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REDD in the news: 16-22 January 2012

REDD in the news: 16-22 January 2012

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.

Forest Carbon Leakage Quantification Methods and Their Suitability for Assessing Leakage in REDD

By Sabine Henders and Madelene Ostwald, Forests, January 2012 | This paper assesses quantification methods for carbon leakage from forestry activities for their suitability in leakage accounting in a future Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism. To that end, we first conducted a literature review to identify specific pre-requisites for leakage assessment in REDD. We then analyzed a total of 34 quantification methods for leakage emissions from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), the CarbonFix Standard (CFS), and from scientific literature sources. We screened these methods for the leakage aspects they address in terms of leakage type, tools used for quantification and the geographical scale covered.

UN-REDD Publication Highlights Gender Roles in REDD+

Climate Change Policy & Practice, December 2011 | The UN-REDD Programme has published a report on the business case for mainstreaming gender in REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries). The report argues that integrating gender considerations in REDD+ planning makes good business sense. It examines why integrating gender considerations may increase efficiency, efficacy and sustainability, and proposes initial recommendations on how to do so. The report lists case studies showing how women’s participation has positively affected forest regeneration and the control of illicit grazing and felling; and how engaging women as decision makers in executive committees has lead to increase in forest carbon stock, increased sequestration of carbon dioxide, as well as increased community income.

UN-REDD Newsletter 25

UN-REDD, December 2011/January 2012 | In this month’s issue of the UN-REDD Programme Newsletter, read more on the DRC’s new national forest monitoring system launched at COP17, as well as updates on Mongolia’s REDD+ roadmap and details on three new publications the Programme recently released on: 1) Gender and REDD+; 2) Lessons Learned from Asia-Pacific partner countries; and 3) a new policy brief on REDD+ and the Green Economy.

Understanding Community-Based REDD+ A Manual for Indigenous Community Trainers

Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact, January 2012 | In December 2010, after years of negotiations, an agreement on REDD was finally reached at the 16th Conference of Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico. The agreement includes references to indigenous peoples and their rights, and in paragraph 72 of the agreement, country Parties are requested to ensure “the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, i nter alia, indigenous peoples and local communities” when developing and implementing their national strategies or action plans on REDD. But what does “full and effective participation” mean? This question is the main motivation for writing this manual.

16 January 2012

CERs fall 5 pct, hit record low on oversupply, weak demand

Point Carbon, 16 January 2012 | U.N-backed carbon offsets plunged to an all time low of 3.28 euros on Monday amid further supply flowing into the market, while fears about the euro zone grew after Standard & Poors downgraded the credit ratings of nine countries on Friday. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Team finds natural reasons behind nitrogen-rich forests

By Evelyn Boswell, PhysOrg.com, 16 January 2012 | Many tropical forests are extremely rich in nitrogen even when there are no farms or industries nearby, says Montana State University researcher Jack Brookshire. It’s because of biological interactions that occur naturally in the forests, Brookshire and four colleagues said in a paper they published Jan. 15 in the online version of the journal Nature Geoscience. Disputing some long-held beliefs about high nitrogen levels in forests, Brookshire said pollution isn’t always the reason behind it. It can also be caused by natural interactions between the forest and nutrient cycles. Brookshire and his team suggested that in mountainous tropical forests, nitrogen availability may not limit plant growth or its response to higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Just out — rapid monitoring to help REDD+ programs reduce carbon emissions

International Society for Agricultural Meteorology, 16 January 2012 | After three years of development work, we’re pleased to announce the first global implementation of FORMA, which tracks monthly tropical forest clearing since December 2005 in 27 countries, their 280 states and provinces, and over 2,900 subprovinces and municipalities. We’ll soon release a companion GIS database that tracks monthly clearing in each square kilometer of tropical forest land in the countries covered by FORMA.

Credit Agricole S.A. continues its carbon offsetting policy, choosing a REDD+ project for the first time

Crédit Agricole press release, 16 January 2012 | For the fourth consecutive year, Crédit Agricole S.A. will offset the 2,655 tonnes of CO2 emissions generated by its operations in the Greater Paris area. Their incompressible greenhouse gas emissions(1) will be offset by purchasing 2,655 Verified Emission Reductions (VERs)(2) issued under the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project in Kenya. Voted by Crédit Agricole S.A. Group employees, this project has been verified and validated to the internationally recognised Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). It has also been approved by The CarbonNeutral Company, an expert in carbon strategy.

