court Victory

By Ulma Haryanto, Jakarta Globe, 20 September 2011 | The Constitutional Court approved on Monday a request to drop two articles in the 2004 Law on Plantations deemed potentially discriminatory against indigenous farmers in land disputes. The request was originally filed by four farmers from West Kalimantan, East Java and North Sumatra. Each farmer had received jail terms of between six months and a year under Article 21 of the 2004 law for protest actions they took to reclaim ancestral lands. The article prohibits any efforts to damage plantations or other assets, any use of plantation land without permission and any other action that disturbs plantation businesses. The punishment for violating the law is a maximum jail term of five years and a fine of up to Rp 5 billion ($565,000).

[Indonesia] Barito Pacific in $50m Diversifying Move Into Palm Oil, Coal Mining

By Francezka Nangoy, Jakarta Globe, 20 September 2011 | Following similar recent moves by other firms, Barito Pacific, a holding company with petrochemical, wood and property development businesses, has set aside $50 million to expand into crude palm oil and coal mining. Barito is controlled by Prajogo Pangestu, an Indonesian tycoon who owns two large petrochemical companies that account for 90 percent of the holding company’s total revenue. “We need to diversify because we don’t want to depend solely on petrochemical business,” Agustino Sudjono, senior vice president at Barito, said on Tuesday.

Seven Norwegian MPs in Tanzania to learn about climate change

StarAfrica.com, 20 September 2011 | The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Norwegian Parliament is visiting Tanzania 20-24 September. Their aim is to discuss how Norway can become an even better partner in promoting economic growth and development in Tanzania, in a way that avoids further pressure on climate change and environment. Tanzania is already experiencing visible effects of climate change such as prolonged drought, desertification, floods and changing rainfall pattern which is affecting farming and pastoral activities. The country’s future economic growth and development depends upon finding a way to mitigate and adapt to these effects of climate change. “I am very pleased to welcome the MPs to Tanzania. Climate change threatens future economic growth and development in Tanzania. Norway can be a partner in finding solutions, including access to sustainable energy sources, combating deforestation and improving sustainable agriculture,” says Ambassador Ingunn Klepsvik.

21 September 2011

The men who crashed the world

AlJazeera, 21 September 2011 | In the first episode of Meltdown, we hear about four men who brought down the global economy: a billionaire mortgage-seller who fooled millions; a high-rolling banker with a fatal weakness; a ferocious Wall Street predator; and the power behind the throne.

Barack Obama: Dealing With Climate Change is “Not Impossible”

By Brian Mechant, TreeHugger, 21 September 2011 | “It is technically difficult to figure out how we’re going to deal with climate change,” President Barack Obama said in a keynote address at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative. “Not impossible, but difficult.” Obama used most of his 15-minute talk to tout his new jobs plan, telling the international audience that “When America’s growing the world is more likely to grow.” But he took some time to hit on topics like scientific innovation and energy efficiency as well. “I was talking to the CEO of Southwest Airlines,” Obama said. The executive told him that adding GPS systems to his airlines could cut 15% in fuel costs. “Maybe they could start giving out peanuts again,” Obama quipped, drawing heavy applause from the crowd.

Failure is not an option for global climate change talks

By David Nussbaum (WWF-UK), The Guardian, 21 September 2011 | The B4E Climate Summit, which took place in London last week, closed with a determined statement of intent – and a warning. Ambassador NJ Mxakato-Diseko, the South African ambassador at large to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) talks in Durban later this year, will announce at Durban that failure is not an option. Diseko, who spoke on the closing day of the London summit, emphasised the necessity of making progress at the UNCCC talks to avoid a “collapse of the system”. In doing so, he highlighted the vital importance of the talks in tackling the serious threats posed by climate change. It probably comes as no surprise that here at WWF we agree with the ambassador.

World Bank Carbon Schemes Charged with Displacing Communities in South, Allowing Pollution in North

Global Ecology Justice Project press release, 21 September 2011 | As the World Bank, the largest source of multilateral financing for forestry projects, [1] prepares for its fall meetings here, Global Justice Ecology Project charges that the Bank’s promotion of the controversial forest-carbon scheme called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) harms both forests and forest dependent communities in developing countries, while encouraging continued pollution in vulnerable communities in developed countries like the U.S. Following the announcement of a new sub-national REDD agreement between the states of California, USA, Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil during the UN Climate Conference in Cancun last December, Global Justice Ecology Project launched an investigation into the potential on-the-ground impacts of REDD.

