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REDD in the news: 24-30 October 2011

REDD in the news: 24-30 October 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.

The future of South East Asian rainforests in a changing landscape and climate

Edited by Andy Hector, David Fowler, Ruth Nussbaum, Maja Weilenmann and Rory Walsh, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 27 November 2011 | With a focus on the Danum Valley area of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, this special issue has as its theme the future of tropical rainforests in a changing landscape and climate. The global environmental context to the issue is briefly given before the contents and rationale of the issue are summarized. Most of the papers are based on research carried out as part of the Royal Society South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

REDD+ and Agricultural Drivers of Deforestation

International Sustainability Unit, no date | On 15th and 16th September, the UK’s Department for International Development and The Prince’s Rainforests Project convened a meeting on “REDD+ and Agricultural Drivers of Deforestation: Informing REDD+ Strategies and Programmes”. Using a range of current proposals as a template, this meeting provided an opportunity for a number of critical stakeholders to help define a variety of ways by which the agriculture sector can be constructively linked to REDD+ strategies and policies. The outcomes of the meeting are summarised here. The summaries of the proposals can be found here. Presentations made by participants can be found below.

UN-REDD Newsletter 23

UN-REDD Programme, October 2011 | Just before the UN-REDD Programme’s very productive seventh Policy Board meeting this month (read more in our news section below), I had the privilege of attending the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) High Level Forum on Forests and Climate Change for Sustainable Development from 10-11 October. The event gathered more than 300 participants, including a number of noteworthy national and international officials, including the DRC’s Ministers for Environment, Planning, Energy and High level Education, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Congo and the Climate Ambassador of Norway.

Gender and REDD+ Roadmaps on the Road to Durban

Women’s Environment & Development Organization, no date | From Ghana to Uganda, WEDO is leading the way in creating a dialogue around women and forestry. Over the course of the last month, WEDO Project Coordinator Andrea Quesada has been traveling around West Africa, leading and facilitating workshops on gender and REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The workshops are part of a new initiative that WEDO and IUCN are jointly implementing which will deliver roadmaps to guide the design the implementation of gender-sensitive REDD+ strategies in Ghana, Cameroon, and Uganda.

Forest Carbon acts as Technical Adviser on REDD project in Eastern Cambodia

Forest Carbon, no date | Forest Carbon (www.forest-carbon.org) has been engaged by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in collaboration with the Forestry Administration of Cambodia to develop the project design documents for a REDD project under the Verified Carbon Standard (www.v-c-s.org) that is designed to conserve the Seima Protection Forest (SPF) located in eastern Cambodia along the border with Viet Nam situated in the foothills of the Annamite Mountains.

REDD+ benefit sharing in Uganda

By Leo Peskett, redd-net.org, 2011 | This case study provides a short description of benefit sharing arrangements under the Nile Basin Reforestation Project in Uganda. This is currently a CDM project. More detailed information on benefit sharing under this project can also be found in the REDD-net case study ‘Benefit sharing options in collaborative forest managment: a case study of Rwoho Environmental Conservation and Protection Association and the National Forestry Authority, Uganda’.

24 October 2011

Carbon targets achievable with action: study

Sydney Morning Herald, 24 October 2011 | Keeping global warming below two degrees over the next decade is achievable, but decisive action is crucial, a new study has found. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, warns that the targets made at United Nations conferences in Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010 could be slipping away if action is not taken. The review examined nearly 200 different scenarios from scientific literature. If found that the target of 44 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions is a feasible milestone. The study’s senior author Dr Malte Meinshausen from the University of Melbourne said it is vital that the growing emission trend is reversed this decade.

Will Durban be any different?

By Sunita Narain, Business Standard, 24 October 2011 | It’s that time of the year again. Climate change talks are heating up, with the next conference of parties scheduled to meet in Durban in November. There is heat but no light. To put it simply: the negotiations are stuck even as dangerous and potentially catastrophic climate change-related extreme weather events are spinning out of control. Not much is expected from Durban, except the usual shadow-boxing.

Will the Kyoto Protocol survive the Durban climate talks?