Brazil dominates forest-related news coverage of Latin America in 2011

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 16 January 2012 | Reformation of Brazil’s Forest Code and construction of the Belo Monte dam are just some of the issues that lead to Brazil’s domination of forestry news in Latin America last year – and these will continue to top forest headlines in the region in 2012, according to some of the most highly recognized environmental journalists based in Latin America. “I think the developments in Brazil have been an important story this year” said Rhett Butler, founder and editor of Mongabay, one of the world’s most popular environmental science and conservation news sites.

‘The rule of law? – not in the forest sector of Guyana’

By Janette Bulkan, Stabroek News, 16 January 2012 | All logs extracted from concessions in State Forests, from agricultural or mining leases, or from Amerindian lands, should carry GFC-issued bar-coded timber tags. Half of each tag should be nailed to the tree stump and the other half to the log. In forests purportedly under sustainable forest management, the GFC should be able to match the log to the stump, and in 2010-11 it claimed to have matched 29 per cent of all issued tags. In forests not under long-term management, trees and stumps may be cleared by agriculture or mining or road building so that tag matching may be impossible. Huge amounts of logs supposedly coming from small agricultural leases or conversion forest lands probably include logs felled illegally elsewhere but are reported for GFC removal and transshipment passes as coming from such leases.

Political confusion in PNG continues

By Liam Fox, ABC Radio Australia News, 16 January 2012 | Papua New Guinea’s highest court is again being asked to determine the country’s legitimate prime minister. The Supreme Court’s order last month to reinstate Sir Michael Somare as prime minister plunged the country into a constitutional crisis. Peter O’Neill remains the effective Prime Minister with the support of the police, defence force, public service and most parliamentarians. But the confusion remains, so Mr O’Neill’s Attorney-General has filed a Supreme Court reference asking for the court’s opinion on 29 constitutional questions. Among them; can the court impose orders on parliament, can parliament pass retrospective legislation and can the Governor-General refuse a directive from parliament to appoint a prime minister. A date is yet to be set for preliminary hearings.

SNV Exploring Pro-poor Options for Distributing REDD+ Benefits in Vietnam

By Adrian Enright, SNV, 16 January 2012 | Determining how best to allocate benefits from efforts for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is one of the most sensitive debates in REDD+ circles. The design of Benefit Distribution Systems (BDS) for REDD+ describes the process of allocating international finances that flow into a developing country, down to the hands of communities, households and other stakeholders involved in carrying out REDD+ activities. SNV Netherlands Development Organisation recognises that in many cases, the beneficiaries of REDD+ payments will be poorer stakeholders who either live in or around forest areas. As part of the DARWIN project – Harnessing Carbon Finance to Arrest Deforestation and Forest Degradation to Conserve Biological Diversity – SNV Vietnam, has been exploring options of how to ensure the allocation of REDD+ benefits is done in such a way that is beneficial to the poor.

17 January 2012

Rainforests need massive finance, but REDD must be well-designed to succeed

By Rhett Butler, mongabay.com, 17 January 2012 | Mongabay recently caught up with Roman Czebiniak, Greenpeace International’s Political Advisor on Climate Change and Forests… mongabay.com: Does Greenpeace see any positive developments arising out of the REDD text from Durban? Roman Czebiniak: No. Rather than providing necessary guidance and security to civil society, donors, and investors, on how best to meet the Cancun Agreement on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) objective to “slow, halt and reverse” deforestation in a socially responsible way, the decisions adopted in Durban increased the environmental and social risks associated with the Cancun objective on REDD. Rather than protecting the rights of the people responsible for protecting the forest, the Durban decisions opened the door for irresponsible companies who profit from forest destruction. An entire year’s worth of negotiations was wasted.

SocGen cuts carbon price forecasts by over 22 pct

Reuters, 17 January 2012 | Societe Generale on Tuesday lowered its price forecasts for European Union and U.N.-backed carbon, citing an over-supply of emission units, a worsening EU economic outlook and an expansion of low-carbon energy sources. Front-year EU Allowances (EUAs) would average 8.9 euros ($11.28) a tonne in 2012, down 28 percent from its previous estimate in November, the Paris-based bank said in a research report. It does not expect EUAs, the price for a tonne of carbon dioxide emissions in the 27-nation bloc’s emissions trading scheme, to rise above 15 euros a tonne before 2020.