Environmental Groups Denounce Diversion of Forest Funding to REDD Plantations

Global Forest Coalition, 21 September 2011 | On the World Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations, a coalition of environmental groups and Indigenous peoples organizations has launched a call to the international donor community to halt the diversion of forest conservation funding to dubious schemes to “Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks” (REDD+), which are being promoted within the framework of the United Nations Climate Convention.

Future Policy Award crowns world’s best forest policies

The World Future Council, 21 September 2011 | Rwanda’s National Forest Policy was proclaimed the winner of the 2011 Future Policy Award. The Gambia’s Community Forest Policy and the US Lacey Act with its amendment of 2008 received the Silver Awards. The three winning policies which most effectively contribute to the conservation and sustainable development of forests for the benefit of current and future generations were announced on 21 September 2011 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

China’s new forests aren’t necessarily green

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 21 September 2011 | When most of Asia is cutting down its forests, China stands apart. In the last two decade the massive country has gained over 30 percent forest cover. However, a new opinion piece in Nature by Jianchu Xu, with the World Agroforestry Centre and the Kunming Institute of Botany, argues that China’s growing forest is not what it appears to be. The problem, according to Xu, is that the statistics of forest cover include monoculture plantations. “Most of [the gain in forests] results from the increase in tree crops such as fruit trees, rubber and eucalyptus, not recovery of natural forest, yet Chinese data do not record this shift. The change threatens ecosystem services, particularly watershed protection and biodiversity conservation,” Xu writes.

[Indonesia] In Kalimantan, Hard at Work Reversing the Damage to Peat Forests

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 21 September 2011 | REDD is a UN-backed initiative for forest conservation in which the main idea is to give people incentives to keep forests intact. The problem, says Kitso [Husin, a researcher with CIMTROP], is a lack of clarity about the scheme. “There’s a lot of confusion about REDD because it’s not clear how much you can get from carbon capture or what kind of method pays,” he said. “For instance, is there a different incentive structure for keeping the forest intact, for reforestation and for re-wetting the peat swamp? And how do you measure the amount of carbon sequestered? All I know for sure is that if you cut down forests then you don’t get any money, that’s it.” “If we’re confused about how to interpret REDD, how do we explain it to the local people?” adds Kitso, who is studying at Central Kalimantan’s Palangka Raya University for a master’s in carbon management, the first such degree offered in the country.

Greening Human Development: REDD+ in Indonesia

UN Webcast, 21 September 2011 | “President Yudhoyono of Indonesia is one of the true statesmen leading the world on the issue of combatting climate change. Norway and other countries are honoured to be able to support the great efforts being carried out by our friends in Indonesia.” Hans Brattskar (ambassador and director of the Norwegian government’s International Climate and Forest Initiative).

Helen Clark: REDD+ in Indonesia: Greening Human Development

Helen Clark, UNDP, 21 September 2011 | During my visit to Indonesia earlier this year, I visited Central Kalimantan, which has extensive forest cover and peat land. It is the pilot province selected by the Indonesian Government for the REDD+ programme. The readiness and commitment of the provincial government in Central Kalimantan is critical for improving forest governance. Anti-corruption measures need to be well established, along with social and environmental standards, and engagement with indigenous people and other stakeholders. Under the leadership of President Yudhoyono, Indonesia has been at the forefront of global efforts to establish REDD+. At the national level, the President’s recent reconstitution of the National REDD+ Task Force was an important step forward. The Task Force, led by Pak Kuntoro, can take a whole-of-government view of the issues as Indonesia incorporates multiple benefits into its land-use planning.

Indonesia safeguards forest, boosts livelihoods

UNDP, 21 September 2011 | United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark today praised Indonesia for putting into action environmentally sensitive forest management techniques to create economic opportunities and improve livelihoods. Indonesia is implementing a programme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which offers financial incentives for developing countries to reduce deforestation-related emissions and invest in low-carbon and long-term forest management. “Forests are a key sector as nations look to strengthen sustainable development on the Road to Rio+20 taking place in June next year,” Helen Clark said during a high-level meeting with around 200 representatives from government and non-governmental organizations during the UN General Assembly’s 66th session.

