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REDD in the news: 5-11 November 2012

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REDD in the news: 5-11 November 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 is updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

Unlocking National Opportunities: New Insights on Financing Sustainable Forest and Land Management

By FAO, Tropenbos International, the Global Mechanism (GM), the National Forest Programme (NFP) Facility, and ITTO, 2012 | This publication offers a guidance on SFM and SLM Financing Strategy and outlines a six-step process for mobilizing financial resources for sustainable forest management (SFM) and sustainable land management (SLM). It draws on experiences in more than 80 countries and includes case studies from Guatemala, Jordan, Peru and Zambia to illustrate its findings. The brochure finds that there is more in-country money for SFM and SLM than is typically accessed, especially when considering private investments and informal financing. As such, the main challenge is in building the capacity to access and make efficient use of existing resources. This capacity can be built through enabling investments in governance, institutional and local capacity, the brochure argues.

What constitutes a “fair share of the pie”?

Profor, 2012 | On September 27, 2012, during World Forest Week, PROFOR and FAO co-organized a panel discussion entitled “A Fair Share of the Pie,” which brought together experts looking at the issue of benefit sharing. The session provided an opportunity to discuss and share ideas about ways of establishing partnerships and effective benefit sharing arrangements. It presented insights on how to share benefits and create incentives for REDD+ and sustainable forest management through partnerships involving communities and the public and private sectors.

Guyana REDD-Plus Investment Fund (GRIF)

Frankfurt School and UNEP Centre, November 2012 | In 2009 the Governments of Guyana and Norway signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a Joint Concept Note pledging that the countries will “work together to provide the world with a relevant, replicable model for how REDD+ can align the development objectives of forest countries with the world’s need to combat climate change.” The result of this cooperation is the Guyana REDD-Plus Investment Fund (GRIF). The GRIF works to align national economic development with climate resilience and low-deforestation, low carbon growth by investing in low-carbon strategies identified in Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. It channels funding and offers economic incentives to a wide range of actors to enhance national government policy frameworks and economic incentives for combating climate change. This case study provides an overview of Guyana’s macroeconomic situation and the evolution of climate change policy with a special focus on REDD+.

The political context of REDD+ in Indonesia: Constituencies for change

By Cecilia Luttrell, Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo, Efrian Muharrom, Maria Brockhaus, Frances Seymour, Environmental Science & Policy, November 2012 | The political context in Indonesia will affect the success of any reform process aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Such reforms require strong political support because of their potentially significant medium-term impact on winners and losers in the Indonesian economy. Although REDD+ in Indonesia has strong rhetorical presidential backing, analysis of the political system suggests that such support may not be sufficient without the engagement and ownership of key players such as the parliament and the bureaucracy. Not only is the president’s official power curtailed by the formal political system, but the nature of coalition politics in Indonesia further weakens his ability to implement reforms.

Promoting and implementing REDD+ safeguards at national level in East Africa

By David Mwayafu and James Kisekka, REDD-net, November 2012 | This paper reviews the state of play on safeguard regulations of a range of international institutions, the status of national policy frameworks in East Africa tosupport a safeguard implementation and insights into making safeguards work from a practitioner level in East Africa. This analysis of the existing policy and legal framework suggests that REDD+ social and environmental safeguards are not an entirely new issue in East Africa. However, some key gaps exist, as well as weaknesses in implementation, which need to be addressed. The paper reviews the safeguards provisons of the World Bank, UNFCCC and CCB. It also reviews national legislation in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda before suggesting a way forwards for safeguard development in East Africa…

REDD+ and market: Any lessons to be learned from voluntary carbon markets?

UN-REDD, November 2012 | The recent briefing note by the Rainforest Foundation, explores potential risks and issues associated with an international forest carbon market. They draw on the lessons from the forestry VCM and extrapolate how these lessons may pose risks for a REDD+ mechanism that relies on market transactions. As highlighted by the briefing note, the forestry VCM has been affected by the current global financial instability because it relies on a similar trading infrastructure as commodities markets, for which lack of regulation has been so damaging. Investment has dipped, along with prices, and actors in the VCM have become aware of the risk of holding carbon credits that no one wants to buy. Demand has grown for VCM projects accredited to robust standards. Transactions in a REDD+ mechanism, however, will be tightly regulated from the start, due to the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) requirements…

The challenge of solidifying safeguards in REDD+

By Urs Dieterich, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, November 2012 | Researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of East Anglia have recently published an analysis in Environmental Science & Policy that examines the different actors and their priorities in the field of REDD+. In their research, the authors consider two multi-lateral funding programs, two private certification schemes, and a combined public/private initiative. They find that REDD+ has so far been implemented in ways that allow for different emphasis on carbon and non-carbon values, enabling a wide range of actors with different areas of interest to interpret and launch REDD+ activities according to their own priorities. The first years of REDD+ have shown that, where private investors or donor governments are involved, the primary focus has been on carbon and risk mitigation. Non-carbon values, on the other hand, have been more strongly prioritized by NGO actors.

