REDD in the news: 30 January – 5 February 2012

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REDD in the news: 30 January - 5 February 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.

American Carbon Registry Nested REDD+ Requirements

American Carbon Registry, February 2012 | Winrock International’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) is developing technical guidance for REDD+ projects nested within a jurisdictional accounting framework. Project-level REDD+ activities – including conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks – are eligible to register on ACR and, upon release of the ACR Nested REDD+ Requirements, will be able to do so using baseline, leakage, monitoring and other requirements developed at the jurisdictional level provided these meet certain minimum criteria.

Agfax interview: REDD+ – financing forest protection – download or listen to audio

Agfax, February 2012 | Ghana is one of several African countries taking a keen interest in the REDD+ scheme, which offers payment for planting and protecting forest areas. Adoption and promotion of REDD+ presents challenges however, and farmers are among those who are concerned as to whether they will ever receive the promised financial benefits. Kofi Adu Domfeh speaks to some of those involved with Ghana’s uptake of the scheme about the challenges and rewards that REDD brings, including the benefits it could offer in terms of local climate as well as the global picture.

REDD+ – financing forest protection

Agfax, February 2012 | Ghana is one of several African countries taking a keen interest in the REDD+ scheme, which offers payment for planting and protecting forest areas. Adoption and promotion of REDD+ presents challenges however, and farmers are among those who are concerned as to whether they will ever receive the promised financial benefits. Kofi Adu Domfeh speaks to some of those involved with Ghana’s uptake of the scheme about the challenges and rewards that REDD+ brings, including the benefits it could offer in terms of local climate as well as the global picture.

Developing and testing a sub-national REDD+ strategy to safeguard the remaining forests within protected areas and on private land in Uganda’s north and north-central Albertine Rift

LifeWeb, February 2012 | The project will pilot a sub-national REDD+ strategy in the Albertine Rift in south-west Uganda. This region ranks first out of the 119 terrestrial eco-regions of continental Africa in terms of biodiversity significance, but has one of the highest deforestation rates globally, losing 17000 ha/yr. By introducing REDD+, the project will apply a transformational approach to the management of the 329000 ha of remaining forests in protected areas, safeguarding carbon stocks of 390 M tCO2eq; without such action, Central Forests Reserves (CFRs) and private forests will be cleared in less than 20 years and pressures will mount on the national parks that protect the most important biodiversity and watersheds. The project will support development of a sub-national REDD+ strategy, develop standards for REDD+ projects for forest protected areas and adjacent lands, define a corresponding MRV system, and through co-benefit arrangements will improve land security…

Reduced Emissions from forest Destruction and Degradation (REDD)

Albertine Rift, no date | One of the potential financing options that exists for conservation of natural forest is through REDD. The idea is that western nations offset their carbon emissions by paying to protect natural forest which is a source of about 20% of all carbon emissions. These funds could provide incentives for people who have natural forest on their land, or to national governments to protect forest rather than convert it to agriculture. WCS has been leading a feasibility analysis for REDD+ funding in the Murchison-Semliki Landscape, the Mt Hoyo-Virunga Park corridor of the Greater Virunga Landscape, the Itombwe Massif of the Maiko-Itombwe Landscape and the proposed Ngamikka Park of the Marungu-Kabogo Landscape.

REDD+ Partnership meeting

Forest Carbon Portal, February 2012 | February 27, 2012 – February 28, 2012, Hosted by: REDD+ Partnership. Meeting 1: Finance: Outreach MeetingAs discussed in Durban, we propose to hold a stand‐alone meeting focused on how best to scale up and accelerate the deployment of finance for REDD+. This meeting would be an open meeting with an outreach focus, and we intend to invite both those stakeholders who are familiar with the REDD+ Partnership, as well as others who do not normally attend our meetings. We would invite a number of expert speakers to present to us, and hold frank and practical discussions on a number of challenges and opportunities relating to how to finance REDD+. During the meeting, we would hope to promote REDD+ to those who may be able to help drive its progress but are not yet acquainted with it, and also to learn lessons from outside the REDD+ world about how we might advance REDD+.