[Indonesia] Industrial Countries Urged to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Tempointeraktif.com, 21 September 2011 | The Indonesian government has urged industrialized countries to commit to reducing energy consumption as climate change mitigation has been hampered by a weakening global economy. “Don’t forget, developing countries have drafted the mechanisms and mitigation strategies to deal with climate change,” forestry ministry expert staffer Boen M. Purnama said yesterday. Boen also said the commitment to reduce carbon emissions would depend on highly politicized negotiations. Meanwhile, the compensation fund from advanced countries for developing countries is slow. However, the Indonesian government will not depend on the funding prepared by advanced countries. It will also try to maximize the mechanisms for emission reductions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) and REDD Plus.

[Indonesia] Unilever May Resume Buying Sinar Mas Palm Oil

By Faisal Maliki Baskoro, Jakarta Globe, 21 September 2011 | Unilever Indonesia, the country’s largest listed consumer goods maker, may resume purchasing crude palm oil from Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology following an 18-month halt after the palm oil producer made improvements to abide by Unilever’s guidelines for responsible environmental practices. Sancoyo Antarikso, corporate secretary of Unilever Indonesia, said Wednesday that Unilever would consider the commercial purchase of palm oil from Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology, should the company known as Smart follow through on raising its environmental standards.

Benefit Sharing Mechanisms for REDD+ in Kenya : exploring the options

World Agroforestry Centre, 21 September 2011 | The last of the Alternatives to Slash and Burn (ASB) seminar series was presented by Audrey Chenevoy from Institut Superieur d’Agriculture (ISA) in France. She is working with others within the ASB Partnership for Tropical Forest Margins to further ICRAF’s work on the REDD+ Program. In the last 5 months, she has been exploring Benefit Sharing Mechanism (BSM) options for REDD+ in Kenya. According to Ms. Chenevoy, an effective, efficient and equitable BSM must have a sound institutional framework, it must be well designed with clear rules and it must have a provision that allows a variety of stakeholders to participate in decision making and it must have clear delivery mechanism.

Pacific islanders highlight importance of sustainable forests

Xinhua, 21 September 2011 | The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) stressed on Wednesday that sustainable use and management of forests and tree resources will remain its important focus for the foreseeable future. Sairusi Bulai, a forestry team coordinator of SPC’s Land Resources Division (LRD) told a regional workshop currently underway in Fiji’s western tourist city of Nadi that “our main issue was and continues to be the lack of adequate resources to enable countries to effectively implement sustainable forest management.” “Therefore, we are very fortunate that we have this opportunity to discuss findings and recommendations of the mission, which the UN-REDD Program has undertaken in the Pacific earlier this year,” he added.

22 September 2011

Steep increase in global CO2 emissions despite reductions by industrialized countries with binding Kyoto targets

ScienceDaily, 22 September 2011 | Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) — the main cause of global warming — increased by 45 % between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tonnes in 2010. Increased energy efficiency, nuclear energy and the growing contribution of renewable energy are not compensating for the globally increasing demand for power and transport, which is strongest in developing countries. This increase took place despite emission reductions in industrialised countries during the same period. Even though different countries show widely variable emission trends, industrialised countries are likely to meet the collective Kyoto target of a 5.2 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 as a group, partly thanks to large emission reductions from economies in transition in the early nineties and more recent reductions due to the 2008-2009 recession.

2015 climate deal deadline ‘realistic’

Environmental Finance, 22 September 2011 | A proposal by Norway and Australia to finalise a new international climate framework by 2015 has been welcomed by market participants as a “realistic” proposal. “People have to be realistic,” said Martijn Wilder, a Sydney-based partner with law firm Baker & McKenzie. “It’s a recognition that we’re not going to get there in Durban,” he added, referring to this year’s UN climate conference that starts on 28 November. Russel Mills, global director of energy and climate change for Dow Chemical in Switzerland, said: “It probably does make sense to take a bit more time … we need something radically different from the Kyoto Protocol that will bring all the major players in.” … This proposal differs from the 2007 Bali Action Plan in that it specifies that a legally-binding agreement should be the outcome, said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC.

Brazil Defends Global Climate Change Agreement at UN

cadenagramonte.cu, 22 September 2011 | Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that her country defends a comprehensive, ambitious global agreement to face climate change within the UN framework. To this end, the countries need to assume their responsibilities, said Rousseff in her opening speech of the 66th period of sessions of the UN General Assembly, becoming the first woman to do so. She recalled that Brazil presented a concrete, voluntary, significant proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions during the Summit of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009. “We hope to advance in the meeting of Durban (South Africa), by supporting developing countries in their efforts to reduce emissions and guaranteeing that developed countries fulfill their obligations, with new targets in the Kyoto Protocol, beyond 2012,” she said.