By Alex Kirby, The Guardian, 24 October 2011 | There are three main stumbling blocks. One is whether to try to resuscitate the international climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase expires in 2012… Then there’s money. Both mitigation and adaptation (reducing emissions, and learning to live with the consequences of those you cannot avoid) are expensive, and the developing world says the rich are not keeping their promises to help them to pay to pollute less. The third problem is really stark: how do you reduce emissions far and fast enough? Kyoto requires developed countries to cut theirs collectively to around 5% below what they were in 1990. Most climate scientists say what’s needed is cuts of 80-90% below 1990 by the middle of this century.

Breakthrough technology enables 3D mapping of rainforests, tree by tree

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 24 October 2011 | High above the Amazon rainforest in Peru, a team of scientists and technicians is conducting an ambitious experiment: a biological survey of a never-before-explored tract of remote and inaccessible cloud forest. They are doing so using an advanced system that enables them to map the three-dimensional physical structure of the forest as well as its chemical and optical properties. The scientists hope to determine not only what species may lie below but also how the ecosystem is responding to last year’s drought—the worst ever recorded in the Amazon—as well as help Peru develop a better mechanism for monitoring deforestation and degradation.

Study says using forest waste for energy adds to carbon emissions

By Steve Law, Portland Tribune, 24 October 2011 | A major effort to use forest waste to produce energy from West Coast forests would add to carbon dioxide emissions at least 14 percent, compared to current forest operations, according to a study published Sunday in the journal “Nature Climate Change.” The study was conducted by scientists from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and colleagues in France and Germany. Researchers, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, looked at 80 forest types and 19 bio-regions in Oregon, Washington and California, including public and private forest lands and different forest management practices.

Disposable Chopsticks Strip Asian Forests

By Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, 24 October 2011 | Each year, the equivalent of 3.8 million trees go into the manufacture of about 57 billion disposable pairs of chopsticks in China, according to statistics from that nation’s national forest bureau. About 45 percent of disposable chopsticks are made from trees like cotton wood, birch, and spruce, while the remainder are made from bamboo.

More than 70 countries submit views on REDD+ methodology to UN body

Climate Connect, 24 October 2011 | Seventy three countries have submitted their opinions on the REDD+ methodology to the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice of the UNFCCC. The sumissiom may be downloaded from here [http://bit.ly/uQmVP4]. Some of the major industrialized countries/Parties whose views have been submitted include Australia, European Union (EU), Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the US. While the major developing countries which submitted their views include Congo, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Philippines.

Who Could Refuse to Protect the Rainforest of Brazil and Feed 9 Billion People?

Kátia Abreu, Huffington Post, 24 October 2011 | The pursuit of this balance is what has guided the great debate being waged in the Brazilian Congress, in the process of updating the old Forestry Code. This is the central aim of Brazilian deputies and senators, who are working with great responsibility, despite the environmental lobby, led in large part, by international NGOs. It is these lobbies that misinform the public and claim that the Forest Code is being framed for the benefit of large producers to meet the interests of landowners. They also claim that the changes will give amnesty for environmental crimes. Those who believe in this either have not read the proposed bill to update the law, or they are interested in creating difficulties for the development of our country.

[Cameroon] ‘Property can’t own property’

By Jan Willem den Besten (IUCN), AlertNet, 24 October 2011 | Women in Cameroon have developed a vision for a gender-sensitive approach for their country’s nascent Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme. They have put together a roadmap to ensure that women are involved in the formulation of Cameroon’s national REDD+ strategy. The premise is that women should be given equal opportunities to learn about REDD+ initiatives, and their capacity strengthened so they can influence, participate in and benefit from the programme. The roadmap will be presented at the U.N. Climate Convention in Durban in December.

Deforestation campaigning led to my deportation from Indonesia

By Andy Tait (Greenpeace), The Guardian, 24 October 2011 | So, why was I deported? Currently, I work on the campaign to reform the practices of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), an Indonesian company which, as our growing dossier of evidence shows, is still destroying huge tracts of rainforest. I work with our international team across a range of countries to find ways to encourage APP to change and to expose its extraordinary greenwash. I am also in regular contact with some of the major international businesses that have recently suspended contracts with APP. Before this I had been working with my Indonesian colleagues who negotiated with Golden Agri Resources (GAR), which – like APP – is part of the Sinar Mas group. Earlier this year, GAR introduced a new forest conservation policy and this new approach is regarded as the most progressive in the palm oil industry. If fully implemented, it could have hugely positive impacts across the whole sector.