Up close one year later: startling new photos of uncontacted Indians released

Survival International, February 2012 | Survival International has released close-up pictures of uncontacted Indians, exactly a year after aerial photos from Brazil astonished the world. The new photographs taken in south-east Peru show an uncontacted family from the Mashco-Piro tribe. The Mashco-Piro are known to inhabit the Manú National Park, but sightings of them have increased in recent months. Many blame illegal logging in and around the park and low flying helicopters from nearby oil and gas projects, for forcibly displacing the Indians from their forest homes.

Political discourse of REDD+ in Indonesia: Media analysis of national newspapers

By L. Santoso, Master Thesis. Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Indonesia, 2012 | The research for this thesis was carried out as part of a global comparative study (GCS) of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). It used methodology developed in the Component 1 of the GCS analysing national REDD+ policies and processes. In the thesis the author examines how the mass media translate the REDD+ scheme to be understood for their readers through media framing. Given that REDD+ is a result of political negotiation process at the international level that impact on national politics, this study provides an overview and understanding of the political discourse of REDD+ in Indonesia – by looking at the relationship, roles and interests of key actors that affect the policy making process.

US$3.6m awaits Liberia if…

The Inquirer, no date | The Liberia Media Initiatives says it gathered during a two-day workshop that with the establishment of institutions, crafting of laws and political will on the part of the government to develop a successful Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy, the Country stands to benefit approximately 3.6 million USD to flow from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility beginning in mid-to late 2012. The Liberia Media Initiatives said, it captured the information during a two-day workshop on Communicating Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation towards REDD+ Readiness in Liberia which ran from January 26-27 last week at the Belle Casa Hotel in Sinkor Monrovia.

30 January 2012

World Bank Methodology for Soil Carbon Sequestration Approved

Climate Change Policy & Practice, 30 January 2012 | An agroforestry project financed by the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund in western Kenya presented a methodology for soil carbon sequestration through sustainable agricultural land management, which was approved by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The methodology is expected to allow smallholder farmers in Kenya – and potentially worldwide – to adopt improved farming techniques, boost productivity and increase their resilience to climate change, while earning carbon credits. The methodology was developed by the World Bank for the Smallholder Agriculture Carbon Finance Project run by the non-governmental organization Vi Agroforestry, through a pilot project that involves over 60,000 smallholders who are farming 45,000 hectares of land. It is the first approved methodology for agricultural soil practices generating carbon credits.

REDD+ project design: 10 points to consider so the poor don’t lose out

By Essam Mohammed, International Institute for Environment and Development, 30 January 2012 | REDD+ aims to reward or compensate tropical developing countries for keeping their forests intact or for reducing the scale of deforestation. It’s predicted that financial flows to these countries from REDD+ could reach up to US$30 billion a year. So getting the issue of REDD+ benefit distribution right is crucial, not only to ensure that it is benefiting the poorest of the poor (or at least not harming them), but for building REDD+’s legitimacy both at the national and international level, which in turn will help preserve forest ecosystems. Before REDD+ programmes begin to be implemented in earnest, lessons should be learnt from previous payment schemes, so past mistakes aren’t repeated.

Rainforests store 229 billion tons of carbon globally finds new ‘wall-to-wall’ carbon map

mongabay.com, 30 January 2012 | Tropical rainforests store some 229 billion tons of carbon in their vegetation — about 20 percent more than previously estimated — finds a new satellite-based assessment published in the journal Nature Climate Change… “The paper is important for two reasons,” said co-author and WHRC senior scientist Richard A. Houghton. “First, it provides a high-resolution map of aboveground biomass density for the world’s tropical forests. Previous maps were of much coarser resolution and yielded wildly different estimates of both regional totals and spatial distribution. Second, the paper calculates a new estimate of carbon emissions from land-use change in the tropics.”