REDD+, forests and food

By Lena Buell, RECOFTC’s Blog for People and Forests, 17 January 2012 | At Durban’s Forest Day 5, the resounding message was that REDD+ will not work if people are hungry. How can we expect the poor to conserve forest resources if their food security – their very survival – rests on the use or consumption of those resources? Part of the problem is a perceived trade-off between cultivating land for agriculture and preserving it as forestland. RECOFTC discusses this, and other opportunity costs of REDD+ for local people, in the latest REDD-Net Bulletin, in which we point out that current market values for forest carbon offsets simply cannot compete with global prices for crops like rubber, oil palm, and coffee. However, a new study on deforestation and soy production in the Southern Amazon showed that over the past decade, a drop in deforestation has been matched by growth in agricultural output – seemingly a contradiction in terms.

Hats Off to Guyana’s Outgoing President Jagdeo, a Forest Champion

By Russell Mittermeier (President of Conservation International), Huffington Post, 17 January 2012 | From that moment on, he took on the mantle of leadership for continually and forcefully speaking on this issue whenever the opportunity presented itself — at U.N. climate conventions in Bali, Copenhagen and Cancun, and at a wide variety of other global events. He did press conferences on the issue with CI board member Harrison Ford, with prime ministers and presidents, and with key figures in the business world. Along the way, he also designed and launched a Low Carbon Development Strategy for his country, one of the first of its kind and certainly the first for an HFLD country. And this became so appealing to the international donor community that in 2009 the Norwegian government made a $250 million commitment to his Strategy.

[Indonesia] New book series hopes to inspire research in world’s ‘hottest biodiversity hotspot’

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 17 January 2012 | Entomologist Dmitry Telnov hopes his new pet project will inspire and disseminate research about one of the world’s last unexplored biogeographical regions: Wallacea and New Guinea. Incredibly rich in biodiversity and still full of unknown species, the region, also known as the Indo-Australian transition, spans many of the tropical islands of the Pacific, including Indonesia’s Sulawesi, Komodo and Flores, as well as East Timor—the historically famous “spice islands” of the Moluccan Archipelago—the Solomon Islands, and, of course, New Guinea. Telnov has begun a new book series, entitled Biodiversity, Biogeography and Nature Conservation in Wallacea and New Guinea, that aims to compile and highlight new research in the region, focusing both on biology and conservation. The first volume, currently available, also includes the description of 150 new species.

Levi’s drops Asia Pulp & Paper due to its link to deforestation in Indonesia

mongabay.com, 17 January 2012 | Levi Strauss & Company became the latest firm to drop Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) as a supplier due to concerns over APP’s continued clearing of rainforests in Sumatra, reports the Rainforest Action Network, a green group in the midst of a campaign against APP. According to a forest products purchasing policy posted on its web site last month, Levi’s will “not knowingly purchase wood and paper products from endangered forests and other highly controversial sources such as high-risk regions for illegal logging.” The clothing-maker will reduce consumption of forest resources by using recycled material, reducing packaging, and giving preference to products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to improve the environmental performance of the forestry sector.

[Nepal] REDD Strategy Framework workshop held in Nepalganj

REDD – Forestry and Climate Change Cell, 17 January 2012 | REDD Forestry and Climate Change Cell of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation organized a workshop on Sharing the REDD Strategy framework in Nepalgunj on 18-19 Poush 2068 (January 2-3, 2012) with kind support of Regional Directors from the Mid Western and Far Western Regional Directorates of Forests. Objective of the workshop was to discuss on the potential issues to be addressed in the proposed REDD strategy framework of Nepal. 30 participants representing line agency, user organization, project, NGO and media personnel participated in this workshop.