Taking action to protect forests in Papua New Guinea

By Sam Moko, Greenpeace International, 24 October 2011 | A major scandal involving the destruction of forests and the abuse of human rights is rapidly unfolding in my country. Right now, I am on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, at the heart of it. This morning, activists painted “stop the land grab” on the side of a ship loading timber from land that has been taken from the local communities, and bound for China. The activity was met with hostility from the logging company but welcomed by local communities who want to see an end to a new lease system called ‘Special-purpose Agriculture and Business leases’ or SABLs.

[Philippines] GIZ managing director visits Leyte Island

PIA press release, 24 October 2011 | GIZ Managing Director, Dr. Sebastian Paust is set to visit Leyte and Southern Leyte Provinces on October 24-25 for familiarization of the GIZ Philippines programs and projects being implemented in said areas. Mr. Robert Kressirer, the new GIZ Country Director for Philippines and the Pacific, and Mr. Wolfgang Möllers, GIZ Deputy Country Director, will be accompanying Dr. Paust, per information received from Ms. Dolores I. Nuevas, Senior Advisor, Natural Resource Governance and Local Planning, Environment and Rural Development (EnRD) Program of GIZ.

New contract signed to continue REDD+ ambitions in Tanzania

Norwegian Embassy Tanzania, 24 October 2011 | A contract for the second project on National REDD+ Strategy facilitation in Tanzania was signed between the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA), in Dar es Salaam on 3rd October 2011, and a financial grant of max. NOK 30 million will cover the costs of the project period October 2011 – September 2013.

25 October 2011

The Forester’s Toolbox: Technology Shores up Supplies for the Future

European Association of Remote Sensing Companies, 25 October 2011 | At this very moment, about 466 miles up in space, NASA’s Terra satellite is recording atmospheric data across a 1,400-mile-wide swath of Earth. It uses a moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer, or MODIS for short, to record phenomena like volcanic eruptions, floods, storms, droughts and forest fires. It may sound irrelevant to daily life, but all of these events can disrupt supply chains wood flooring professionals depend on to get product in the right place at the right time. Forest managers (along with scientists and researchers) are monitoring data from Terra, playing their role in a long line of wood products industry stakeholders, in order to ensure our forests provide satisfactory yields year after year. And they are fighting a winning battle.

No turning back the wind

By Tony La Viña, Manila Standard Today, 25 October 2011 | Earlier this month, I spent a week in Panama City to join the Philippine Delegation to negotiations on climate change under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Led by the dynamic and steadfast leadership of Commissioner Naderev Saño of the Climate Change Commission, our delegation fought hard to make sure that Philippine interests would be incorporated into the emerging international climate change agreement that countries might be adopting at the end of the year when the Parties to the UNFCCC meet for its 16th Conference of the Parties in Durban, South Africa. COP 16 is intended to be the final stage of the negotiating process which began in Bali in 2007, crashed in Copenhagen in 2009, and moved forward in Cancun, Mexico last year.

World Bank partners with Nestlé to “transform water sector”

Corporate Accountability International, 25 October 2011 | Today, the World Bank launched a new partnership with global corporations including Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Veolia. Housed at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the new venture aspires to “transform the water sector” by inserting the corporate sector into what has historically been a public service. The new partnership is part of a broader trend of industry collusion to influence global water policy. The venture — called the 2030 Water Resources Group Phase 2 Entity — aligns global corporations that have major financial stakes in water governance with the World Bank, one of the world’s leading development institutions. Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe has been appointed to chair the Water Resources Group, which has already received $1.5 million in IFC funding. Nestlé is the world’s largest water bottling corporation.

Moody’s Sees More Growth For Indonesian Coal Miners

By Francezka Nangoy, Jakarta Globe, 25 October 2011 | Indonesia’s coal mining industry looks set to grow despite an uncertain global economic outlook, according to Moody’s ratings agency. Simon Wong, a vice president and senior analyst at Moody’s, said the planned construction of power plants across the region, Indonesia’s connections to the energy sector in the Asia Pacific, strong liquidity and an improved debt profile would support the domestic industry’s growth.