[Guyana] The rule of law – inefficiency and corruption in the export of timber logs to Asia

By Janette Bulkan, Stabroek News, 30 January 2012 | In the article ‘The rule of law? – not in the forest sector of Guyana’ published by Stabroek News’ In the Diaspora on Monday 16 January 2012, I outlined the simple ways by which some traders export timber logs illegally. In today’s article, I show some of the inefficiencies in the semi-computerised systems used by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), including its Customs and Trade Administration (C&TA;). I show also some of the ‘small piece’ payments which lubricate the flow of documents for timber export through the government bureaucracy. And I mention the alleged forest offences for which the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) is imposing undocumented administrative penalties disproportionate to the nature of the alleged offences. Guyana scores poorly in most international indices on quality of governance including those on ease of doing business. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

This Week in Forest Carbon: Lofty Goals in Indonesia

Ecosystem Marketplace, 30 January 2012 | Indonesia’s President continued to make the environment, or at least pledges to the environment, a central issue during his remaining time in office. This time, he’s pledged to set aside 45 percent of Kalimantan, the Indonesian territory on the island of Borneo, establishing stronger environmental regulations and pushing the extractive industries to become sustainable. That’s in addition to the “7/26 objectives” and last year’s moratorium. Critics have already pointed out that it will be difficult to adequately protect the land when the region is intended to become a coal and energy exporter, and that only 30 percent of the island is forested. As one commenter on the Jakarta Globe website remarked, “For the next 2 years, we will expect (the president) to give more of these over-committed illogical unreasonable promises… his mind is simply to do everything it takes to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations!”

Norway praises Tanzania stance on climate issues

By Sylivester Ernest, The Citizen, 30 January 2012 | Norway has commended the progress made by Tanzania and a decision by the government to integrate climate change and environment issues in its development plan. Norway, a chief investor in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Tanzania, said through its ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Ingunn Klepsivik, that it has been impressed by the work done by the national Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) programme. She, however, asked that more research be done and projects established especially in rural areas. To start with, she said, her country would be ready to support post-graduate students of climate change-related subjects at PhD and Masters levels at Mzumbe University, the University of Dar es Salaam and Sokoine University of Agriculture to build more experts in the area.

31 January 2012

Better Forest Data Lends Confidence to Carbon Markets

By Erica Giles, Forbes, 31 January 2012 | A study published in Nature Climate Change this week measured both the biomass of different types of tropical forests and the emissions lost via deforestation, providing more accurate data than was previously available, according to lead author Alessandro Baccini. That’s important for creating confidence in nascent carbon markets. Growing trees store carbon dioxide, but 13 million hectares, or 32 million acres, of forest are razed each year, accounting for a significant portion of annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to scientists. Tropical deforestation, in particular, releases as much as 1.1 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year. Some forest-rich countries are implementing programs to improve forest management and to help fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions from deforestation.

Rebel hero who has ‘betrayed’ the last of Aceh’s orang-utans

By Kathy Marks, The Independent, 31 January 2012 | When the former rebel leader Irwandi Yusuf became governor of Indonesia’s Aceh province, he proclaimed a “green vision” for the war-torn region. Aceh’s lush forests – still relatively pristine despite decades of civil conflict – would not be sacrificed for short-term profit, he promised. True to his word, he even chased down illegal loggers in his own jeep. But, five years on, Mr Irwandi has dismayed supporters by authorising the destruction of a peat swamp forest which is one of the last refuges of the critically endangered Sumatran orang-utan. The move breaches a presidential moratorium – part of an international deal to save Indonesia’s forests – as well as legislation protecting a conservation area where the Tripa swamp is located.

[Indonesia] Short-term drive for profit is behind this travesty

By Martin Hickman, The Independent, 31 January 2012 | Teeming with rare mammals, the Tripa swamp is an orangutan stronghold and vital carbon store in north-western Sumatra, an island larger than the UK whose natural wealth for decades has been relentlessly stripped by Indonesia’s corrupt rulers. Nearly half its forest was burnt or chainsawed between 1985 and 2007, proportionally more than neighbouring Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia and the more orderly Malaysia and Brunei. Environmentalists are especially displeased because these 4,000 acres sit within the Leuser Ecosystem, a theoretically highly protected national park, which is home to 91 per cent of the 6,624 surviving Sumatran orangutans… Ultimately, south-east Asia’s forests will only survive if they are worth more alive than dead. The UN’s REDD initiative, which pays owners to preserve their trees, is probably is their best hope, but REDD is short of international donations.