Pakistan’s forests fall victim to the Taliban

By Ashfaq Yusufzai, IPS, 17 January 2012 | The landscape of Swat, an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and once a luscious valley, is now dotted with thousands of tree stumps as militants decimate acres of forest for timber revenues. “Nearly all the forested areas have been mercilessly stripped of trees but the Swat in particular has borne the brunt of the Taliban’s atrocities over the last two years,” Jamshaid Ali Khan, secretary of the Sarhad Awami Forestry Ittehad (SAFI), told IPS. SAFI was founded in 1997 in the hopes of conserving, managing and developing forests, providing income for local workers, reducing air pollution and minimising soil erosion during floods but its operations were severely restricted between 2007 and 2009, when the Taliban exercised full control over Swat. Despite all its best efforts, the organisation has failed to stop the lopping of trees to fund the Islamic movement.

[Pakistan] Press Coverage of National Consultative Workshop on REDD+ Safeguards Held on January 12, 2012

Pakistan National Committee (PNC) of IUCN Members, 17 January 2012 | As you know, the National Consultative Workshop on “Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria for REDD+ Safeguards” held on January 12, 2012 at Islamabad, Which was inaugurated by the Mr. Mohammad Javed Malik, Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Disaster Management. The workshop was attended all the major stakeholders from all over Pakistan. The event was also covered by the media. In this regard, I am pleased to share with you the press clipping from two leading national news papers, The News and The Nation. I have also enclosed here some selected pictures of the event. Presently, we are work on the workshop report, which hope to share with you and UN REDD Programme Colleagues before the 20th January 2012.

Suriname indigenous communities need to learn more about climate change

Stabroek News, 17 January 2012 | Indigenous and Marron communities have no idea what Kyoto, Rio+20 and REDD+ mean. Since last December’s United Nations (UN) climate conference in Durban, South-Africa the attention of environmental experts has been focused on REDD+ and this is also the case in Suriname. José Artist of the Association of Indigenous Chiefs in (VIDS) was at the climate conference and lobbied for the right of indigenous and tribal peoples to contribute to drafting REDD+. At the conference, Artist participated in ‘civil society’ activities, including the Gender Caucus and Indigenous Peoples Caucus. At last Friday’s discussion evening organized by Projecta, Artist related on her activities in Durban. “My aim at the Indigenous Peoples Caucus was to include passages from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the implementation of the REDD+ mechanism.

18 January 2012

China lowers carbon floor price as CER prices crash

Point Carbon, 18 January 2012 | China has lowered the minimum price foreign companies must pay for Chinese carbon credits for the first time since 2008, but traders say the move is unlikely to have much impact as it will remain twice as high as current carbon prices. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the agency in charge of China’s participation in the international carbon market, has cut the floor price for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) credits by 1 euro to 7 euros ($8.92) in response to EU and U.N. carbon prices hitting record lows, several sources told Point Carbon News. Officials at the agency were not immediately available for comment.

Unity bid by BASIC ahead of Qatar talks

By Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, 18 January 2012 | The climate talks of 195 nations in Durban, South Africa, had decided to initiate Durban Platform to agree on a new climate treaty by 2015 to be ratified by individual nations by 2020. Each country is required to make submissions of what it wants in Durban Platform by February 28. As the new climate treaty aims to have binding emission cuts for emerging economies such as India and China, there were differences among the BASIC countries on the issue. While China and India had opposed mandatory emission cuts, Brazil and South Africa appeared agreeable to the idea. “We have not agreed for any emission cuts,” environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan had told Parliament in December. Since the Durban meeting, there has been a realisation that agreeing to emission cuts will mean changing the basic principle of common but differentiated principle (CBDR) enshrined in the UN climate convention.

New timber regulation to force companies away from business-as-usual practices

By Leoyn Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 18 January 2012 | New regulations banning sale of illegal timber in consumer countries will force companies to move away from business-as-usual practices, part of a two-pronged approach to ensure the sustainability of supply for wood products. Under a regulation that will come into effect in the European Union next year, companies will have to verify the legality of timber from the harvest country onwards, said Chen Hin Keong, Global Forest Trade Programme Leader at TRAFFIC. While the impact of this rule on illegal logging is unclear, there are already “certain developments you can see in the global markets: industries want to learn about the regulations,” said Chen. The EU regulation follows the inclusion of timber in 2008 under the US Lacey Act, which bans sale of illegal plants and animals in the United States.