Designing Effective REDD+ Safeguard Information Systems: Building on existing systems and country experiences (Policy Paper)

By Jessica Boyle and Deborah Murphy, IISD, 2012 | A key determinant of REDD+ success will be the continued development and implementation of safeguards. An important element of REDD+ safeguards is systems for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected. Effective systems to share information will help promote transparency, guard against unintended social and environmental harms, and provide information on the impact of REDD+ actions. A decision of the 17th Conference of the Parties in Durban in 2011 agreed on broad provisions for guidance, including that safeguard information systems (SIS) “build upon existing systems, as appropriate.” IISD and the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins have explored how existing systems and country experiences can be built on to develop a REDD+ SIS under the three-year initiative, Building REDD+ Policy Capacity for Developing Country Negotiators and Land Managers, supported by Norad.

5 November 2012

As forest carbon credit market grows, REDD fails to keep pace, finds report

mongabay.com, 5 November 2012 | Forest carbon credits reached a record market value in 2011, but the market for credits generated under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism fell sharply, as new projects were slower-than-expected to develop and faced political and economic headwinds, reports a new assessment of the global forest carbon market published by Ecosystem Marketplace. The report, titled Leveraging the Landscape: State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2012, tracked transactions in the forest carbon market, which includes credits generated through four types of projects: REDD, afforestation/reforestation (A/R), Improved Forest Management (IFM), and Sustainable Agricultural Land Use (SALM). Carbon credits are generally used to “offset” greenhouse gas emissions, either on a voluntary basis or under regulatory frameworks.

Meeting of the Forest Investment Program Pilot Countries and Associates in Istanbul

UN Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia, 5 November 2012 | The Forest Investment Program (FIP), a project of the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) is working in collaboration with FCPF and UN-REDD to create national forest investment plans consistent with the programming priorities and the objective to “initiate and facilitate transformational change in developing countries’ forest related policies and practices”. The collaboration of FIP with the Indonesian Government was established in 2010, Indonesia in continuation was becoming one of the pilot countries for FIP. If all conditions are met, FIP prospects a funding resource envelope of about 70 million USD and an additional complementary grant pool of about $6.5 million through the FIP Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Indonesia. The latest meeting provided an update on the progress of investment planning in the pilot countries.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 5 November 2012 | Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace is pleased to announce the launch of Leveraging the Landscape: State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2012. The report is now freely available for download here! We also invite you to join us for the November 13th London launch of report findings, hosted by Face the Future and Climate Change Capital at CCC’s London offices. RSVP by November 9th to Ecosystem Marketplace’s Selene Castillo. The event – including panelists from Ecosystem Marketplace, Face the Future, Climate Change Capital, Althelia Ecosphere and the UK Forestry Commission, will run from 4:30-6:00PM, followed by reception. In 2011, forest carbon project developers reported the highest overall value ever attributed to the global marketplace for forestry offsets – totaling $237 million. While values increased 33%, transaction volumes declined 22% from 2010 record volumes to 26 MtCO2e transacted in 2011.

James Hansen on communicating climate change

By James Hansen, Eco-Business.com, 5 November 2012 | Climate scientist and campaigner James Hansen has enlisted the help of his grandaughter Sophie to bring the climate change story to the masses in a way that is readable and jargon-free. The following is an excerpt from an explanatory letter to her, entitled Butterfly Report + Jeremiah, the Frog. Climate is changing. The world is slowly getting warmer. We know that the main reason is air pollution from burning of coal, oil and gas, the sources of most of our energy. Unfortunately, when this global warming story is presented to the public it almost always comes out as a “gloom and doom” story. You will see from my future letters that I do not agree with that. The picture for the future is actually very bright, if the necessary people wake up to the situation soon.

RECOFTC to Develop New Research Sites Together with the International Forestry Resources and Institutions

RECOFTC, 5 November 2012 | Dr. Tint Lwin Thaung, Executive Director of RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, and Dr. Arun Agarwal of the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) based at the University of Michigan, USA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for RECOFTC to join the IFRI network as the 14th Collaborating Research Center (CRC), the other 13 of which are located all around the globe. IFRI was initiated in 1992 at the University of Indiana under the guidance of the late 2009 Noble Prize for Economics winner, Elinor Ostrom, to examine how governance arrangements shape forest outcomes, through a better understanding of the role of formal and informal institutions in enhancing livelihoods and adaptive capacity of peoples, conserving biodiversity, and promoting greater sustainability in carbon sequestration. Since 2006 IFRI has been housed at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.