[Indonesia] Plantations, Mining and REDD a Threat: Dayak

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 25 October 2011 | Expanding oil palm plantations, mining concessions and even forest conservation projects are threatening to wipe out the traditional way of life of the Dayak tribes of Kalimantan, tribal elders say. A group of 10 elders representing four Dayak villages in Kapuas district, Central Kalimantan, said on Monday that they had been in Jakarta for the past week to present their case to the Forestry Ministry, the House of Representatives and the National Land Agency (BPN). Berkat, the head of Katunjung village, said his tribe was fast losing its ancestral lands to operators of oil palm plantations and mines, as well as to groups running schemes to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). “The way we see it, our traditional way of life stands to disappear,” he said. “The management of forests should comply with both government regulations and tribal requirements, but the latter are always overlooked.”

[Mexico] Chiapas Coffee: Price, Politics and Precipitation

By Kristian Beadle, Miller-McCune, 25 October 2011 | The volatility of coffee prices over the last two decades has been the biggest challenge for farmers and cooperatives in Mexico, and may be the single greatest factor threatening to make Chiapas’ tasty shade-grown coffee a “threatened species.” … But if yields and income drop, farmers lose their incentive to raise shade-grown coffee. One option is to pay extra for farmers to keep forests intact as carbon storage, a tricky undertaking proposed at the global level by REDD, a forestry finance mechanism (officially known as the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries.) However, Mexico’s forests are privately owned in small plots, and committing 20 years to preserve forests may be difficult for small farmers.

Climate Watch: The REDD opportunity for Nigeria

By Rotimi Ajayi, Vanguard, 25 October 2011 | Since Nigeria commenced efforts at putting together programmes and strategies to combat climate change, Friday October 14, 2011 turned out to be its most glorious day ever. That day, in the historic city of Berlin, Germany, Nigeria recorded a monumental achievement in its climate change programme by getting approval of the United Nations for its efforts at reducing emission of the dangerous gas responsible for global warming through controlling of illegal logging and sustainable management of the nation’s Forest. The programme is formally known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and EDF partner to show on-the-ground realities of reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD+) in Panama

By Chris Meyer, EDF, 25 October 2011 | Deforestation accounts for as much as 15% of all manmade global warming pollution, and negotiators from countries around the world have been working to hammer out policies at United Nations climate talks to reduce emissions from deforestation. It’s easy to get lost in the details of the complex policies of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), and miss what’s happening — and who’s working — on the ground. So, just prior to the UN climate negotiations in Panama City earlier this month, Environmental Defense Fund’s Chris Meyer and McGill University and Smithsonian’s Dr. Catherine Potvin organized a field trip for UN negotiators to see first-hand the realities of deforestation, and of the policies that have been put in place to protect forests.

26 October 2011

ToT on Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in REDD Plus

ccmin.aippnet.org, 26 October 2011 | Most of the world’s remaining tropical and subtropical forests today are found in indigenous peoples’ territories. REDD+ though is taken as an effective and efficient way to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change, indigenous peoples’ have remained very concerned on it since its inception in 2005. As a result of the continuous lobby and advocacy of indigenous peoples’ representatives, leaders and organizations in the national to international level; REDD+ finally recognized the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples’. It also focused to ensure indigenous peoples’ full and effective participation in the development, implementation and evaluation of REDD+.

USAID Research and Analysis of Carbon Rights and Institutional Mechanisms for REDD+ Benefit Distribution

Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 October 2011 | While a number of researchers and organizations in the US and internationally have highlighted the potential impacts of mitigation efforts on tenure, there remains minimal information and best practice on how to practically address these issues at the field level. Emerging interventions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+) pose potential opportunities and risks for the rights of rural populations in developing countries. In many countries, the right of local populations to benefit from REDD+ activities requires further clarification.

Senator demands UN expel Colombia’s Argos from carbon trading scheme

By James Bargent, Colombia Reports, 26 October 2011 | Senator Ivan Cepeda has asked the UN Secretary General to expel Colombian cement company Argos from the UN’s carbon trading scheme over allegations it is using land stolen from displaced people. Cepeda wrote to Ban Ki-Moon claiming Cementos Argos used its links to leaders of the now demobilized paramilitary group the AUC to appropriate land following the paramilitary assault on the Montes de Maria region in north Colombia. Between 2000 and 2006, paramilitary groups committed an estimated 49 massacres and displaced 140,000 people in their campaign to clear the area of guerrilla groups. A government report published last week showed that after the assault, 100,000 acres of land left vacant by fleeing locals was snapped up by illegal armed groups, big landowners and private companies with the help of corrupt government officials.