[Guyana] Burning need for high-order political leadership to re-energize climate change process

Guyana Chronicle, 22 September 2011 | As he made his last address to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday reminded world leaders that in order to avert the biggest economic and social catastrophe ever seen, planet earth has to be stabilised, which, at the unlimited limit, means stabilizing global temperatures at a maximum of two degrees above pre-industrial levels. Speaking at the 66th session in New York, President Jagdeo stated that even though this is known, countries are on track towards perhaps a four or five-degree rise, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

South Korea Plans Carbon Law as Companies Oppose $5 Billion Cost

By Sangim Han, Bloomberg, 22 September 2011 | South Korea aims to pass a law this year to help start carbon dioxide emissions trading by 2015, a plan opposed by manufacturers who say it will increase costs and make exports less competitive globally.The National Assembly is expected to pass by December a bill for the proposed emission trading scheme, or ETS, Park Chun Kyoo, director general of the Presidential Committee on Green Growth overseeing climate change policy, said in an interview. “Prospects for the bill appear quite healthy as it has backing from the ruling and opposition parties,” said Victoria Cuming, senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London.

South-South Knowledge Exchange

World Bank Institute, 22 September 2011 | Countries face a steep learning curve when they choose to participate in the United Nations’ innovative program: Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which provides financial compensation to countries that reduce their carbon emissions. Many developing countries would like to take advantage of REDD compensation, but to do so they face a steep learning curve. To help African countries learn more about community forestry and the REDD program, the World Bank facilitated a knowledge exchange for six Congo Basin countries to visit Brazil, a global leader in forest programs linked to REDD.

Lessons from the South: Regulating economic, environmental and social aspects of oil palm production

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests Blog, 22 September 2011 | Managing trade-offs between socio-economic benefits and environmental preservation are key to the development of the booming oil palm industry, said experts at a South-South exchange at the Center for International Forestry Research headquarters in Indonesia. Key policy decision makers, industry representatives and researchers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, Brazil, Ghana and Cameroon met to promote the sharing of experiences and knowledge of what works in sustainable and equitable oil palm development for food and biofuels.

Climate funding faces corruption threat – experts

By Laurie Goering, AlertNet, 22 September 2011 | Putting in place systems to prevent corruption will be crucial as the world prepares to spend huge sums on curbing climate change and tackling its impacts, experts say. Anti-graft efforts are particularly important because a hefty share of climate assistance funds and investments are expected to go to emerging market countries like China and Bangladesh that already face a host of problems, from climate-related disasters to weak rule of law. That was the message at a conference in London this week, hosted by think tank Chatham House, on the risk corruption poses to the global climate change response. “Unless we address the imperative of good governance solutions… the whole global economic recovery, I would argue, is severely at risk,” said Alyson Warhurst, chief executive of Maplecroft, a global risk analysis firm.

[Guyana] Interim Funding for a National System for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification for 2011

GRIF, 22 September 2011 | In the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) Steering Committee Meeting of May 12, 2011, the need for an interim payment to secure continuation of the ongoing implementation of the system for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of emissions and removals of carbon, was discussed. These activities, which are under the responsibility of Guyana Forestry Commission, are necessary in order for Guyana to meet its contractual obligation with Norway. The activities form part of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) Institutional Strengthening Project. The concept note for this project was approved at the May 12, 2011 GRIF Steering Committee meeting. The Monitoring, reporting and verification activities are ongoing activities and their funding cannot be delayed until the final approval of the Institutional Strengthening Project. On this background, the Governments of Norway and Guyana announce the release of US$1,157,907 from the Norway-Guyana Agreement…

Fighting over Indonesia’s forests

By Sara Schonhardt, Eco-Business.com, 22 September 2011 | On one side is palm oil firm PT Kayung Agro Lestari (PT KAL), which says it wants to conserve more than 40 per cent of its 18,000-hectare concession to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation, or REDD, the United Nations-backed mechanism where developed nations would pay heavily forested developing ones to not cut down trees. On the other side is Laman Mining, a local firm that wants to start extracting bauxite in the area PT KAL is hoping to protect. Both companies say they have government-granted rights to the land, but with a protracted dispute increasingly likely, they are looking to win over residents whose consent is protocol before any company can begin activities. Laman says it would mine certain mineral-rich hills in return for rubber seedlings and other types of community development, like roads. Samuel Lee, a mining consultant who represents the company, says its plan has the community’s backing.