Don’t Miss the Forest for the Trees: Deforestation and Sustainable Finance

Just Means, 5 November 2012 | The overall trend involves a simple inverse proportion: As the human population increases, forests decrease. And since the human population continues to skyrocket to reach an eventual 9 billion people by the year 2050, how humanity manages the world’s remaining forests is absolutely critical if true sustainable development is to be made a reality. Now, there is a new tool to help: The Little Forest Finance Book, which highlights ways to increase forest-friendly sustainable finance. Officially launched last month at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, in Hyderabad, India, and produced by the Oxford, UK-based forest protection think-tank Global Canopy Programme (GCP), the book is being billed as “a reference for decision makers and project stakeholders within governments, NGOs, the private sector, and forest communities who want to understand where forest finance can be raised…

[Honduras] Up in Smoke part 1: the beginning of the end for slash-and-burn farming? – video

By Notion Pictures/Oxfam, The Guardian, 5 November 2012 | This series looks at the devastating consequences to the Honduran rainforest of slash-and-burn farming, and the science that impels its continuation. In the first of a three-part series of short films based around the documentary Up In Smoke, farmers are presented with a unique method to help stop and reverse it. [R-M: Series of three videos, based on a documentary “Up in Smoke” – available here: http://bit.ly/Q5RFsZ]

Cost of deforestation in Kenya far exceeds gains from forestry and logging, UN joint study finds

United Nations News Centre, 5 November 2012 | A landmark study of Kenya’s high-elevation forests shows that the economic cost of deforestation in the East African country exceeds national gains from forestry and logging by more than four-to-one, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said today. “Deforestation deprived Kenya’s economy of 5.8 billion shillings ($68 million) in 2010 and 6.6 billion shillings in 2009, far outstripping the roughly 1.3 billion shillings injected from forestry and logging each year,” according to a UNEP news release on the joint UNEP-Kenya Forest Service (KFS) study. The economic impact of Kenya’s five montane forests – called ‘water towers’ as these forests store water during the rainy season and release it slowly, thus ensuring water flow during dry periods – are assessed in the study, entitled The Role and Contribution of Montane Forests and Related Ecosystem Services to the Kenyan Economy.

Encourage commercial logging to grow Kenya’s forest cover – report

By Katy Migiro, AlertNet, 5 November 2012 | Kenya should encourage private businesses to grow trees for charcoal and timber to increase its forest cover rather than relying on the rehabilitation of indigenous forests, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) said on Monday… [David] Mbugua [head of the Kenya Forest Service] was speaking at the launch of a joint UNEP and KFS report which shows that deforestation cost Kenya $68 million in 2010, largely through reduced water supply for irrigation agriculture and hydropower generation. This is four times the amount earned by the illegal loggers… The report’s coordinator, Thierry De Oliveira, was critical of the U.N.’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) + initiative, which pays communities to conserve trees. It pays $6 per ton, far less than the $20 per ton earned through the sale of timber.

District-Level Consultative Workshops in Pakistan under ICIMOD’s REDD+ Project

ICIMOD, 5 November 2012 | The ICIMOD office in Pakistan and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan organized two district-level workshops to consult with communities and other related stakeholders as a part of the ongoing REDD+ project, which is currently in the preparedness phase in Pakistan. The first workshop, Existing and Potential Approaches to Address Deforestation and Forest Degradation in AJK, was held in Mazaffarabad, Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) on 18 October. Dr Shafique-ur-Rehman, Conservator of Forests and the REDD+ focal person for AJK, presented on different types of forests in AJK and related issues in AJK. Participants in the workshop – including representatives from forest communities, the timber trade association, civil society organizations, officials from various government departments and UNDP, and locally elected political representatives – provided valuable feedback during the group work session.

[PNG] Conservation Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) Bill is a Scapegoat!

PNGexposed Blog, 5 November 2012 | CEPA is a scapegoat!! It is a carefully scheme strategized by a well-organised network to suck public money. Under the management of Dr Wari Iamo as the Secretary, with his smooth talking PR spin-doctor, Gunther Joku (current acting Secretary), and their Australian friend and strategist Andrew Taplin, along with close aids and cronies, this clique has successful enacted their grand plan. The CEPA Bill!! It is common knowledge within the department that more than K3 million has been spent on this unbudgeted project. CEPA Project was never budgeted for in the 2011 fiscal year! The money was raised internally by transferring money from one account to another especially from the funds allocated under developmental (PIP) budgets, projects undertaken through joint-bilateral agreements like Kokoda Track Initiatives and Coral Triangle Initiatives (CTI), and further purged from the recurrent budgets.