Saving the rainforest with a Stethoscope

By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests Blog, 18 January 2012 | Improving the health of local women in forest communities may provide powerful incentives for them to contribute to conservation efforts, says a recent study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). However, minimal availability of healthcare services in forest areas along with the burdens of household responsibilities often see the health and safety of forest-dependent women largely ignored. “In many forested areas, there are no formal healthcare services — no doctors, no clinics, no ‘modern’ medicines,” said Carol Colfer, CIFOR Senior Associate and co-author of “Forests, women and health: opportunities and challenges for conservation”. “The only healthcare is often what is available locally, through indigenous knowledge and locally available plants,” Colfer said.

Indonesia a Global Financial ‘Safe Haven’: Central Bank

By Aloysius Unditu, Jakarta Globe, 18 January 2012 | Indonesian monetary policy makers welcomed Wednesday’s rating upgrade by Moody’s Investors Service on its sovereign debt as a vote of confidence in the country’s strong economic fundamentals and prudent debt management. A rating upgrade means Southeast Asia’s largest economy can reduce financing costs if it wants to tap global investors this year, they said. “It is a vote of confidence by international rating agencies that Indonesia’s economy remains resilient amid this global slowdown,’’ Hartadi Sarwono, a Bank Indonesia deputy governor, said in a text message to the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

19 January 2012

Money Is All That’s Green in Biodiesel

By Stephen Leahy, IPS, 19 January 2012 | The only green in biodiesel fuel is the money producers make from it, new research has revealed. Most biodiesel production is making climate change worse not better, studies show. Biodiesel from palm oil plantations may be the world’s dirtiest fuel – far worse than burning diesel made from oil when the entire production life cycle is considered. Biodiesel made from the many palm oil plantations on Indonesia’s peatlands have a “carbon debt of 200 years”, said Louis Verchot, a research scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research in Bogor, Indonesia. This means it will take 200 years of continuous biodiesel production from these palm oil plantations to pay off the “carbon debt” that results from land conversion and indirect land use changes. Verchot and colleagues’ study is the first real-world look at the climate impacts of biodiesel and was published last month in the journal Ecology and Society.

Researchers outline food security-climate change road map in Science

Burness Communications press release, 19 January 2012 | While last month’s climate negotiations in Durban made incremental progress toward helping farmers adapt to climate change and reduce agriculture’s climate footprint, a group of international agriculture experts, writing in the January 20 issue of Science magazine, urges scientists to lay the groundwork for more decisive action on global food security in environmental negotiations in 2012. “Agriculture worldwide is being impacted by climate change and in less than 15 years global population will rise by one billion people,” said Sir John Beddington, lead author of the article ‘What Next for Agriculture After Durban?’ “Policy makers and scientists need to work together, quickly, to chart a course toward a sustainable global food system.”

Calculating the Carbon Value of a Swamp

By Matthew L. Wald, New York Times, 19 January 2012 | A nonprofit organization and a Gulf Coast electric company have come up with a way that might raise money to help protect New Orleans and surrounding areas from storms made worse by climate change – by collecting funds from people who feel bad about their carbon dioxide emissions. The American Carbon Registry of Arlington, Va., runs a market for carbon credits. It has established methodologies for calculating how much carbon dioxide a certain positive action will sequester – planting an acre with trees, or burning methane from a landfill that would otherwise leak into the atmosphere, for example. It issues carbon credits with serial numbers, and if those are sold on a voluntary market to an organization that wants to reduce its carbon footprint, it records that fact and retires the serial number.

Amazon basin becoming carbon emitter

By Kate Taylor, TG Daily, 19 January 2012 | The Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in the Amazon (LBA) evaluates the connections between climate change, agricultural expansion, logging, and fire risk. And, concludes the team, there are clear signs of transition to a disturbance-dominated regime in the southern and eastern portions of the Amazon basin. “Deforestation has moved the net basin-wide budget away from a possible late 20th-century net carbon sink and towards a net source,” they say.

Amazon ‘uncontacted’ tribes at risk from new highway plan

By David Hill, The Ecologist, 19 January 2012 | Tension is mounting in one of the remotest regions in the Peruvian Amazon over plans to build a highway through the country’s biggest national park. The Alto Purus park is inhabited by at least two ‘uncontacted’ tribes, one of which was photographed on a beach in the park five years ago. Carlos Tubino Arias Schreiber, a congressman from the Fuerza 2011 party, has been promoting the need for the highway in Peru’s Congress, in what has become an increasingly aggressive publicity campaign. ‘In Purus the monkeys and plants have more rights than human beings,’ he stated on 18 November last year after a visit to the region. ‘The national parks have cut it off.’ But plans for the highway have drawn fire from environmental and human rights groups concerned about its potential impact on the rainforest and the ‘uncontacted’ tribes living there.