[DR Congo] ERA Holds Annual AGM and Provides Corporate Update on Operations

ERA, 26 October 2011 | ERA is developing a 300,000 hectare REDD+ project on the west side of Mai-NdombeLake in the Democratic Republic of Congo (the “DRC”). After entering into a Carbon Rights Agreement with the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Tourism in March 2011, ERA next entered into a contract for the country’s first ever Conservation Concession on July 30, 2011… The company is also exploring other African forest based carbon projects and related opportunities which could produce carbon offsets for both the voluntary market and for trading under the European Union Emissions Trading System and/or emerging compliance markets… ERA is presently expanding its expertise to include all aspects of the new ARB forestry protocol. ERA is also developing a pipeline of carbon offset projects expected to be eligible for trading under California’s new emissions trading scheme.

[Indonesia] Orangutan survival rests on conservation education: an interview with Dr. Biruté Galdikas

By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 26 October 2011 | With orangutan numbers in Indonesia having plunged 80 percent in 40 years, the only way to reverse this trend is to push for greater conservation awareness in society and especially in the education system, leading primatologist and conservationist Dr. Biruté Galdikas said in an interview. “We absolutely need to get the conservation curriculum into local schools and villages – not just for children, but all levels of society. Television programs, newspaper articles and magazine articles…education at all levels: we need to do more,” she said.

[Indonesia] Police on Alert for Worse Violence In Papua

By Banjir Ambarita, Farouk Arnaz & Ronna Nirmala, Jakarta Globe, 26 October 2011 | The National Police are on the highest alert in Papua after the latest shooting in a spate of increased violence in the restive region. “Everyone is on alert, especially in Puncak Jaya district,” National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said on Tuesday, a day after two men shot dead the head of the Mulia subdistrict police at the local airport. The National Police’s chief of detectives, Comr. Gen. Sutarman, said Jakarta was sending three teams of 10 police detectives each and 300 more members of the Mobile Brigade (Brimob) to Papua to help hunt down the attackers and reinforce local police.

[Indonesia] Dayaks want to end ancestral land grab

Jakarta Post, 26 October 2011 | Members of the Dayak Ngaju tribe in Central Kalimantan say they have lost their ancestors’ land to the government, oil palm plantations and mining companies. Representatives from four villages claimed that they have been barred from their ancestors’ lands since the government’s One Million Hectare Peatland Project (PLG) started in 1996… “All of the programs, as well as corporate oil palm plantations and mining, have violated our rights to the land, which we inherited from previous generations,” Ketunjung village resident Abdul Hamid told reporters at a press conference at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment’s (Walhi) headquarters in Jakarta. Abdul also said that the villages had lost their forests to carbon emission reduction programs, such as the government’s REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) initiatives.

INTERPOL report highlights problems caused by illegal logging in Papua New Guinea

PNGexposed Blog, 26 October 2011 | A report from the International Criminal Police Organisation INTERPOL estimates 70% of logging in Papua New Guinea is illegal.. The report, ‘An INTERPOL perspective on law enforcement and illegal logging’ has been published as part of INTERPOL’s Project Chainsaw which looks at the problem of illegal logging from the perspective of international criminal justice… In Papua New Guinea the Malaysian company Rimbunan Hijau controls over 70% of logging operations and has frequently been accused of illegal logging. RH has lost a number of high profile court cases over the legality of its logging permits.

27 October 2011

ExxonMobil Profits Jump by 41%, to $10.3 Billion

By Noreen Nielsen, Climate Progress, 27 October 2011 | Today, oil giant ExxonMobil announced their 2011 third-quarter earnings, reporting a whopping $10.3 billion in profits, an increase of 41 percent from the same period last year. Overall, Exxon has earned over $31 billion in profits in the first nine months of the year. Not surprisingly, ExxonMobil is also one of the most politically engaged of the top five oil companies.

Political Signal Needed on UN Carbon Market Future, Norway Says

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 27 October 2011 | Climate envoys should send a “political signal” at the upcoming summit on their willingness to continue the United Nations carbon market to allay investors’ concerns about its future, Norway’s chief negotiator said.

