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REDD in the news: 19-25 November 2012

REDD in the news: 19-25 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.

UN-REDD Newsletter 34

UN-REDD, November 2012 | The UN-REDD Programme invites participants at the upcoming Doha Climate Change Conference and Forest Day 6 to join in the conversation on a range of REDD+ topics, and pick up newly released UN-REDD Programme publications and resources… The UN-REDD Programme is now working with 46 partner countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. .. he UN-REDD Programme launched its Africa Lessons Learned publication; Republic of the Congo signed its UN-REDD National Programme; and Luxembourg made new donor pledge of €2 million… During an international forest governance session last month in Republic of the Congo, Indonesia highlighted its work with the UN-REDD Programme in tackling governance challenges through participatory governance assessments for REDD+…

Look Beyond the Rainforest

By Luc Gnacadja, IDN-InDepthNews, November 2012 | Why must we look beyond the rainforest? Rainforests are attractive places to be. They have the highest concentrations of biological diversity. They provide some of the rarest and most valuable tree products. They are natural wonders to behold. There are many powerful reasons for our collective fascination. But the “sexiness” of the rainforests has also done humanity a disservice. Our obsession with rainforests has been at the expense of other kinds of forest. These “other forests” are seriously undervalued and remain a blind spot for policy makers; to the extent that REDD and REDD+ have been designed, quite solely, for rainforests. Let me elaborate: 40% of the Earth is open or closed forest. Of this 42% is dry forest, 33% is moist forest but only 25% is wet forest. Yet the public is largely, if not wholly, unaware that dry forests are more extensive than rainforests. Is it any wonder then that dry forests receive such little attention?

Community guidelines for accessing forestry voluntary carbon markets

FAO, 2012 | The climate change debate has brought forests to the forefront of the international agenda. Forests have acquired a new value as one of the planet’s most important stores of carbon, thus helping to ensure that levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas, are kept below critical levels. With all newly-appreciated values, new markets are not far behind. Carbon markets allow forest owners to gain recognition, and financial compensation, for the work they do to keep the forests in place, and to manage them sustainably. Since the 1990s the forestry voluntary carbon market (VCM) has taken shape, though forest owners have generally not been the first to understand its potential. It is a complex concept and there is a very real risk that forest owners may surrender the potential benefits of this new market to other, better informed actors.

An assessment of deforestation and forest degradation drivers in developing countries

By Noriko Hosonuma, Martin Herold, Veronique De Sy, Ruth S De Fries, Maria Brockhaus, Louis Verchot, Arild Angelsen, and Erika Romijn, Environmental Research Letters, December 2012 | Countries are encouraged to identify drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the development of national strategies and action plans for REDD+. In this letter we provide an assessment of proximate drivers of deforestation and forest degradation by synthesizing empirical data reported by countries as part of their REDD+ readiness activities, CIFOR country profiles, UNFCCC national communications and scientific literature. Based on deforestation rate and remaining forest cover 100 (sub)tropical non-Annex I countries were grouped into four forest transition phases. Driver data of 46 countries were summarized for each phase and by continent, and were used as a proxy to estimate drivers for the countries with missing data.

[UK] Integrating socio-economic data to improve the design and impact of REDD+ schemes

Cambridge Conservation Initiative, November 2012 | Policies to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) are becoming increasingly important as a mechanism to protect tropical forests. International negotiations have resulted in criteria under which such schemes can be implemented. At the same time, there is an emerging consensus that in order for these schemes to be successful and ensure adequate and sustained impact, it is vital that socio-economic characteristics of communities surrounding these tropical forests are taken into account. Many questions remain on how best to design these schemes. It is increasingly recognised that careful monitoring and field experiments can help answer critical design questions to ensure REDD+ schemes are effective, efficient and equitable, while delivering the co-benefits of livelihood improvement and biodiversity conservation.