Outcome of U.S. election likely to impact climate negotiations in Doha, says negotiator

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 November 2012 | Negotiators preparing to fly to Doha later this month for the next round of U.N. climate change talks will have a close eye on the outcome of the U.S. elections tomorrow, said Tony La Viña, a lead negotiator for the Philippines. “Everyone knows that this election will make a lot of difference to the future of international climate change agreements,” said La Viña, negotiator for the Philippines and REDD+ facilitator at the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties 18 (UNFCCC COP18). Both the Democrat and the Republican parties have come under recent criticism for the scant mention of climate change in the presidential campaign. And without the backing of the future U.S. administration, major players from both developing and developed countries could choose to opt out of negotiations at Doha, said La Viña.

6 November 2012

Cambodia’s First Community Forest Management Plan Gives More Legal & Technical Support for Communities to Sustainably Manage their Community Forest

RECOFTC, 6 November 2012 | Cambodia reached a significant milestone in community forestry (CF) development when the Forestry Administration (FA) officially approved the country’s first ever community forest management plan since the issuance of the community forestry guidelines (Prakas) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in 2006. Trapeang Roung Community Forest, in Kampong Thom Province, consisting of three villages of 502 families, made history when the Chief of FA for the Cantonment of Kampong Thom made the announcement in the presence of the visiting EU ambassador, H.E. Jean-François Cautain, on October 8th, 2012.

China, less impact by CO2 may explain slowing in warming

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 6 November 2012 | Sun-dimming industrial pollution in China or signs that greenhouse gases trap less heat in the atmosphere than expected may help explain an apparent slowdown in global warming since 2000, experts say. About 200 nations have set a goal of limiting warming to below 2 degrees C (3.6F) over pre-industrial times and determining the pace of climate change is vital to plan billion-dollar investments to shift from fossil fuels to greener energy. Most climate scientists acknowledge an “apparent slowdown” since 2000, after fast warming in the 1990s, but say the long-term trend is up. So far, 2012 is the eighth warmest year in records back to the mid-19th century, according to U.S. data.

Strong deforestation signals from Central and West Africa in July, August, and September 2012

mongabay.com, 6 November 2012 | NASA satellites picked up signals of potential deforestation across extensive parts of Latin America, West and Central Africa, and Southeast Asia between July 1 and September 30, according to the latest update on Mongabay.com’s Global Forest Disturbance Alert System (GloF-DAS). In Latin America areas with a particularly large number of potential deforestation signals include the Pacific coast regions of Colombia and Ecuador, Southern Venezuela, Bolivia’s Chaco, and the Brazilian state of Par´. In Asia, Myanmar and Indonesian Borneo showed signs of significant deforestation; while in Africa, forest change signals were concentrated in West and Central Africa, particularly Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

[Guyana] Nothing as claimed is moving full speed ahead with the Amaila hydro project

By Charles Sohan, Letter to the editor Stabroek News, 6 November 2012 | As reported in SN of October 31, the Government stated that “preparations for construction of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) are moving full steam ahead with steps being taken to procure key services.” The progress made thus far suggests otherwise as key benchmarks are yet to materialize. Financial closure, the key element to get this project started is still in the doldrums. Earlier this year the Government stated that a significant loan would have been made available by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in July but this date was later changed to September. With no firm financial commitment by the IDB in sight, Sithe Global, AFHP Financial Coordinator expressed concern that without a substantial financial component from the IDB financial closure of the AFHP will be difficult to achieve.

Indonesia lauded for laying REDD groundwork: Next step, true forestry management reform

By Rachel Rivera, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 November 2012 | Though Indonesia gets high marks for addressing governance challenges that affect the forestry sector, many of which are linked to the structure of the economy and its dependence on the extraction of natural resources, a new study points to key obstacles that will have to be tackled to advance a U.N.-backed scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation. The report examines Indonesia’s development of the scheme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) over the past five years — from 2007 when the concept first gained traction at the Bali climate change conference, until 2011 when Indonesia began developing an institutional framework for implementing a national REDD+ program. State-owned forest area accounts for more than 70 percent (an estimated 130 million hectares) of Indonesia’s entire land cover.