Salty soils drive Tanzanian farmers into forest reserve

By Kizito Makoye, AlertNet, 31 January 2012 | Thousands of farmers in Tanzania’s Rufiji Delta have been accused of destroying mangroves as they search for new land to grow their rice crops, which are being damaged by salt-water intrusion. The salt water, pushed inland by surging tides from the Indian Ocean, is damaging fields of rice seedlings. Farmers in several villages in the river basin, which sprawls across the east African nation’s southern half, have seen yields fall as a result. With thousands of hectares affected by saline intrusion, it is becoming harder for the inhabitants of Salale ward to earn a living from rice cultivation, which has been the mainstay of the local economy. “It is the poor who suffer,” said Henri Laswai, an agricultural expert at Sokoine University in Morogogo. He attributed the problem to worsening climate change impacts.

Tanzania: Forestry Director Seeks to Gazette Kigoma’s Masito-Ugalla Forest

By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Tanzania Daily Star, 31 January 2012 | One of the country’s largest natural forest reserve, Masito-Ugalla in Kigoma rural district which is threatened by charcoal and timber traders exporting to neighbouring countries, is not legally protected and now Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is seeking to gazette it. The 70,000 hectares natural reserve which spans across Kigoma and Rukwa regions is one of the several others which are not protected by law hence allowing loggers and corrupt forestry officials to cut down natural trees, causing degradation. “I have told Jane Goodall Institute to sensitize communities on the importance of protecting this huge natural forest which is very important to our country in addressing climate change,” Director of Forestry and Beekeeping at Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Felician Kilahama said in Bagamoyo during a seminar on climate change for lawmakers.

1 February 2012

Kyoto Protocol should be sincerely followed: India

Economic Times, 1 February 2012 | India today asked all countries to “adhere and sincerely follow” the Kyoto Protocol which recognises principles of common but differentiated responsibility in dealing with the challenge of climate change. Addressing the 9th World CEO Sustainability Summit organized by TERI here, he said “we have acknowledged the fact that countries across the world have different levels of development, have differing abilities in adopting mitigation and adaptation measures for climate change”. At the Durban Climate Conference in December last year, the countries had decided that the Kyoto Protocol would continue for another five years till 2017.

New meteorological theory argues that the world’s forests are rainmakers

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 1 February 2012 | First published in 2007 by two Russian physicists, Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva, the still little-known biotic pump theory postulates that forests are the driving force behind precipitation over land masses. Since the biotic pump turns modern meteorology on its head, it has faced stiff resistance from some meteorologists and journals. Meanwhile, it has received little attention in the public or policy-sphere. Yet if Gorshkov and Makarieva’s theory proves correct, it would have massive implications for global policy towards the world’s forests, both tropical and temperate.

African land grabs hinder sustainable development

By Anjali Nayar, Nature News & Comment, 1 February 2012 | A scramble to buy African land is threatening the continent’s sustainable development, according to reports launched today at the Royal Society in London. Of the 203 million hectares of land deals reported worldwide between 2000 and 20101, two-thirds were in Africa. The acquisitions are dispossessing millions of Africans of their land, to make way for expansive forestry and mineral projects and plantations, say a series of briefs2 and a report3 published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), an international coalition of groups working to increase community ownership of forests, based in Washington DC. The global report shows the scale of the issue as never before: three-quarters of Africa’s population and two-thirds of the landscape are at risk,” says Andy White, who coordinates the RRI.

[India] Meeting of Minister of State (IC) For Environment & Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan with Mr. Erik Solheim, Minister for Environment and International Development of the Kingdom of Norway

Ministry of Environment and Forests, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 1 February 2012 | Mr. Erik Solheim, Minister of Environment and International Development of Norway called on Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, the Minister for Environment and Forests in her office today. Mr. Solheim is visiting Delhi to participate in the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, being organized by TERI from 2-4 February, 2012. The two Ministers exchanged views on a range of issues relating to international cooperation on environmental protection, sustainable development, Rio+20 issues and REDD+ as well as some other important issues relating to bilateral cooperation. They discussed the preparations for the Conference on Bio-diversity (CBD11) being held in Hyderabad in India and the steps needed to make it a successful conference.