Derwent to step down as IETA head

Environmental Finance, 27 October 2011 | The president and CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) has given notice that he is to step down, Environmental Finance has learnt. Henry Derwent, a career civil servant from the UK, took up the post in February 2008, initially for a three-year term, he said. While Derwent agreed to carry on after February of this year, he said that he didn’t want to continue in the post much after his 60th birthday – a milestone which he reaches next month.

Green capitalists hijack carbon agenda and we will end up paying

By Gary John, The Australian, 27 October 2011 | There was a time when capitalists were capitalists. Now, half the bastards parade as greens making money from green ideology. The other half have given up in the face of environmentalism. The combination of corporate rent-seeking and capitulation makes the world more vulnerable to mishap. No wonder the gormless ferals “Occupying” city squares across the Western world are confused. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 27 October 2011 | The big story around the water cooler this week is no doubt the final approval of California’s cap-and-trade regulations. After years of drawn out debates, legal challenges, and even a public referendum, California now seems set to launch the United States’ first comprehensive cap-and-trade scheme (knock on wood), and the first that will look toward international REDD+ credits in coming years.

[Cambodia] Climate plan has Kingdom seeing REDD

By Bridget Di Certo, Phnom Penh Post, 27 October 2011 | The Forestry Administration has teamed up with the Cambodian Wildlife Conservation Society and Forest Carbon to develop a large-scale REDD project in eastern Cambodia, officials said yesterday… “The project is really very strong and will end up being 3 million hectares in Cambodia,” forestry administration spokesman Thun Sarah told the Post. “This is the best way for Cambodia to preserve all its protected forests.”

[Ghana] Timber fees to go up

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, ModernGhana.com, 27 October 2011 | Furthermore, a report entitled ‘Making the Forest Sector Transparent’, which is an annual transparency report card 2010, was conducted by CIKOD with funding from the UKaid, from the Department for International Development. The report covered six districts in the Western and Brong-Ahafo regions, and revealed that 80% of people in the two regions are neither aware of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), nor the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) signed between Ghana and the European Union (EU) in 2009. This agreement is aimed at ensuring that only legal timber enters the EU market.

Nigeria: Now That the Nation Has Got REDD Alert, What Next?

Daily Trust, 27 October 2011 | It is definitely celebration time for environment stakeholders especially the Federal Ministry of Environment now that Nigeria has been granted the green light to benefit from the $4 million (N600 million using official rate) from the United Nations (UN) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme.

Peru fires top indigenous rights official after she blocks gas project

Survival International, 27 October 2011 | Peru has fired its top indigenous affairs official after she reversed an ‘illegal’ decision to allow Argentine gas giant Pluspetrol to enter land inhabited by uncontacted tribes. Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo has been replaced as head of Peru’s government indigenous affairs unit INDEPA by a former lawyer who specializes in ‘business ethics.’ Previous management at INDEPA had approved expansion plans for Pluspetrol’s project, known as Camisea, and sent them directly to Peru’s Ministry of Energy.

Could UN forest programme benefit South Africa?

By Gillian Brockell, Business Live, 27 October 2011 | A United Nations programme that pays developing nations to preserve and restore its forests could expand to SA’s grasslands, an expert suggested on Wednesday. The UN collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd) could also be used to fight unemployment, he said… “Redd is moving faster than the negotiations right now. People get that there are jobs in forestry, in carbon storage,” said Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the UN Environmental Programme. “The best tried-and-tested form of carbon capture has been going on for millions of years and is the ability of nature to naturally and efficiently capture carbon out of atmosphere and lock it away.”

28 October 2011

Rebels on the Street: The Party of Wall Street Meets its Nemesis

By David Harvey, davidharvey.org, 28 October 2011 | The Party of Wall Street has ruled unchallenged in the United States for far too long. It has totally (as opposed to partially) dominated the policies of Presidents over at least four decades (if not longer), no matter whether individual Presidents have been its willing agents or not. It has legally corrupted Congress via the craven dependency of politicians in both political parties upon its raw money power and upon access to the mainstream media that it controls. Thanks to the appointments made and approved by Presidents and Congress, the Party of Wall Street dominates much of the state apparatus as well as the judiciary, in particular the Supreme Court, whose partisan judgments increasingly favor venal money interests, in spheres as diverse as electoral, labor, environmental and contract law.