Deforestation, climate change threaten the ecological resilience of the Amazon rainforest

mongabay.com, 19 January 2012 | The combination of deforestation, forest degradation, and the effects of climate change are weakening the resilience of the Amazon rainforest ecosystem, potentially leading to loss of carbon storage and changes in rainfall patterns and river discharge, finds a comprehensive review published in the journal Nature. An international team of researchers examined 100 studies looking at the effects of disturbance and climate change on the functioning of the Amazon Basin. The found that while the Amazon may be resilient to individual disturbances, multiple interacting disturbances — including fire, logging, deforestation, fragmentation, and global and regional climate change — undermines its resilience.

[Indonesia] Millions of long lost logs and a single special tree

By Mike Shanahan (IIED), Under The Banyan, 19 January 2012 | I had come to Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia to learn about its potential to protect the Bornean orang-utan, a species whose total population is so small it could not fill all the seats at a World Cup football stadium… I visited the park last week with a group of specialists who had come together to share lessons about how to protect apes, reduce human poverty and limit climate change — ideally all at once. The national park managers showed us before and after photographs that revealed how they were slowly turning a wasteland into something that once more resembled a forest. So far they have planted more than a million trees on 5,000 hectares of the burnt and deforested land… It means that efforts to reforest Sebangau could be among the first projects in line for funding under an international scheme called REDD+…

Indonesia to set aside 45% of Kalimantan for conservation

mongabay.com, 19 January 2012 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) on Thursday announced a regulation that would protect 45 percent of Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, according to a statement issued by his office. The regulation, which was issued January 5, aims to promote sustainable use of the natural resources of Kalimantan, and while light on details is ambitious in its goals, which include preservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services; energy independence, including oil, gas, and coal development; sustainable oil palm and rubber plantations; expansion of ecotourism; improved transportation networks; and food self-sufficiency… Deddy Ratih of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) told Satriastanti that “real forests” only cover 30 percent of Kalimantan, a fact that isn’t acknowledged by the central government.

Norway pledges $300 million/year to green world’s power

Reuters, 19 January 2012 | Norway will spend NOK 1.8 billion ($300 million) a year to devise ways to help some of the world’s poorest people get better access to energy and to develop a new market-based system to limit emissions from global energy production, a foreign ministry official said Wednesday. The Nordic nation expects to launch a plan by June that will see several richer states give money to nine poor countries to invest in new and more efficient power plants. The government hopes the scheme will be eventually used as a worldwide example for attracting private sector cash via a new type of carbon market… Norway, whose vast offshore oil reserves have helped it to become one of the world’s richest countries, wants the effort to mirror the REDD+ Partnership on halting deforestation in the developing world.

[Tanzania] Funding for climate change projects poor

The Citizen, 19 January 2012 | The funds for implementation of projects on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) are flowing to developing countries from some developed countries on voluntary basis alone, lacking legally binding framework agreed internationally, it has been learnt. This makes it difficult to force rich countries pay for environmental conservation efforts as agreed under various international agreements. The chairman of the secretariat for preparation of the National Strategy and Action Plan for REDD Pius Yanda told BusinessWeek at the weekend that there is no internationally agreed framework for managing REDD projects and funds… “We are still waiting for internationally agreed mechanism for REDD implementation to be in place. Currently there is no binding international framework for operationalisation of REDD. Financing for the project is now being implemented on voluntary basis,” said Prof Yanda…

20 January 2012

Attenborough asks corporations to protect wilderness from poor people

By Ian Angus, Climate and Capitalism, 20 January 2012 | Regular readers of Climate & Capitalism know that David Attenborough, in addition to making nature films, is a patron of Optimum Population Trust, a British outfit that, using the name Population Matters, promotes birth control for poor people and immigration restrictions to keep those same people out of Britain… We haven’t previously mentioned that Sir David is also a patron of World Land Trust. This week he spoke on behalf of that group to yet another posh meeting in London, this one attended by “lawyers, city investors and business people.” … Since the population bomb can’t be stopped, Attenborough says we need to focus on “making sure mankind doesn’t spread willy nilly over every square yard of the globe.” How? By buying large tracts of rainforest, and converting them into private wildlife reserves…