[Indonesia] Over 100,000 farmers squatting in Sumatran park to grow coffee

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 6 November 2012 | Sumatra’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park—home to the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos, tigers, and elephants—has become overrun with coffee farmers, loggers, and opportunists according to a new paper in Conservation and Society. An issue facing the park for decades, the study attempted for the first time to determine the number of squatters either living in or farming off Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the rough census—over 100,000 people—shocked scientists. “In some parts of the Park the squatters are so numerous that the area looks more like a Javanese countryside,” lead author Patrice Levang with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) told mongabay.com. “Another surprise was the large number of farmers living outside the Park and farming inside.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Calls for Urgent Scaling up of Climate Finance to Developing Countries

The Financial, 6 November 2012 | The US$ 7.2 billion Climate Investment Funds wrapped up week-long meetings here with over US$ 500 million in financing allocated by the Trust Fund Committees and Sub-Committees for building climate resilience and disaster preparedness, REDD+, and clean technologies in developing countries. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan addressed the multi-stakeholder CIF Partnership Forum this morning to kick off two days of knowledge exchange following the governing body meetings. “Financial resources need to be scaled up immediately and substantially to support mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries. Time is ticking away… we should not let the battle against climate change stand still,” he urged in his video statement.

7 November 2012

REDD: Greening the market or marketing nature?

By Rini Astuti, Jakarta Post, 7 November 2012 | When talking about nature, economists and conservationists used to speak different languages and conceptions. The former would emphasize on how humans can maximize the extraction of resources that nature is offering, while the latter would focus on how humans have to protect nature from overexploitation. Recently, the demarcation between the two groups somehow started to vanish with the emergence of an idea to put price tags on nature. Conservationists have started to apply business terms in their messages. Meanwhile, economists have begun to explore opportunities to profit while at the same time saving nature. We can see the beginning of a new coalition between the two traditional adversaries… In the era of climate crisis, REDD+ is perceived by many as a “low-hanging fruit”, offering a cheap and quick mitigation mechanism. The seductive image of REDD+ as a win-win solution, embracing forest protection and improving livelihoods…

Former UN official says climate report will shock nations into action

By Peter Hannam, WAtoday.com.au, 7 November 2012 | The next United Nations climate report will “scare the wits out of everyone” and should provide the impetus needed for the world to finally sign an agreement to tackle global warming, the former head of the UN negotiations said. Yvo de Boer, the UN climate chief during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks, said his conversations with scientists working on the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested the findings would be shocking. “That report is going to scare the wits out of everyone,” Mr de Boer said in the only scheduled interview of his visit to Australia. “I’m confident those scientific findings will create new political momentum.” The IPCC’s fifth assessment report is due to be published in late 2013 and early 2014.

UN CER Carbon Offset Daily Supply Increases by Most Since May

By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 7 November 2012 | The United Nations issued the most Certified Emission Reduction carbon offsets in more than six months, according to UN data compiled by Bloomberg. The executive board of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, the body responsible for regulating CERs, delivered more than 6.3 million metric tons of credits to the market today, the UN data show. That’s an increase of 1.7 percent from yesterday and the biggest issuance in a single day since May 2. CERs for December fell as much as 7.3 percent to 1.01 euros ($1.30) a ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe, and were at 1.06 euros at 10:26 a.m.

Amazonas Florestal, Ltd., Sustainable Forest Management Company, Issues First Annual CEO Letter to Shareholders

Amazonas Florestal, 7 November 2012 | Amazonas Florestal, Ltd. (OTCPK: AZFL), a diversified forest management company generating profit through innovative, sustainable forest management, today released a letter from President & CEO Michael Ibar to its shareholders… Timber harvests, wood product production, and clean energy generation provide economic sustainability and stability through the jobs and incomes they provide to the local inhabitants and the revenues they provide to the owners of the forest land. These revenues can then be used to conserve, quantify, monitor, and avoid the devastating deforestation occurring in these regions. In turn, this conservation is monetized through Carbon Credits. The value and mechanisms within these Carbon Credit programs exist to further enhance the sustainability of the entire forest ecosystem.

Australia Promotes Carbon Market With First Trading Licenses

By Mike Anderson, Bloomberg, 7 November 2012 | Australia’s Securities and Investments Commission granted the first 11 licenses to trade emission permits in Australia, a sign that a carbon market is taking shape despite a political threat to end the program. “A market is beginning to develop, premised on the steady flow of issuance of carbon units,” Craig McBurnie, a senior specialist for the commission, said today at the Carbon Expo in Melbourne. Australia began charging about 300 of its largest emitters a price of A$23 ($24) a metric ton for their greenhouse gas emissions on July 1. While the nation already has started to issue permits under a provision to give them at no cost to companies that can show they are exposed to global competition, Australia’s cap-and-trade system isn’t scheduled to start until 2015, and the program’s future is in doubt because the Liberal party has pledged to discontinue it if it wins elections set for next year.