[Indonesia] Clear Land Borders, Or No Concessions

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti & Alina Musta’idah, Jakarta Globe, 1 February 2012 | Applicants for land concessions in Indonesia will soon be forced to clarify the boundaries of their land and show that there is no overlapping claims, the Forestry Ministry announced on Tuesday amid a recent eruption of violence linked to land disputes. Hadi Daryanto, the secretary general of the Forestry Ministry, said the government would revise a ministerial decree on the process to establish or extend working areas for forestry product concessions. “We will put the requirement for determination of the boundaries at the beginning of the process in the application for an IUPHHK,” Hadi said, referring to the permit for forest usage. He explained that as it stood now, the ministerial decree stated that determining the boundaries and making sure there were no other claims to any part of the area must be completed after the concession has been granted.

Mexico and U.S. Sign Technical Collaboration Agreement on Sustainability and Climate Change Through 2016

MarketWatch, 1 February 2012 | The following is being released today by Marca Pais – Imagen de Mexico: Mexico and the United States of America recently signed a Technical Collaboration Agreement on Sustainability and Climate Change. Through this Agreement, both nations will implement the Binational Cooperation Program of Climate Change Towards 2016 which represents an investment of nearly US$70 million to be utilized in the next five years. The Program will be led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Mexican Secretary of Environment and National Resources (Semarnat). Civilian organizations and the private sector will also be collaborating in the Program… The United Nations’ REDD+ Program: An effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.

REDD: Saving the Amazon rainforest

Simeon Tegel, GlobalPost, 1 February 2012 | International negotiators are closing in on a new solution for combating climate change — and saving the world’s remaining forests. Some 20 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions now come from deforestation, especially in the lush, green band of tropical rainforest that circles the earth. That is more than from global transport. So representatives from member states involved in UN climate negotiations are attempting to hammer out a way to make it more profitable to protect forests than destroy them. By providing cash for maintaining healthy forests, they hope to undermine the economic imperative for poor countries or individuals to cut down trees for timber, to free land for agriculture, or to make way for roads, housing and other infrastructure.

REDD: When carbon credits work in the Amazon

By Simeon Tegel, GlobalPost, 1 February 2012 | Sitting on the porch of his ramshackle wooden hut, shaded from the Amazonian sun by the thick rainforest canopy, Brazil nut collector Eleuterio Martin admits he has never heard of global warming. Yet Martin, 73, is now set to play his part in a groundbreaking new project that could become one of the most effective ways to curb rising global greenhouse gas emissions. He is one of hundreds of local people here in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, near the Bolivian border, who have teamed up with Bosques Amazonicos, a Lima-based company that plans to market carbon credits generated by protecting the rainforest on the land where they have government concessions to harvest Brazil nuts.

REDD: The Amazon’s carbon cowboys

By Simeon Tegel, GlobalPost, 1 February 2012 | In March, real-estate developer David John Nilsson, stopped in Iquitos on his way downriver to bid for the carbon rights of the Matses people’s forest. Nilsson is an Australian citizen based in Queensland, who says he has more than 30 years experience in the real-estate business in his home country and is a licensed estate agent and mortgage adviser. At the time when he met with the Matses, he was acting as the owner of Sustainable Carbon Resources, a Hong Kong-based company set up to market forest carbon offests. That company no longer exists, and Nilsson now operates under the company Amazon Holdings. The details of the encounter between Nilsson and the Matses remain unclear. But it prompted 30 angry Matses to turn up at the Iquitos office of the Defensoria del Pueblo, Peru’s statutory human-rights watchdog, to complain.

Tanzania: Norwegian Envoy Upbeat on UN Redd Payments in Post Kyoto Era

By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Tanzania Daily News, 1 February 2012 | Payments to communities which conserve their forests to help mitigate effects of global warming will become real next year when Kyoto Protocol expires and United Nations members agree on adopting Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiative. Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania, Ingunn Klepsvik told lawmakers in Bagamoyo last Friday that her country is supporting the UN initiative to compensate poor countries which support conservation of forests which help keep carbon dioxide in tree trunks. “Under REDD, it is envisaged that a country that reduces its rate of deforestation will be awarded financially,” Ms Klepsvik told members of parliament who formed Parliamentary Committees on Land, Housing and Natural Resources and that of Finance and Economic Affairs who were attending a seminar on climate change organized by Institute of Resources Assessment of University of Dar es Salaam.