Conserving biodiversity hotspots ‘could bring world’s poor $500bn a year’

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 20 January 2012 | Some of the world’s poorest people would be half a trillion dollars a year better off if the services they provide to the rest of the planet indirectly – through conserving natural habitats – was given an economic value, a new study has found. Many of these valuable habitats and species are under threat, but the people who live in these areas lack the means to improve their conservation, according to a new study in the journal BioScience… Will Turner, vice–president of Conservation International and lead author of the study, said: “Developed and developing economies cannot continue to ask the world’s poor to shoulder the burden of protecting these globally important ecosystem services for the rest of the world’s benefit, without compensation in return. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about valuing natural capital.”

Conserving Nature Worth $500 Billion to Poor

By Jake Richardson, Care2.com, 20 January 2012 | A study of 17 of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots found paying poor people living near those areas for conserving them could result in those people earning $500 billion dollars a year. “Global Biodiversity Conservation and the Alleviation of Poverty” is the title of the research paper. The study attempted to calculate the value of what is called “ecosystem services,” such as food local people obtain from forests and rivers, protection from mudslides by plants that prevent erosion, wood for fuel and building freshwater, botanical medicine, consistent rains and many other life sustaining resources, in relation to the value the local poor people provide when they conserve those areas.

Washington: Researchers outline food security-climate change road map in Science

Afrique en ligne, 20 January 2012 | A group of international agriculture experts has urged scientists to lay the groundwork for more decisive action on global food security in environmental negotiations in 2012. Writing in the 20 January issue of Science magazine, they said this was necessary, in spite of the ‘incremental progress’ made toward helping farmers adapt to climate change and reduce agriculture’s climate footprint during last month’s climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. “Agriculture worldwide is being impacted by climate change and in less than 15 years global population will rise by one billion people,” a statement issued by the Consultative Group on International Agrocultural Research (CGIAR) Friday quoted Sir John Beddington, lead author of the article ‘What Next for Agriculture After Durban?’, as saying…

Indigenous communities make a list of “do’s and don’ts” for forest conservation schemes

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 20 January 2012 | Indigenous and community groups have made a wish-list detailing how schemes that aim to reduce deforestation and forest degradation should work for those living in and amongst the forest. The recommendations, formulated at a meeting on the sidelines of recent the UN climate talks in Durban are timely in the light of the watering down of social safeguards in the REDD+ text decided upon at the summit. “The main message of the debate was the rejection of top-down policies that undermine community governance and community values,” said Simone Lovera, Executive Director of the Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide network of more than 50 non-governmental organisations and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations.

Improving Forestry for Nature, People and the Climate

By Mark Tercek (The Nature Conservancy), Huffington Post, 20 January 2012 | As we watch the world debate how best to address climate change, and as carbon emissions continue to soar, at least one climate strategy strikes me as a “no-brainer.” We should do everything we can to save the world’s forests… Based on our 60 years of experience conserving forests around the world, The Nature Conservancy is committed to demonstrating how REDD+ can work to provide benefits for forests, local people and the global climate. For example, in Indonesia, we are partnering with the government in the district of Berau to protect its tropical forest and reduce carbon pollution by two million tons annually — which is like removing roughly 400,000 cars from the road each year. In this 5 million-acre area, we are also boosting economic progress by providing guidance on smarter, more sustainable farming and logging techniques.

[Brazil] ‘Evidence of attack’ discovered where Indian child was reportedly ‘burned alive’

Survival International, 20 January 2012 | An investigation into the reported killing of an uncontacted Indian child by loggers, has uncovered disturbing ‘evidence of an attack’ deep in the Amazon forest. The findings suggest loggers were operating 400 meters away from an uncontacted Awá camp where the burned remains of a child were allegedly found. Brazilian NGO CIMI, The Order of Attorneys of Brazil and the Maranhão Human Rights Society, who jointly carried out the investigation, also found, ‘many indications that the Awá had been in the place of the reported incident.’ The team discovered the remains of four fires, as well as clear evidence of the Awá’s search for honey, and bindings used to help them climb trees. However, CIMI says, ‘loggers’ tractors drove over the Awá’s camp, destroying everything. From the signs we can say that it was a large vehicle.’