Earth’s most threatened tribe make unprecedented visit to Brazil’s capital

Survival International, 7 November 2012 | Fifteen members of Earth’s most threatened tribe have made an unprecedented visit to Brazil’s capital to urge the government to evict illegal invaders and protect their land. The Awá’s three-day journey took them from the relative isolation of their forest homes in Maranhão state, on a 2,000 kilometre bus journey to the center of Brasilia. For the majority, it is the first time they have ever been to the capital city. The Awá made the long journey to confront government officials after direct appeals for help, including an international campaign by Survival International that has so far generated more than 41,000 protest emails, were repeatedly ignored. On Tuesday, the Indians protested outside Brazil’s Ministry of Justice, the body ultimately responsible for putting a stop to the alarming destruction of their land. They had been due to meet the Minister, but the talks were cancelled.

Interactive atlas aims to improve Cameroon’s forest governance

By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame, AlertNet, 7 November 2012 | The Cameroon government, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI) has published an updated interactive atlas to help monitor the country’s vast woodlands, which cover over 60 percent of its territory. The third edition of the Interactive Forest Atlas is a comprehensive system of computerized and paper documentation to help authorities monitor activities within forested areas. Authorities say that the new edition’s innovations will reinforce forest governance and make it more effective. Cameroon’s forests play a vital role in the country’s economy and its livelihoods, and their protection is crucial in the global fight against climate change. The designers of the new atlas say that until now the country lacked a comprehensive information system to monitor and manage its forests, one reason why policies to manage and protect it have not been very effective.

[Indonesia] Insight: Yudhoyono’s robust response to climate change

By Wimar Witoelar, Jakarta Post, 7 November 2012 | Now in Indonesia, climate change confronts the polity. In November 2009, the world was impressed by President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono’s commitment to a 41 percent carbon emissions reduction for Indonesia before 2020, with the international community supporting Indonesia. In May 2011, a friendly government responded by pledging US$1 billion to a three-phase support process and a number of related assistance programs was initiated by bilateral donors. These efforts are linked to the international effort to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation” (REDD+). It was a fine start. Now the need centers on the creation of a “robust” REDD+ agency, as agreed in Phase 1 of the Indonesia-Norway partnership. A draft has been prepared for President Yudhoyono. It is important to keep the current draft robust and not allow it to be significantly watered down.

[New Zealand] ETS Losses Confirmed – Groser Has Explaining To Do

Sustainable Council press release, 7 November 2012 | New documents confirm the ETS has been a net loser for the taxpayer and that the government faces a big deficit in its carbon accounts, contrary to the Climate Change Minister’s denial. Documents also show that Tim Groser and two other ministers are so keen to play down this inconvenient truth that they requested officials to consider whether the ETS accounts could be changed so that such losses would not form part of the government’s financial statements in future. Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Committee sought updated figures on the ETS as part of its consideration of a Bill that would all but gut the scheme. These updated estimates were requested following a Sustainability Council submission that urged the committee to obtain them.

[USA] EDF Congratulates the President on Re-Election Amid Increased Need for Climate Action

By Shira Silver, EDF, 7 November 2012 | EDF would like to congratulate President Obama on his re-election. In the wake of super storm Sandy and with the election campaigns behind us, it is more important than ever for the president and elected officials to address the increasing threats from climate change, a pivotal issue of our time. In a statement, EDF President Fred Krupp said: “Congratulations to President Obama on his re-election to a second term, and to all of those who will be serving in the 113th Congress. We look forward to working with them to solve our country’s most pressing environmental problems, including global climate change. As the President declared last night, ‘we want our children to live in an America … that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.’”

[USA] Obama May Levy Carbon Tax to Cut the U.S. Deficit, HSBC Says

By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 7 November 2012 | Barack Obama may consider introducing a tax on carbon emissions to help cut the U.S. budget deficit after winning a second term as president, according to HSBC Holdings Plc. A carbon tax starting at $20 a ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and rising at about 6 percent a year could raise $154 billion by 2021, Nick Robins, an analyst at the bank in London, said today in an e-mailed research note, citing Congressional Research Service estimates. “Applied to the Congressional Budget Office’s 2012 baseline, this would halve the fiscal deficit by 2022,” Robins said.