Euro bailout – an animated explanation

By Tom Meltzer, The Guardian, 28 October 2011 | Here’s our attempt to explain the Euro debt crisis.

Chevron Announces $7.8 Billion in Q3 Profits, 2011 Profits for Big-Five Oil Companies Hit a Staggering $101 Billion

By Noreen Nielsen, Climate Progress, 28 October 2011 | Chevron announced their 2011 third-quarter results earlier today, reporting $7.83 billion in profits, more than doubling their third-quarter net income, and bringing its total earnings for 2011 to over $21 billion. Chevron ranks in as the third largest oil and gas contributor in 2011, coming in just behind Exxon Mobile and Koch Industries.

Durban talks come at bad time: UN climate chief

AFP, 28 October 2011 | UN climate talks that begin next month in South Africa coincide with a global financial crisis hurting efforts to raise money to fight climate change, the UN’s climate chief said Wednesday. “This is not the best time to be talking about finance, because all developed countries are in a financial crisis,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told a press briefing ahead of the November 28 to December 9 talks in Durban.

Forest carbon fund gets $40m from US development finance house

Environmental Finance, 28 October 2011 | A fund that intends to earn credits from reducing deforestation has snagged $40 million from a US development finance institution. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Coal ‘addiction’ threatens South Africa’s emissions pledge

By Sue Blaine, BusinessDay. 28 October 2011 | SA’s “addiction” to coal gave the lie to its United Nations (UN) climate-change promise in 2009, and could cost it at least some of the investment it needed to turn away from fossil fuel-based energy, Greenpeace SA said yesterday. SA gains more than 90% of its energy from coal, but undertook, at the 2009 UN climate-f25 ochange talks, to reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions trajectory by 34% by 2020, and by 42% by 2025, subject to “adequate financial and technical support”.

Biofuel standards need improvement to protect rainforests

By Oakley Brooks, CIFOR Forests Blog, 28 October 2011 | Researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research have recommended that voluntary biofuel standards explicitly address the problems that may arise from the development of new plantations, should industry continue to label oil palm, sugar cane, soya and related fuel products as “environmentally sustainable”. A survey of the environmental standards of six major biofuel sustainability frameworks revealed that all failed to address what sorts of degraded forestland can be used for new plantations and how those new plantations may increase land competition for agriculture and indirectly cause deforestation in neighboring areas.

[Ecuador] Blood of the Amazon by Nicola Peel – preview

By Jan Goodey, The Guardian, 28 October 2011 | Blood of the Amazon is a new documentary by Nicola Peel, an environmental activist and film-maker who has spent time in Amazonian Ecuador looking at environmental damage at the hands of oil companies. She has also found time to institute some fixes herself: such as rainwater catchment schemes for families whose groundwater is contaminated, and a project using fungi as a cleansing agent for spills.

The importance of the domestic timber trade for FLEGT and REDD: Experiences from TBI’s chainsaw milling project in Ghana and Guyana

Tropenbos International, 28 October 2011 | Tropenbos International would like to invite you to an informal networking event to learn about the practical dilemmas of regulating domestic timber markets. During this seminar our partners from Ghana and Guyana will briefly present their experiences, after which there will be time for informal interaction and discussions… Date: November 23, 2011. Time: 16:00 – 19:00. Venue: room C217 of the FORUM, building nr. 102 of the WUR, Droevendaalsesteeg 2 in Wageningen.

[Indonesia] Tony Blair supports REDD+ program in C. Kalimantan

Antara News, 28 October 2011 | Former British prime minister Tony Blair visited Central Kalimantan to demonstrate his support for a REDD+ project in the region. His visit in Central Kalimantan had to do with the environment and a REDD Plus program which was now in the world`s spotlight, Blair said when meeting Central Kalimantan Governor Agustin Teras Narang here on Thursday. Governor Narang said the visit of the former British prime minister in Central Kalimantan was to observe the conditions of the environment in the province which was now a focus of the world`s attention. “At our meeting, the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, asked a lot of questions on the REDD Plus program in Central Kalimantan, and on the challenges being faced by Central Kalimantan in implementing the program,” he said. “I told him that so far we have not met any obstacle in implementing the REDD Plus program, including in communication,” the governor said.