Local administrations can manage REDD funds autonomously: Govt

Jakarta Post, 22 September 2011 | The central government says that local administrations can autonomously manage funds for carbon emission mitigation programs. Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that the government would not be directly involved in managing Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programs. “We support REDD-related initiatives and fund arrangements through policies that endorse low carbon development and no burning of forests,” he said, adding that local REDD+ initiatives should accord with the nation’s REDD+ plan. However, donors and parties involved in managing REDD+ funds would be accountable to the Forestry Ministry before reporting to the House of Representatives, Hadi said. Around 99 percent of the funds available for REDD+ initiatives in Indonesia were project-oriented and thus self-managed, according to Hadi.

Nigerian state “determined to protect their forests” and preparing to lead with REDD+

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 22 September 2011 | The Nigerian state of Cross River must protect its remaining tropical forest by taking a lead on REDD+ readiness activities and mobilising neighbouring states to take up the fight to protect its resources, said a Nigerian representative at the GCF task force meeting yesterday. “We are determined to protect our forests and we hope that our preparation for REDD+ will encourage others to fight for REDD+ in all the Nigerian states”, said Arikpo Arikpo, Commissioner for the Cross River State Forestry Commission. Nigeria, once in the heart of the tropical rainforest belt, has lost over 95 percent of its forest due to logging for oil exploration, commercial timber production and forest clearing for agriculture.

Oxfam sounds Uganda land-grab warning

AlJazeera, 22 September 2011 | A new report by the British charity Oxfam suggests that over 22,000 Ugandans have been forced out of their homes since 2004. Oxfam claims many of them have been left homeless after being evicted in so-called land-grabs, to clear the way for timber plantations. One eviction case involves the British company New Forest Company, who have denied the accusations. Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb reports from Uganda.

[Uganda] Face the Future rainforest rehabilitation project in Uganda achieves VCS registration

Face the Future press release, 22 September 2011 | Soon after registration of the first tropical Improved Forest Management project in threatened Orangutan habitat in Sabah, Borneo, Face the Future has registered yet another” first” of its kind forestry project under the Verified Carbon Standard. The project is located in the Kibale National Park in Uganda, home to one of the largest Chimpanzee populations in the world. Employees from Face the Future in Rotterdam and Uganda Wildlife Authority in Kampala though thousands of miles away celebrated the VCS registration of the Natural High Forest rehabilitation project of Kibale National Park in Uganda

SPC Organises Workshop on REDD+ Readiness in the Pacific

Solomon Islands News, 22 September 2011 | Sustainable use and management of forests and tree resources will remain an important focus of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD) for the foreseeable future. Sairusi Bulai, SPC LRD Forestry Team Coordinator, made these comments while officially opening the Pacific workshop on regional support to REDD+ Readiness in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), held in Nadi, Fiji on 19 September 2011. ‘REDD+ is a new international mechanism to compensate developing countries for reducing their rate of deforestation and forest degradation and increasing their carbon stocks. Developing countries participate on a voluntary basis.’ Developed countries provide technical and financial assistance to enable eligible countries to meet the requirements for future participation. Once a country begins participating, it receives compensation for its verified reduction in carbon emission from forest activities.

23 September 2011

Blog Post from the Belly of the Beast: In the Bowels of the World Bank

By Anne Petermann, Climate Connections, 23 September 2011 | In a nutshell, the Indonesian military is getting money through climate financing for REDD-type projects. The communities that live in the forests–some of them Indigenous to the area, some of them relocated there in the 80s – are being invaded by heavily armed forest rangers, paramilitaries and police; and are forced to leave at gunpoint while their homes are burned to the ground. All in the name of conservation. I spoke briefly with the panel moderator, a woman native to Indonesia, about our work in Chiapas and what we had found there. “Yes,” she replied. “What we see in Indonesia is not unique. It is happening all over with these REDD projects.” And what is the point of all of this suffering and misery and violence? To provide corporations in the industrialized north with the opportunity to avoid reducing their pollution by “buying” carbon stored in some distant forest thereby “offsetting” their emissions.