2 February 2012

Buy or sell – Is there still a market for U.N. carbon permits?

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 2 February 2012 | U.N.-backed carbon permits were among the worst performing commodities in 2011 and trading volume fell more than 35 percent in January this year from December as the benchmark contract became very illiquid, renewing concerns about lack of demand. Prices for United Nations carbon credits, called certified emissions reductions (CERs), have sunk by more than 60 percent since January last year. In a poll by Reuters last month, carbon analysts cut price estimates for benchmark CERs in the first half of 2012 by over a quarter. Under the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism, countries and companies buy CERs to meet emissions caps agreed under the Kyoto Protocol, paying for cuts in developing country projects instead.

Environmental news – month in review: setbacks for the palm oil industry, climate outlook darkens

mongabay.com, 2 February 2012 | A comprehensive satellite-based assessment published in the journal Nature Climate Change estimated that the world’s tropical forests store some 229 billion tons of carbon in their vegetation — about 20 percent more than previously estimated. The findings could help improve the accuracy of reporting CO2 emissions reductions under the proposed REDD program, which aims to compensate tropical countries for cutting deforestation, forest degradation, and peatlands destruction. Brazilian mining giant Vale won the dubious distinction of being named “the world’s worst corporation” for its involvement in the controversial Belo Monte dam (construction also began in January). Vale was selected after an online vote organized by the Public Eye Awards. A review of scientific literature argued that selective logging of primary tropical forests is rarely sustainable ecologically or economically. The paper was published in journal Biological Conservation.

Forest conservation policies: what works and what doesn’t

By Jenny Marusiak, Eco-Business.com, 2 February 2012 | Policymakers looking to reduce deforestation in their countries have the right tools to do so today, but without a solid foundation in good governance and consistent policies, they will not be successful, said a prominent policy expert… A notable exception to that trend is Costa Rica. Its tropical forested area is roughly twice the size it was 20 years ago, when its government first implemented national policies on conservation. Speaking to Eco-Business in a recent interview, Conservation International (CI) conservation policy expert Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, who is also the former environment minister of Costa Rica, outlined some of the policy tools available today for reducing deforestation. “Countries around the world are losing forest at a high rate because the economics do not support conservation,” he said. Traditional policies such as strict regulation and law enforcement have not stopped deforestation, he added.

[Guyana] LCDS to receive support from Indian Research Institute

GINA, 2 February 2012 | Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) will soon benefit from implementation support through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Guyana and The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) headed by Dr. R.K Pachauri, Nobel Prize Laureate and Chairman of the Inter- Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Former President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo and Shyam Nokta from the Office of the President held discussions in Delhi with Dr. R.K Pachauri and TERI officials which will see Guyana receiving support from TERI in the implementation of its climate initiatives and the LCDS. Among the broad areas identified for assistance include support for long- term strategy development in the energy sector with focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency and establishing a partnership for the setting up of a Centre for Biodiversity Studies.

[Guyana] GRIF funds disbursement awaiting agreement on projects

By Chevon Singh, Guyana Chronicle, 2 February 2012 | The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) will not be available for disbursal until the Government of Guyana and its partners — the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) — have agreed on projects to be presented to the Steering Committee. Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon, made this pronouncement yesterday while fielding questions at his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President. “We have to continue working with our partner entities to ensure agreements can be made on project design and execution; and at that point, it will be placed before the Steering Committee… If this is not completed, then access to the funds to implement those projects would not be possible,” the Cabinet Secretary explained. The GRIF is a fund for financing activities identified under the Government of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

[Guyana] Cabinet approves finance to continue Amaila Falls access road

By Chevon Singh, Guyana Chronicle, 2 February 2012 | Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon has announced that Cabinet on Tuesday approved the provision of financial resources to continue work on the Amaila Falls access road. He was at the time speaking at his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President, where he explained that the resources earmarked for the continuation of the project, were to be used for the recruitment of contractors to complete the road works. The Cabinet Secretary said: “In essence, the provision of resources was intended to allow central government to acquire the services of a number of contractors, not one as before, but a number who would be able to assume responsibility for design and completion of their lots on the entire roadway from Linden to the site.”

Would tourists in Indonesia pay $500 to see orangutans?