8 November 2012

Climate change ‘likely to be more severe than some models predict’

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 8 November 2012 | Climate change is likely to be more severe than some models have implied, according to a new study which ratchets up the possible temperature rises and subsequent climatic impacts. The analysis by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found that climate model projections showing a greater rise in global temperature were likely to be more accurate than those showing a smaller rise. This means not only a higher level of warming, but also that the resulting problems – including floods, droughts, sea level rise and fiercer storms and other extreme weather – would be correspondingly more severe and would come sooner than expected.

Tenure and cost of REDD+: An Interface

By Bishowamber Khadka (Wageningen University), ResearchGate, 8 November 2012 | Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation comes at cost, since forest conservation implies opportunity cost. It is the value of the next best alternatives when choice is to be made. Along with the advent of REDD+ there is a time to make a choice: Conserving forest or continuing deforestation. REDD+ – PES mechanism incentivize the forest owners, who otherwise deforest, to conserve forest. Insecure Tenure is considered as a biggest challange of forest conservation. I am interested to know to what extent the tenure arrangements impact the costs of REDD+? Followed by a question, to what extent economists have considered the tenure issue while calculating the opportunity costs of REDD+?

With 3D maps, villagers able to see benefits of good land use planning

By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 November 2012 | Scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research have devised a new tool that could make it easier for village communities to plan future changes in how their landscape is used. By placing a 3D map complete with familiar landmarks in the middle of a table and asking residents what they’d do as the developer, conservationist or village leader, it suddenly becomes much easier to incorporate local views. A role-playing tool, called ‘PLUP Fiction’ (PLUP stand for participatory land use planning) helps them see the long-term advantages of careful management and how they themselves will actually benefit, said Jean-Christophe Castella, one of the researchers. When villagers are left out of the process, he added, plans too often end up being abandoned and forgotten.

Australia’s Biggest Carbon Developer to Start Trading EU Permits

By Mike Anderson, Bloomberg, 8 November 2012 | Climate Bridge, Australia’s largest developer of emission credits under the Clean Development Mechanism, will start a trading business focused on permits from Europe and other international markets. The Melbourne-based company is one of the first 11 to get the Australian Financial Services License that will be required starting next year to offer clients trading or advice on emission permits. Climate Bridge’s new business will help Australian customers execute spot trades as well as futures and options contracts for European Union allowances and so-called Certified Emission Reduction from the CDM system, according to Chief Executive Officer Alex Wyatt. “From 2015, Australian companies will be able to use international carbon units to cover up to 50 percent of their emissions liability,” Wyatt said. “They need access to European markets to do this.”

Foreign loggers and corrupt officials flouting logging moratorium in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 8 November 2012 | In 2002 the Democratic Republic of Congo announced a moratorium on commercial logging in a bid to save rapidly falling forests, however a new report by Global Witness alleges that industrial loggers are finding away around the logging freeze. Through unscrupulous officials, foreign companies are abusing artisanal permits—meant for local community logging—to clear-cut wide swathes of tropical forest in the country. These logging companies are often targeting an endangered tree—wenge (Millettia laurentii)—largely for buyers in China and Europe. “The door to Congo’s forests has been shut to new industrial loggers, but they are coming straight in through the window,” Colin Robertson, Forest Campaigner at Global Witness said in a press release. “The artisanal permits are meant for small-scale logging by Congolese communities looking to improve their livelihoods. Instead they have been hijacked by companies who want to strip the forest…”

[Ghana] REDD+ Financing Efforts Leave Pilot Projects In Limbo

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 November 2012 | REDD+, he realized, would provide only small amounts of income for the community around Kudom’s forest – far less over time than, say, beekeeping – but it may be enough to help him get other community projects off the ground. The problem, however, was scale: less than 5,000 of Kudom’s 8,000 hectares were forested, and only part of that would ever qualify for REDD. Given the complex accounting mechanisms he had just learned of, that was just too small a piece of land to even contemplate turning into a viable REDD project. “Most project developers won’t talk to you if you have less than 200,000 hectares, and the bare minimum is 30,000,” says Addaquay. “We needed to scale up if we were to have a chance.” He knew that he wasn’t alone. After all, most sub-Saharan landowners have small parcels, and many of them were also talking about REDD+.

Honduras forest workshop brings together government and indigenous people

By Ugo Ribet, Hotair, 8 November 2012 | On the 29 and 30 of October 2012, the Climate and Forest’s Latin America team held ClientEarth’s second workshop in Latin America. The two-day workshop, titled ‘Advancing stakeholder participation and building capacities for REDD+ in Honduras and Guatemala’, was held in partnership with the Central American Commission for the Environment and funded by the International Tropical Timber Organisation. The event hosted in Tegucigalpa included participants representing government (with the participation of the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources and the Vice-Minister for Indigenous Peoples), civil society, forest communities, indigenous peoples (with the participation of the president of the Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH) and international organisations.