19 November 2012

World Bank fears devastating 4.0 degree warming

Channel NewsAsia, 19 November 2012 | The World Bank warned Sunday that global temperatures could rise by four degrees this century without immediate action, with potentially devastating consequences for coastal cities and the poor. Issuing a call for action, the World Bank tied the future wealth of the planet — and especially developing regions — to immediate efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as energy production. “The time is very, very short. The world has to tackle the problem of climate change more aggressively,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said on a conference call as he launched a report conducted for the global lender. “We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change. It is one of the single biggest challenges to social justice today.”

Experts Not Hopeful About Doha Climate Conference

By Al Pessin, Voice of America, 19 November 2012 | When representatives from around the world meet in Doha, Qatar, November 26 through December 7, they may feel a new sense of urgency to address their assigned topic, climate change. Experts are not very hopeful, however, about the meeting. For decades, talk of climate change has evoked images of melting ice and stranded polar bears. But it is not just about the polar bears any more. Experts say warming temperatures and rising oceans are contributing to the creation of larger, more destructive storms. At the London offices of the environmental group Greenpeace, chief policy adviser Ruth Davis said as more people experience climate change effects, policy changes become more likely. “More and more people are becoming subjects of the impacts of climate change. And it is really important that governments going into Doha recognize that and take that in with them, so they have a sense of urgency and focus,” said Davis.

Issues to Watch at the Doha Climate Negotiations (COP 18)

By Jennifer Morgan, WRI, 19 November 2012 | Carbon markets: The issue of carbon markets will also be in play in Doha, but rather than wrapping something up, it is more about beginning something new. Currently the carbon market has a bit of a “wild west” feel to it… Forests / REDD+: Negotiations around Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) will continue, with a focus on a “results-based” vision and funding to back it up. Negotiators recognize that reducing such emissions requires keeping the bigger picture (i.e. poverty, adaptation, biodiversity) in mind, and are trying to figure out the best way to capture this holistic view without creating an impossible system. In addition, given that selling emissions reductions as offsets is not likely to be a primary source of finance in the near future, the negotiators are discussing whether there may be other types of finance that are effective for determining performance, but have lower transaction costs.

Cutting through: Formalising Cameroon’s huge domestic timber market

By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 19 November 2012 | “We prefer to call them informal loggers, rather than illegal,” says Paolo Cerutti, a scientist from Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who is studying the issue. “The problem is in many of these countries where we conduct research, the law is not adapted to the operations that small-scale loggers conduct, making it difficult to be clear about what is legal and what is illegal.” Cerutti and other scientists from CIFOR and CIRAD (Centre for International Cooperation on Agricultural Research for Development) spent four years studying Cameroon’s internal, informal, timber market, and discovered that it was far larger than expected. In fact, it is the same size as the formal export market.

The Congo Basin Forests: What policymakers should know ahead of UN climate talks

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 19 November 2012 | The Congo Basin Forests: protecting people in a changing climate. The forests of the Congo Basin have enormous potential for helping adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Constituting 18 percent of the world’s tropical forests and locking away between 25 and 30 billion tonnes of carbon, the forests of the Congo Basin are of huge global significance to schemes that aim to reduce emissions from deforestation or degradation, such as REDD+. These forests also provide safety nets for millions of people, especially women, who are highly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, fisheries, pastoral practices, and whose livelihoods may be threatened by changing weather patterns and resource scarcity.

Launch of Ghana Gender and REDD-plus Road Map

IUCN, 19 November 2012 | The Ghana Gender and REDD-plus Road Map which was developed through a series of stakeholder engagements in late 2011, as part of IUCN’s ongoing DANIDA funded Pro-Poor REDD project, has been officially launched in Accra. The road map was launched by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) on behalf of the Honourable Minister, and took place at the Alisa Hotel, Accra on 13th November, 2012. It brought together a broad range of stakeholders from across the country including representatives from government ministries, departments and agencies; traditional authorities and communities; civil society organisations including NGOs; the private sector, development partners/donors and the media. The Regional Director for the West and Central African (PACO) Regional Programme, Prof. Aimé Nianogo was in Accra to support the Launch. The event was ably chaired by Mr. Musah Abu-Juam, the Technical Director at the MLNR.