UN Carbon Market Will Survive Should Kyoto Goals End, EU Says

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 23 September 2011 | The United Nation’s carbon market will survive if the Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas-reduction goals for developed nations expire in 2012 without being immediately renewed, the European Union climate chief said. The EU, which gives companies in its emissions trading system the right to import credits from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, will probably remain that market’s driving force in coming years, said the bloc’s Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. The European cap-and-trade system, the world’s largest, was valued at $119.8 billion last year, according to World Bank estimates. “The CDM will continue more or less as it is now,” Hedegaard said in an interview during a visit to New York. “We should still try to avoid the gap, but as Europe is the main player in the game, as we have legislation, targets, rules on offsetting, I cannot see why we wouldn’t continue to work with CDM projects.”

So What Is Cap and Trade, And What’s An ‘Offset?’

By David Sims, ThomasNet, 23 September 2011 | Recently The Wall Street Journal spoke with Thomas Crocker, a retired economist, who as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s came up with the basic idea of cap and trade to cap emissions of pollutants. But today, Crocker says, it shouldn’t be used as a way to solve the issue of CO2 emissions. Cap-and-trade, as Crocker told the Journal, is good for a small-scale situation. Local pollution. Hey it’s a big world, and to accomplish anything worth accomplishing you’d need to get China and India on board with the U.S. and Europe and everybody all actually following the same rules — not just saying they’re following the same rules but actually following the same rules, and good luck with that. As Crocker put it with maybe a hint of dry humor, “It is not clear to me how you would enforce a permit system internationally.”

Are community forests actually benefiting the communities that manage them?

By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests Blog, 23 September 2011 | Community forests are helping to ease rural poverty in Cameroon by giving local populations more power to sustainably manage natural resources, but complex legislation and a weak support process are hindering progress, says a recent study by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Our study found that community forests resulted in net benefits that enhance rural livelihoods,” said Verina Ingram, CIFOR scientist and co-author of Impacts of community forests on livelihoods in Cameroon: Lessons from two case studies, “however fundamental flaws mean that not all of the community is represented or active in running and benefiting from a community forest, and there are insufficient controls or checks to make sure this happens.”

Stage set for global climate change summit

IPPmedia, 23 September 2011 | The UN-redd country programme is supporting the government with preparations for the upcoming 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 17), to be held in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9, this year. A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) press statement issued yesterday in Dar es Salaam said this will be the third COP to be held in Africa, after the first one in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2006 and the second in Marrakesh, Morocco, ten years ago. “UN-REDD programme is a collaborative initiative for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries,” read the statement in part. It also informed that the programme was launched in September, 2008 to assist developing countries prepare and implement national REDD+ strategies, and builds on the convening power and expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO), the UNDP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

[South Africa] SA hosts deforestation emissions reduction workshop ahead of COP 17

Engineering News, 23 September 2011 | South Africa hosted a consultation and capacity-building workshop on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) this week, ahead of the global climate negotiations in Durban in November, early December. The workshop, which focused on biodiversity safeguards, was seen as a key contribution to building momentum towards the Durban gathering, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) deputy director-general Fundisile Mketeni said on Friday. More than 60 experts and negotiators from over 20 African countries attended the workshop, which was the last in a series of four expert workshops on the links between biodiversity and REDD+. The workshops were organised by the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) following decisions made at prior workshops in Kenya, Singapore and Ecuador.

[Indonesia] UNDP to open first RI office for forest protection

By Andi Haswidi, Jakarta Post, 23 September 2011 | Seen as a clear sign of support for Indonesia’s forest protection program, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has signed an agreement to partner with the country and to open a special office in Jakarta. UNDP administrator Helen Clark praised Indonesia for putting into action environmentally sensitive forest management techniques to create economic opportunities and improve livelihoods… “We think that with good planning and the right incentives, the REDD financing can help Indonesia to achieve its target of 7 percent GDP growth, provide food security and sustainable use of its forest resources,” Helen Clark said during a high-level meeting with around 200 representatives from government and non-governmental organizations during the UN General Assembly’s 66th session.

UNDP and Indonesia Sign MoU for REDD+ Cooperation and Support

UN-REDD Programme blog, 23 September 2011 | This week in New York, UNDP and Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the United Nations System on the framework for cooperation with and support for the National REDD+ Programme in Indonesia. Read press release. Read full MoU document.