[India] Country’s first ‘REDD plus project preparedness’ workshop at Bhopal

khojkhabarnews.com, 8 November 2012 | Forest Minister Mr Sartaj Singh will inaugurate India’s first ‘REDD Plus Project Preparedness’ regional workshop at Hotel Amer Green here on November 8 at 4.30 pm. Madhya Pradesh Forest Development Corporation Chairman Mr Guru Prasad Sharma will preside over the workshop being organised jointly by Governments of India and Madhya Pradesh, Indian Forest Management Institute and The Energy Resources Institute while Madhya Pradesh Laghu Vanopaj Sangh Chairman Mr Vishwas Sarang will be the special guest. Workshop’s first technical session will be held on November 9 from 9 am to 1.30 pm and the second technical session from 2.30 to 4.45 pm. Under REDD Plus Project, project proposals of Joint Forest Management Committees will be prepared and sent to International Tropical Timber Organisation, Japan.

9 November 2012

Communication challenges in science for forest policy

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 November 2012 | Communicating science and research findings, and their implications, is a challenge for senders as well as receivers. We strive to have rigorous and relevant evidence at one end, and a democratic decision process at the other. But we will still fail if communication between the two malfunctions or is overwhelmed by information that is only poorly based on science. The goal is to package relevant results so that the consequences of action (or inaction) are understood, picked up and cannot lightly be ignored. This blog entry is a personal reflection on the possible consequences of using good information badly and – more dangerously – when bad information is used convincingly. I borrowed the figure above from Gill Petrokofsky, of the University of Oxford’s Biodiversity Institute, to schematically illustrate possible scenarios.

Australia to sign up for Kyoto 2 Protocol

AFP, 9 November 2012 | Key greenhouse gas emitter Australia on Friday said it will sign up for a second round of the Kyoto Protocol environmental protection treaty, but New Zealand opted out. Climate Minister Greg Combet made the announcement in a speech to a carbon expo, saying: “Australia is ready to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.” So far, only the European Union and several smaller economies have signalled a willingness to agree to a second round of pledges. Australia is among the world’s worst per capita polluters, with a heavy reliance on coal mining and exports and most of its electricity coming from coal-fired power stations.

[Guyana] President envisages Amaila project will end power woes in three to four years

Stabroek News. 9 November 2012 | Amidst the ebb and flow of the political controversy plaguing the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project, President Donald Ramotar believes that the worst of the country’s electricity woes could be over “within three to four years’ time” if the anticipated deal for the completion of the project is signed by the end of the year. The President made the projection while speaking at an open day hosted by the Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary/Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) on Wednesday last. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Kenya loses $145 million to deforestation in two years

Ghana Business News, 9 November 2012 | A joint Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report released Monday, November 5, 2012, has revealed that deforestation deprived Kenya’s economy of 6.6 billion shillings ($77million) in 2009 and 5.8 billion shillings ($68 million) in 2010, making it a total of $ 14 in just two years. This, according to the report, far outstrips the roughly 1.3 billion shillings injected from forestry and logging each year. However, the ongoing work of the KFS, together with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and international partners, says that the contribution of forests is undervalued by 2.5 per cent, putting the estimate of its annual contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at around 3.6 per cent.

New Zealand won’t sign ‘Kyoto 2’ climate treaty

Associated Press, 9 November 2012 | New Zealand’s government said Friday that it would not sign on for a second stage of the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty, a stance that angered environmentalists and political opponents. The announcement came the same day that Australia said it would stay the course and commit to “Kyoto 2.” The treaty aims to curb international greenhouse gas emissions through binding national reductions. But some question its effectiveness after many of the world’s biggest polluters, including the United States and China, did not sign on. New Zealand’s climate change minister, Tim Groser, said he remained committed to emission reductions agreed to under the first Kyoto Protocol.

10 November 2012

Deforestation and Global Warming

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss, Earth Talk, 10 November 2012 | By most accounts, deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads. According to the World Carfree Network (WCN), cars and trucks account for about 14 percent of global carbon emissions, while most analysts attribute upwards of 15 percent to deforestation. The reason that logging is so bad for the climate is that when trees are felled they release the carbon they are storing into the atmosphere, where it mingles with greenhouse gases from other sources and contributes to global warming accordingly. The upshot is that we should be doing as much to prevent deforestation as we are to increase fuel efficiency and reduce automobile usage.

11 November 2012


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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