[Mexico] Should Chiapas Farmers Suffer for California’s Carbon?

By Jeff Conant, Upside Down World, 19 November 2012 | A California proposal would offset the state’s climate-altering emissions by paying for forest conservation in Chiapas. Could there be unintended consequences in a region with a history of human rights abuse and land grabs? “We are not responsible for climate change—it’s the big industries that are,” said Abelardo, a young man from the Tseltal Mayan village of Amador Hernández in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas. “So why should we be held responsible, and even punished for it?” Abelardo was one of dozens of villagers who had traveled to the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas to protest an international policy meeting on climate change and forest conservation. At a high-end conference center, representatives from the state of California and from states and provinces around the world were working out mechanisms intended to mitigate climate change by protecting tropical forests.

[Philippines] In transition

By Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Cebu Daily News, 19 November 2012 | I am privileged than most to be with individuals who are selfless and sincerely concerned with our present and future. Some are in public office and private sector but largely are with the dynamic civil society movement. Being with them is always a great learning, sharing and inspiring experience. Such was the feeling when fellow participants and I converged from various parts of the world in Singapore for the Workshop on REDD+ and Legal Regimes of Mangroves, Peatlands and Other Wetlands: ASEAN and the World. It was also a chance to re-connect with the much-admired mentor, Prof. Nick Robinson, who is the leading light in Environmental Law in the world, and indefatigable Environmental Law stalwarts Prof. Koh Kheng Lian and Prof. Lye Lin Heng of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Asian-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law (Apcel).

[USA] So How Much Does Carbon Cost?

By Craig Miller, KQED Quest, 19 November 2012 | Now we have a first glimpse of how California’s experiment in carbon trading is working out. The state’s first auction of industrial permits for greenhouse gases actually happened last week–but results [PDF] were released on Monday… Siler: So how did this experiment go? Miller: According to state regulators, it went pretty well. In fact, Mary Nichols, who runs the agency, the California Air Resources Board, responsible for this regulation would go beyond that: Mary Nichols: We’re delighted by this. Our goal here is to reduce Carbon at a good price, in a way that is flexible for the companies that are covered, and we feel like we’re showing, as we’d hoped and intended, that that is actually going to work. MIller: I think that’s relief, is what you’re hearing. It does seem like a system that’s going to work. And at the end of the day, there was actually — for the first time ever — a price for Carbon established in California…

[USA] California’s carbon market opens; Air Resources Board reports that auction sets allowance prices at $10.09 a ton

By Molly Peterson, Pacific Swell, 19 November 2012 | The results of California’s first-ever auction for greenhouse gas permits are in. The state regulators overseeing a new “cap and trade” market for greenhouse gas report that the price for carbon, was just over $10 a ton. That’s lower than some analysts had guessed, but California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols still liked what she saw: “The auction was a success and an important milestone for California as a leader in the global clean tech market. By putting a price on carbon, we can break our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels and move at full speed toward a clean energy future. That means new jobs, cleaner water and air — and a working model for other states, and the nation, to use as we gear up to fight climate change and make our economy more competitive and resilient.”

20 November 2012

Carbon Projects Cancel Emission Credits for Doha Climate Talks

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 20 November 2012 | Emission-reduction projects have proposed to voluntarily cancel 25,000 metric tons of carbon credits to offset greenhouse gases from this month’s United Nations climate talks and to highlight plunging prices. The Project Developer Forum, a London-based lobby group for companies that cut heat-trapping gases in emerging nations, will send the credits to the Clean Development Mechanism registry’s voluntary cancellation account to offset estimated emissions from travel and accommodation of 10,000 participants at the talks in Doha, Qatar. The value of CERs has plunged 93 percent in the past two years, according to data from the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. Credits for December fell 3.5 percent today to 82 euro cents ($1.05) a ton as of 12:49 p.m., ICE data show. Still, the so-called CDM has triggered $32 billion in clean-energy investment in the developing world since it was formed as part of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the forum said.

