Stealing tomorrow at the Conference of Polluters (Durban COP-17): 1 December 2011

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Two additions to the REDD side events. First, there are a series of presentations in the Indonesia Pavilion (link opens Indonesia Pavilion Programme, pdf file, 175 kB) about REDD in Indonesia. REDD-Monitor would love to hear from anyone taking part in these events, to record Ministry of Forestry officials views on REDD.

Second, a No-REDD Teach In organised by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Carbon Trade Watch. Click on the image on the left for further information (opens pdf file 693.3 kB).

The slogan of the COP-17 meeting in Durban is “Saving Tomorrow Today”. A more appropriate slogan would be “Stealing tomorrow from today”. Which happens to be the title of a song by a Canadian band called the Great Lake Swimmers, a reminder that not everything that comes from Canada is as poisonous as the tar sands:

Faith ka-Manzi of the Panafrican Climate Justice Alliance said something similar in interview with Real World Radio.

Meanwhile, the private sector is beginning to sound desperate at the lack of progress on REDD. “Private capital will be deterred if we don’t see significant progress soon,” said Abyd Karmali, global head of carbon emissions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, at a Global Business of Biodiversity conference in London on Monday. He suggested that the Green Climate Fund could be a fast-start mechanism for REDD. Some of the speakers at the conference suggested that REDD was “dead”, according to a report in Environmental Finance.

Chris Knight of PricewaterhouseCoopers stressed the progress that had been made since 2007: 37 REDD projects started; 20 countries have ‘REDD readiness’ plans; US$4.5 billion public sector finance and US$500 million private sector finance. “An imperfect REDD is better that no REDD at all,” he said, although Environmental Finance did not report whether he explained for whom it would be better.

Greenpeace protested earlier this week about the proposed amendments to the Forest Code in Brazil. “The changes in the forest code would open the Amazon up for dangerous deforestation,” Greenpeace notes. “If confirmed by [President] Dilma, the new law will also compromise the international agreements Lula signed during the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, in December of 2009, committing Brazil to ambitious CO2 emissions reduction targets.”

The Brazilian Senate’s vote on the Forest Code has been postponed until 6 December 2011, according to a report on mongabay.com.

Yesterday’s OccupyCOP17 events featured Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, reading two of his poems, including this one:

I will not dance to your beat

I will not dance to your beat
If you call plantations forests
I will not sing with you
If you privatise my water
I will confront you with my fists
If climate change means death to me but business to you
I will expose your evil greed
If you don’t leave crude oil in the soil
Coal in the hole and tar sands in the land
I will confront and denounce you
If you insist on carbon offsetting and other do-nothing false solutions
I will make you see red
If you keep talking of REDD and push forest communities away from their land
I will drag you to the Climate Tribunal
If you pile up ecological debt
& refuse to pay your climate debt
I will make you drink your own medicine
If you endorse genetically modified crops
And throw dust into the skies to mask the sun
I will not dance to your beat
Unless we walk the sustainable path
And accept real solutions & respect Mother Earth
Unless you do
I will not &
We will not dance to your beat

A couple of blogs are specifically covering the REDD discussions in Durban: RECOFTC and REDD-Net. And there’s a very useful live blog on oneclimate. Fred Putnam sent the notes below from his first two days at his first COP. REDD-Monitor looks forward to posting more of this sort of description of the events in Durban – if you are there, please send your notes to

.

First two days as a newbie at at COP17 in Durban, 2011

By Fred Putnam

Monday, Nov. 28

I expected it to be bigger, and with more people. I think it will build through the two weeks. The official UN negotiations are in the convention center, and the official “side events” and booths are in a large outbuilding – kind of like an airplane hangar. This space is somewhat scruffy, which works just fine, because it is full of young professionals – environmentalists having intense meetings around tables with their computers out.

I went to a presentation in the US booth about SERVIR, a USAID program that brings land use monitoring via NASA satellite photography to the developing world. The exciting thing about this for me was that if you get in this program you can actually ‘target’ their satellite that takes three meter resolution photos of your land of interest. That could be used to document land-grab oil palm deforestation. However, talking to the lead presenter, I learned that the world’s best forest carbon sensor, Japan’s ALOS radar satellite, ‘died’ a few months ago. Bummer.

Everybody I run into is relevant to another key piece in my climate puzzle. It’s uncanny. Sitting back down in the café to plan what I was going to attend, I ran straight into a UNDP Advisor based in Indonesia who knows all about Norway’s REDD+ program there, all about sustainable palm oil issues, and said the US is partnering with Indonesia on verifying its REDD emissions reductions with NASA satellites. I’m invited to visit him in Jakarta.