29 October 2011

Climate bonds: A dull shade of green

The Economist, 29 October 2011 | Reducing the risks of climate change is not a technological problem. There are many ways to generate electricity, drive cars or grow crops without emitting much carbon dioxide – but they are expensive. According to the International Energy Agency, $13.5 trillion must be invested in low-carbon energy by 2035 to reduce emissions. That sort of money can be found only on capital markets. Yet investors’ appetite for green schemes is unproven. Hence growing interest in one of the more promising efforts to encourage it: “green bonds”… So why bother to invest at all? One answer is the indirect benefit that investors derive from addressing the economic risks of global warming. To encourage this, the World Bank briefs them on its green projects. A more obviously venal motive is that green investing is good for the image – unusually, the World Bank publishes the names of investors in its green offerings.

Up to 5 Feet of Rain in 10 Days Spurred by Warming Waters is “One of the Most Dramatic Disasters in its History,” Prez Says

By Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 29 October 2011 | No, the main headline wasn’t about Thailand — it was about El Salvador (as is the picture). We’ve been seeing twin uber-deluges this month on opposite sides of the Earth, both spurred by warming waters, as meteorologist and former hurricane hunter Dr. Jeff Masters explains on his blog.

[Indonesia] Ideals that don’t make money

By Laurens Bakker, Inside Indonesia, 29 October 2011 | Nature conservation may have an answer to all this in the new REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme and REDD+ policies, which could mean that part of the funds paid to Indonesia by other nations in exchange for carbon emission reduction might actually reach the communities using the forests that are to be preserved. Yet cash income through conservation could also lead to ‘bidding wars’, or even to betting on two horses. ‘I know what our village should do’, a villager told me with a mischievous grin, ‘take the money for the conservation but continue laying out our little plantations at the same time. We might get rich that way.’

Paper Tiger

AlJazeera, 29 October 2011 | Riau province in Sumatra, Indonesia, is home to the world’s biggest paper plant. Owned and run by Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL), the company has embarked on a massive land clearing project. It is removing natural stands of timber and replanting fast-growing acacia trees – which it says will feed the plant. APRIL describes the programme as sustainable and preferable to the ad hoc land clearing and burning which blights much of Indonesia’s archipelago. But the project faces claims of corruption while the rapidly diminishing Sumatran jungle is adding dramatically to Indonesia’s greenhouse gas outputs and threatening biodiversity. [R-M: a version of this was broadcast by ABC in August 2011 – http://bit.ly/uGbYD4]

Struggling for control

By Jodie Goodman, Inside Indonesia, 29 October 2011 | Struggles for power and access to resources between various levels of government and civil society organisations have been a part of Indonesia’s decentralisation process for the past decade. The authority to manage Indonesia’s forests is no exception. Conflicts over the status of the forest and over who has right to manage it are at the forefront of Indonesian forest politics.

Seeing the forests for the trees

By Fawziah Selamat, Inside Indonesia, 29 October 2011 | In Durian Rambun, a remote village of 250 people in the Sumatran province of Jambi, village chief Rosidi, 41, oversees the construction of a zinc-roofed building slated to be the main gathering point for 17 villages. Not unlike a town hall, Rosidi hopes the modest structure will be the site of ambitious discussions on transforming the region including and surrounding the 17 villages in Merangin, a forest-rich district in Jambi, into hutan desa (village forest). This could be a big change for the people who live in these villages. The land is currently designated as production forest (hutan produksi) or limited production forest (hutan produksi terbatas) and administered by the Department of Forestry. Hutan desa, or village forest, is a form of community forestry in which villages apply for a permit to manage nearby forests.

30 October 2011

Risks remain despite Indonesian forest moratorium

Reuters, 30 October 2011 | An analysis of the moratorium by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Indonesia shows large areas of forest rich in species and stores of carbon are still at risk of clearance, limiting the chances of a major cut in emissions… CIFOR, in the study released on Friday, said while the moratorium on licences was a good start: “Several issues are unresolved concerning the area and status of land covered by the moratorium, and hence the amount of carbon stored in the affected forests and peatlands”. It found that the total new area protected under the moratorium was, at most, 22.5 million hectares, of which a third were primary forests and half were peatlands. That is less than half some previous government estimates because large areas of primary forests and peatlands are already legally protected, although still at risk of encroachment.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net

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