Webinar: Relevance of Consultation and FPIC to REDD+

WWF, 20 November 2012 | REDD+ has the potential to increase international support for the strengthening of community land and resource rights and forest stewardship activities of indigenous peoples and local communities. Yet, the REDD+ mechanism has also sparked concern about potential adverse impacts on indigenous and community rights and livelihoods, such as negative impacts on land and resource rights, increased centralization of forest management, inequitable benefit-sharing, lack of real participation and lack of free and prior informed consent (FPIC). The learning session will tackle the rationale and need of enacting social safeguards accordingly with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) along with emerging good practices regarding social safeguards’ implementation.

A Struggle for the Soul of the GCF

By Karen Orenstein, Friends of the Earth, 20 November 2012 | As board members of the Green Climate Fund roll up their sleeves to begin critical preparatory work ahead of their first meeting in 2013, they will have to very soon answer a key question to define the soul of the GCF: Is the primary purpose of this new institution to best serve the needs of peoples in developing countries, and their environment, as the world heads full throttle into a climate crisis? Or is its purpose to attract high levels of private finance, given the magnitude of the climate problem? To be sure, these goals are both important. And though they are not always mutually exclusive, they are also certainly not the same. This fundamental question about the vision of the GCF has still to be thoroughly debated, let alone resolved. Yet the Board has already placed the private sector facility at the top of the agenda for its next meeting…

To save trees, save people

IRIN, 20 November 2012 | Scientists are pushing for changes to a UN mechanism that aims to curtail greenhouse gases by preventing forest loss. Environmentalists have long argued the mechanism must also protect biodiversity and forest-dependent communities. Now, ahead of climate talks in Doha, this thinking is finding a broader audience. The mechanism, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its successor, REDD+ (which additionally aims to reverse forest loss), emerged through years of UN climate change negotiations. It is currently designed to provide financial incentives for forest preservation, attaching a monetary value to carbon captured by forests. But its implementation has long been stalled, besieged by questions over its provisions and funding.

[Canada] Noble Provides Project 81 Carbon Sequestration Update

Noble Mineral Exploration Inc. press release, 20 November 2012 | Noble Mineral Exploration Inc. is pleased to provide an update, further to its press releases of August 22, 2012 and September 10, 2012, on the carbon sequestration modelling undertaken on Project 81. Subject to the assumptions discussed below, Mikro-Tek Inc., the consultant engaged by Noble to prepare carbon sequestration modelling, has estimated the amount of carbon credits that may be generated from the Property. Using a carbon price of $15 /tCO2 and Mikro-Tek’s estimated carbon sequestration figures, IBK Capital Corp., which is advising Noble on this and other aspects relating to the Property, calculates the net present value of the credits to be in the order of $100 million. The regulatory filings made with respect to Project 81 have classified the Property as hosting a “Degraded Forest” with poor age class distribution of timber resources.

India’s incredible farm forestry program

By Bob Flynn, RISI, 20 November 2012 | Sometime in October, 2012, a farmer in the northeastern corner of Andhra Pradesh state in India will plant a very special sapling. From the farmer’s point of view there may be nothing unique about this sapling, which will look like thousands of other casuarina trees he has planted in order to supplement his income. However, this sapling is special, because according to Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills (APPM) it will be the one-billionth sapling produced for farmers by the company as part of its long-running farm forestry program. APPM, which was acquired by International Paper in 2011, has been providing saplings for farmers since 1989, and estimates that cumulative plantings of its saplings has covered more than 150,000 hectares and has provided more than 75 million man-days of employment. All this planting, along with work by other companies, has created a wood basket belt along the northern coast of Andhra Pradesh…