Tuesday, Nov. 29

There are numerous REDD+ “side-events”. REDD+ side-events abound and overlap, so you can’t cover them all. Two of them were really good today.

Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Measures Essential to REDD+ Success

This panel has excellent experienced people from the EIA, Global Witness, Chatham House, and by a Peruvian from AIDESEP, in Spanish – but this is a UN meeting, so there was translation for me. The leadoff quote was “Alarm bells are ringing. REDD+ is too big to monitor.” Another: “We are dealing with organized crime here.” A detailed account was given of the recent felonious issuance of an oil palm license on peatland in Aceh, Indonesia <by the governor of the province. This is an egregious violation of the much-hailed moratorium declared by Indonesia’s president this year. It’s a poster child for the worst kind of corruption, and how unsustainable palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia. Finally, the Peruvian told a classic case of “carbon cowboys” – scam artists that got an indigenous community to sign on to a ripoff pseudo-REDD agreement in English. …a very passionate speech, with a list of compelling reasons why “structural reform of REDD is essential.”

Toward REDD+ Readiness in Tanzania: Lessons Learned, Opportunities, and Challenges

Tanzania, an early adopter of REDD+, had a panel of about eight members of their top-level REDD+ task force. These people really have their act together – they are the opposite of the “carbon cowboys”. Their presentation was extremely impressive – transparent, dedicated to benefiting the communities, with proper attention to land rights, comprehensive MRV (emission reduction verification), etc., etc. They are truly a showcase of what UN-REDD+ can and should be, and it’s all there on reddtz.org. However, in the Q&A, the questioning was tough, and there was a sense that there were still unanswered questions, and the wrap-up speaker wondered aloud “Are we really going to see more trees alive”? Privately, after the event, I congratulated him on their dedication to the communities, and he said that they are talking to multinational corporations about financing now, and there are tough negotiations on the percentages that the communities will get…

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5 Comments

  1. I don’t know whether anyone from Deutsche Bank is at the Conference of Polluters, but if they are I hope they will be telling the collected dreamers loud and clear about their latest forecasts for the EU-ETS which, in their view, is now more or less dead as far as effective pollution mitigation is concerned. So, that’s 97% of the global carbon market policy response to climate change gone down the drain.

    What other bright ideas do the negotiators and the likes of Andrew Steer of the World Bank have up their sleeve?

    Deutsche Bank follows UBS in slashing carbon forecast
    29 November, 2011
    http://www.carbon-financeonline.com/index.cfm?section=lead&action=view&id=14103&linkref=cnews

    Deutsche Bank has torn up its carbon pricing methodology and slashed its price forecasts, on the expectation that there will be no need for any abatement to meet current EU emissions targets, as the bloc’s economic woes continue.

    The bank’s analysts are now forecasting that EU allowance (EUA) prices will close the year at around €6 ($8) per tonne of carbon dioxide, down from €9, and will trade between €5 and €7 in the first half of 2012

    “Under current EU ETS legislation and targets, we do not think that there will be a deficit at any time beyond 2020 either.” UBS analysts also said that they do not foresee the system being ‘short’ again until 2025.

  2. I think this is a great website you have.

    But I only ever find complaints and arguments against REDD…Or any form of it…Yes many or most of these criticisms are very well founded and fundamental to the issue.

    But where are the alternative proposals or alternative mechanisms to solve this ?

    There is also no exploration of the carbon accounting of REDD. It is clear REDD cannot work as a CO2 offset scheme if carbon accounting is explored scientifically. These are just physics and biological facts. These would be another arrow in the Bow for indigenuous communities to argue with.

  3. It’s Real now that the idea of REDD or any other carbon mechanism in the world are not purely talked about saving the earth from Global Warming Disaster. I’m doubt that REDD would be agreed as a bent mechanism. All stakeholder even countries, privet sector, bank, Project Developer even UN are thinking just for them self in how to make sure that Global Economic still be continued with out any agreement like REDD.

    The IPs and their forests just have been an object and economic commodities to such stakeholder in international debating and negotiation even in the project site. So sad..

  4. wow great website…

    REDD could be worked if the reason is not the carbon, some organisation disagrees about the summmary the way to counts the carbon or chemical insteed but how about if you count it by the hectare of forrest ? it’s more logical

  5. @Zen (#4) – Thanks! Glad you like the website. I agree that REDD would be improved if it were not only about carbon. But if you are going to measure area of forest rather than amount of carbon stored, you’ll have to have a definition of forest that excludes monoculture fast-growing tree plantations, or oil palm plantations. Despite six years of talking about REDD, the UNFCCC has not yet managed to do that.

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