24 September 2011

Study of REDD+ in relation to Conflict: case studies of two watersheds of Nepal

By Dharam Raj Uprety, Forestry Nepal, 24 September 2011 | This presentation is the result of recent study I have conducted in collaboration with RECOFTC. The findings have presented in a workshop entitled REDD+ Status, Opportunities, and challenges in the Asia-Pacific held on 20-21 Sept, 2011 in Dhulikhel and organised by RECOFTC in collaboration with FECOFUN Nepal. Objectives of this presentation are to aware the national and international stakeholders about the possible conflict situation that can emerge after REDD+ implementation informing the current state of conflict, and to understand conflict over forests and land in Nepal as well as approaches to conflict management, in order to inform the design and implementation of REDD+.

25 September 2011

If capitalism has failed, how the hell do we pay for our Shreddies?

By Charlie Brooker, The Guardian, 25 September 2011 | Back in 2008, when the bubble burst, it seemed the financial world had been asleep for years but had now been shaken awake. Unfortunately, it reacted by closing its eyes and trying to resume that comforting dream it was having about endless free money and cake. But it can’t get back to sleep because the alarm’s still going off. Oh, and the house is on fire. We’d only imagined we had all that money, and now everybody’s penniless – apart from the people whose fault it was, the ones we bailed out by forfeiting our own futures. They’re absolutely rolling in it. Which is just as well, because the way things are going they’ll need to spend millions sealing themselves inside a mob-proof steel casing behind a ring of razor wire and trained attack dogs.

Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination

By David Graeber, The Guardian, 25 September 2011 | The form of resistance that has emerged looks remarkably similar to the old global justice movement, too: we see the rejection of old-fashioned party politics, the same embrace of radical diversity, the same emphasis on inventing new forms of democracy from below. What’s different is largely the target: where in 2000, it was directed at the power of unprecedented new planetary bureaucracies (the WTO, IMF, World Bank, Nafta), institutions with no democratic accountability, which existed only to serve the interests of transnational capital; now, it is at the entire political classes of countries like Greece, Spain and, now, the US – for exactly the same reason. This is why protesters are often hesitant even to issue formal demands, since that might imply recognising the legitimacy of the politicians against whom they are ranged.

Bolivia: NGOs wrong on Morales and Amazon

By Federico Fuentes, Bolivia Rising, 25 September 2011 | Statements, articles, letters and petitions have been circulating on the internet for the past month calling for an end to the “destruction of the Amazon”. The target of these initiatives has not been transnational corporations or the powerful governments that back them, but the government of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales… Unfortunately, petitions such as the one initiated by international lobby group Avaaz and a September 21 letter to Morales signed by over 60 environmental groups mostly outside Bolivia misrepresent the facts and misdirect their fire… Similarly, neither of the Internet statements mentions the protesters’ support for the REDD program. REDD is a grossly anti-environmental United Nations program that aims to privatise forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow rich, developed countries to continue polluting.

Norway releases US$1.1M to Guyana outside GRIF

Stabroek News, 25 September 2011 | Norway has released US$1.1M to Guyana outside of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) – the agreed mechanism for the disbursement of funds under the two countries forests’ agreement – in order to enable Guyana to meet its contractual obligations under the partnership. The funds represent interim funding for a National System for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for 2011. A statement on the newly established GRIF website said that MRV activities are ongoing activities and their funding cannot be delayed… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Modification costs might help reduce overall cost of hydropower project

Stabroek News, 25 September 2011 | The cost of the modification work currently being undertaken on the Amaila Falls access road is yet to be determined but it is felt that the additional sums to be spent now will help to reduce the overall cost of the project. Fip Motilall has been asked to modify sections of the Amaila Falls access road in keeping with the recommendations of a recent report from independent consultants… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Philippines] Southern Leyte farmers show how to manage forests

By Raffy Lerma, Inquirer News, 25 September 2011 | In 2008, Yiseda was among the groups that received funds and assistance from Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German government agency that provides technical aid and capacity building to grassroots organizations. GIZ helped Yiseda craft a five-year reforestation plan and to train the residents to manage forest lands. Under the plan, 50 hectares were reserved for reforestation, 40 hectares for assisted natural regeneration and 20 hectares for agroforestry. The project is part of GIZ’s program for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which is aimed at reforesting and preserving the forests of Leyte and providing livelihood to communities there. Saludo said the training provided by GIZ was helpful. “For 14 years we did not have a clear plan on how to manage our land. That was why we were slow in our progress,” he said.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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