CIFOR Forests Blog, 2 February 2012 | Twenty-two dollars in Indonesia buys a 90-minute boat ride to watch orangutans. In Rwanda, to catch a glimpse of a mountain gorilla costs $500 – and the tourists are lining up. Could Indonesia charge foreign tourists $500 to see its great apes? “When we started (gorilla) tourism in Rwanda, people were paying $50. Now we are at $500,” Antoine Mudakikwa from the Rwanda Development Board, told a workshop on great apes at the Center for International Forestry Research. “Countries like Indonesia with a lot of natural resources have the potential to learn a lot from a country like Rwanda.” Both orangutans and mountain gorillas are classified as endangered species. Some 57,000 orangutans live in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo. Mountain gorillas, which live in Central Africa, are thought to number only about 800.

Expert speaks out on impact of logging in PNG

Radio Australia, 2 February 2012 | William Laurance: There is a huge area of Papua New Guinea which has now been set aside for these SABLs. It’s about 5.5 million hectares, about 11% of the countries land area and one of the common concerns is that these SABLs which were supposed to be designed for larger scale agricultural development, in fact, in many cases are being exploited by timber companies as a back-door or insidious way of getting around existing forestry regulations trying to limit the impact of industrial logging in PNG. So there is a lot of concern about that. These SABLs could have a huge impact in Papua New Guinea on the environment, on forest cover, on carbon storage and of course greenhouse gases and it could also have very profound social impacts because these are very long term leases that are being controlled by the government.

3 February 2012

Collins, Costanza, Others Warn of Myopic Focus on Markets

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 February 2012 | Ecosystem markets have gained credence around the world – in part because of people like Robert Costanza, Adam Davis, and Sally Collins. After all, Costanza’s effort to put a number on the value of nature’s services sparked a debate that continues to this day, while Davis’s efforts to move beyond abstract valuations led to the founding of Ecosystem Marketplace, and Collins’s recognition of the economic threats to North American forests led to her appointment as the founding director of the US Department of Agriculture’s Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets… Time to Rethink? Costanza got the fire burning last October, with a post entitled Conventional markets are the wrong institutions for managing ecosystem services. “If we think of ecosystem services as part of ‘the commons’, we still can and should use economic incentives (fees and payments) to manage the commons,” he continued.

Increased Support for the “Livestock and Climate Change” hypothesis

By Keith Akers, Compassionate Spirit, 3 February 2012 | Livestock is not just an important factor, but the key factor driving climate change. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang put forward this idea in their 2009 WorldWatch article “Livestock and Climate Change,” and it is now receiving increased support and attention. In 2006, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations had said that livestock contribute about 18% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) — which isn’t anything to be sneezed at. But, actually, argue Goodland and Anhang, the real figure is even higher; at least 51% of all human-caused GHG emissions are due to livestock. More than half of all GHGs due to livestock? This totally changes the climate change debate. UNESCO described this as “what may be a large-scale paradigm shift” in the whole subject of dealing with climate change. The FAO has twice invited Robert Goodland to Europe to talk about their paper…

EU Biofuels Targets to Cost $166 Billion, Study Says

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 3 February 2012 | European Union policies to promote the use of biofuels for transportation will cost consumers as much as 126 billion euros ($166 billion) between now and 2020, two environmental groups said. The fuels, gasoline substitutes derived from plants, probably won’t cut greenhouse gases because forests are chopped down to make way for biofuel plantations, Friends of the Earth and ActionAid said today in an e-mailed statement. The European Commission said that while biofuels cost more than fossil fuels, it’s “reasonable” for motorists to pay extra. The EU aims to get 10 percent of its transport energy from biofuels, hydrogen and renewable power by 2020. The target aims to help cut the bloc’s emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels. The lobby groups said those goals will add a cumulative 94 billion euros to 126 billion euros just to fuel costs by 2020.