Forest fires in Chile stoke tensions over indigenous land rights

By Gavin O’Toole, The Guardian, 20 January 2012 | Escalating tensions between the Mapuche people and Chile’s government following a spate of devastating forest fires reveal the high cost of policies that champion multinational corporations by subordinating environmental protection to market growth. The fires have thrown into stark relief the consequences of a strategy that has made Chile a rising star in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, yet has made few concessions to indigenous rights and remains deaf to warnings about forestry practices… Relations between Chile’s government and the Mapuche worsened dramatically after ministers suggested indigenous activists were behind the fires that ravaged about 500 sq km of commercial forestry and parkland in the country this month. The fires damaged commercial tree plantations in the regions of Bío Bío and La Araucanía and parts of Chile’s foremost tourist attraction, the Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia.

[Guyana] LCDS remains on administration’s agenda – Dr. Luncheon

By GINA, Guyana Chronicle, 20 January 2012 | Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon, yesterday reaffirmed Guyana’s commitment to the implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), and assured that it remains on the Administration’s agenda. Dr. Luncheon, at his weekly post-Cabinet media briefing at the Office of the President, reiterated that the LCDS remains a focus of the administration and the Multi-stakeholder Steering Committee (MSSC) would continue its widespread consultation and representation to oversee the implementation of the LCDS. He stated that the government hopes that the MSSC would extend its membership and engage additional stakeholders under the Chairmanship of President Donald Ramotar.

[Indonesia] SBY Sees Kalimantan as the ‘Lungs of the World’

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Post, 20 January 2012 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has issued a regulation that sets aside for conservation 45 percent of Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo Island, to be the “lungs of the world.” … Kalimantan is at the center of a rush to mine its vast coal reserves, which environmental campaigners say has devastated its geography. “Kalimantan will also become a center for plantations of palm oil, rubber and other sustainable forest products,” the release said… Wisnu Rusmantoro, the Heart of Borneo national coordinator for the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia, hailed the president’s commitment to conservation, adding that he thought 45 percent forest coverage was sufficient for Kalimantan.

[South Africa] Bank enters sustainable forestry collaboration

By Megan Wait, Engineering News, 20 January 2012 | South African banking firm Nedbank Capital and public engagement project Face the Future have signed a pioneering memorandum of understanding (MoU) designed to facilitate collaboration between the two, with the intention of enabling them to jointly develop sustainable forestry projects in Africa. The companies believe this agreement will allow them to harness the practical project and carbon development skills acquired by Face the Future, with the access to finance and carbon market networks developed by Nedbank… The cooperation will focus on Africa specifically. Nedbank Capital senior administrator for carbon finance Paul Griffin says one such project, the Kibale National Park reforestation project, in Uganda, managed by Face the Future and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, has now attained registration and carbon issuance…

21 January 2012

A darker shade of green: REDD and the future of forests

Co-produced by Global Justice Ecology Project and Global Forest Coalition, Climate and Capitalism, 21 January 2012 | As policies and programs to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and to enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+) are promoted around the world by global and national elites, Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities are raising the alarm that these programs will have serious negative impacts — and will not reduce the cascading threats of the climate crisis. This 28-minute documentary introduces the many concerns about REDD from the perspective of the people who are most impacted, featuring interviews and testimonies from Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda, India, and California.

[Tanzania] Better forest management campain gets cash boost

By Polycarp Machira, The Citizen, 21 January 2012 | The campaign to improve forest governance in the country yesterday got a major boost as Finland and Norway contributed a $ 5,060,000 towards the second phase of Mama Misitu campaign. The second phase which will take off this year to 2016, is expected to improve transparency and accountability in the forestry sector and reduce illegal harvesting of forests. The campaign would be build on public, private and non-governmental partnerships and networks related to sustainable use of forests and timber products. The aim is also to promote participatory forest management processes through the campaign, so that communities can increase their rights over land and forests and strengthen their capacity to sustainably manage their forests.

22 January 2012


PHOTO Credit: : Image created using wordle.net.

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