[Guyana] Amaila Falls road controversy… Luncheon insists Govt. owns seized equipment

Kaieteur News, 3 February 2012 | Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon yesterday told media operatives that he is aware of reports involving police altercations with controversial contractor Makeswhar ‘Fip’ Motilall but insists that the Government owns the seized equipment. Dr Luncheon, addressing reporters at his weekly media conference, said that Government forked out a significant sum of cash for the purchase of the equipment and in light of the developments involving the project, the Government contends that it owns the equipment. Dr Luncheon explained that Government had relied on the provisions in the contract with Synergy Holdings Inc, hence the seizure of the equipment. “I don’t believe that there is any question that Government has an absolute right, absolute ownership…because they expended funds to procure that equipment.”

Guyana highlights importance of REDD+ in Rio +20 discussions

GINA, 3 February 2012 | Guyana’s delegation, lead by the Hon. Robert Persaud, Minster of Natural Resources and the Environment, has been engaged in intense discussions at the 18th Meeting of Latin America and Caribbean Environmental Ministers, being held in Quito, Ecuador from January 31 to February 3, 2012. Representatives and Environmental Ministers from over 30 countries of the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) are also participating in the Forum. Discussions have been primarily focused on the exchange information and experiences of the LAC countries since the 1992 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the intention of crafting a joint Latin American and Caribbean vision for the upcoming Rio+20 follow-up Conference scheduled for June 2012.

Thailand: International Indigenous People’s Forum On Biodiversity (IIFB) Letter To Thai PM On Forced Relocation Of Indigenous Karen Peoples From Kaeng Krachan National Park

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 3 February 2012 | International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), on 15January 2012 has written a letter to the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Sinawatra regarding forced relocation of indigenous Karen peoples from Kaeng Krachan National Park leading to violation of their human rights. The letter states the harrassment of Karen villagers had been going for some time that came to a severe situation in May, June and July 2011, when many houses of the villagers and their rice stores were burned and money, jewelery, fishing and agricultural tools were stolen by a group composed of National Park wardens and military forces. As a result, some of the people had to move away and are now staying with relatives in other villages and a number of them (allegedly approximately 70 people) are hiding in the forest in a state of fear of meeting government officers: they are without sufficient food and shelter.

4 February 2012

Political Risk Cover for Private Equity Funds Launched

By Nnamdi Duru with Agency Report, This Day Live, 4 February 2012 | Foreign and local investors who are usually worried about the future of their investments in Africa due to political and social instability in the continent now can now heave a sigh of relief. OPIC’s President, Ms. Elizabeth Littlefield said: “For example, OPIC is developing insurance products for the renewable resources sector, specifically to protect investors against a government’s change in the feed-in tariff that the investor has relied upon to structure its project; and to cover investment in forestry projects, including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects.” The insurance product is an attempt to boost investment by reducing risk. With the risks toned down, OPIC argues, fund managers who take up the insurance could accelerate their capital-raising cycles for investment funds.

5 February 2012

[Guyana] Govt. resists disclosing Sithe Global Hydro-power contract

Kaieteur News, 5 February 2012 | Bruce Wrobel, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sithe Global, the developers contracted by the Guyana Government for the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Plant has said that he is willing to provide the Guyanese public with a copy of the contract for perusal to increase Transparency but Prime Minister Samuel Hinds says ‘not so fast.’ Hinds recently baffled reporters when he said that the Government has always been willing to and has provided information on the project, but as it relates to contract, Guyanese will have to wait until there is financial closure. Financial closure for the project has been elusive for several years now with the newest deadline set as June and hinges on the Inter-American Development Bank. This agreement with the Guyana Government and Sithe Global was inked five years ago.

[Guyana] IDB gives blessing to LCDS institutional strengthening project

Guyana Chronicle, 5 February 2012 | The Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) gave its final nod of approval Wednesday for the execution of the Institutional Strengthening Project for Guyana’s Low-Carbon Development Strategy initiative. According to a release from the Office of the President, under whose purview the initiative falls, the IDB’s approval paves the way for all remaining funds, totalling US$5.94 million, to flow directly to Guyana from the GRIF for full implementation. An initial sum of US1.06 million dollars of the total US$7 million project cost was released directly to Guyana from Norway last year for preparatory work to be undertaken. The project, which gained the approval of the GRIF Steering Committee on November 2, 2011, will mark the first in a series of LCDS projects submitted to the GRIF to receive approval from the IDB, which is serving as one of the partner entities to the GRIF.


PHOTO Credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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