[Indonesia] Maps for the people: Papuans planning how their land is used

By Manuel Boissiere and Michael Padmanaba, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 November 2012 | Land use planning (LUP) indeed seems the most boring topic for research: dry, bureaucratic and administrative, probably some kind of horrible desk study. However, when you go to Mamberamo, in Papua, everything is different. Far from being a “boring concept”, LUP in fact helps us to understand people’s livelihoods, what makes them react and adapt, and how they can influence their future. In Mamberamo, even if many people do not know much about land-use planning, all of them – villagers, migrants, local government staff, NGO members and private sector workers – know how to map territory, zone it, negotiate on rights and activities, define limits, boundaries and access. It does not take long to discover that land-use planning is everywhere and that everyone is talking about it, some way or another.

Paradise for Palm Oil: The Greenwashing of Indonesian Deforestation

By Branden Eastwood, Seattle Globalist, 20 November 2012 | It is a shock to think of Indonesia as the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. How could a country that boasts one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems be spewing out more carbon and methane than economic powerhouses such as Germany and Japan? The answer lies in the forest. Or what’s left of it. Indonesia has cleared close to half of its forested land for agricultural development. The country’s peat forests, which sequester immense quantities of carbon are often targeted by developers, resulting in a disproportionate amount of emissions. The village of Muara Tae and its indigenous population have come to represent the human impacts of this trend. Like so many other villages, they are facing displacement, or by some accounts extinction, to make space for a palm oil plantation.

[New Zealand] Carbon benefits going up in smoke?

By Peter Watson, Nelson Mail, 20 November 2012 | The collapsing price of carbon has left investors feeling conned and forest owners warning of deforestation. They have seen the value of their investments plummet as the carbon price has sunk from $25 a tonne to less than $3. A lot of this has been a result of Europe’s economic woes, but much of their ire is directed at the Government, which earlier this month passed legislation further watering down the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), which was set up in 2008 to meet our international climate-change obligations by putting a price on greenhouse gases to provide an incentive to reduce emissions, invest in energy efficiency and encourage tree planting. Forestry was among the first to sign up. The latest changes to the ETS, which have been welcomed by Business New Zealand and Federated Farmers, delays the introduction of other sectors into the regime and gives agriculture an indefinite reprieve.

Series of REDD+ District-Level Consultative Workshops Continues in Pakistan

ICIMOD, 20 November 2012 | Continuing the series of consultative workshops on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Pakistan, the ICIMOD office in Pakistan and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan organized two district-level workshops to consult with forest communities and other related stakeholders as a part of the ongoing REDD+ project in Pakistan. At the workshop on Existing and Potential Approaches to Address Deforestation and Forest Degradation, held in Abbottabad, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Province on 6 November, valuable feedback was provided during group work sessions by several Conservators of Forest in attendance, including the event’s Chief Guest Ali Asghar Khan, Chief Conservator of Forests of Hazara, as well as representatives of forest communities, the timber trade association, and civil society organizations and officials from various government departments.

21 November 2012

Forest Day – time to move on

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 November 2012 | Forest Day 6 will, however, be the last one that is organised during the UNFCCC COP. The mission to put forests on the climate change agenda is arguably completed. The mission to deliver sustainable, climate-smart and equitable growth in the green sectors has barely started… We are therefore looking forward to building on the Forest Day experience, joining forces with a wider range of partners in agriculture and rural development, and holding a Landscape Day at the UNFCCC COP next year… Surveys have shown that over 90% of participants thought Forest Day was ‘successful’ or ‘very successful’. Clearly, Forest Day has become one of the defining events on forests and forestry on the international scene. So, why change a winning concept?

Action on agriculture needed at upcoming U.N. climate talks

By Ashlee Betteridge, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 November 2012 | Support for a work program on agriculture is urgently needed at Doha to incorporate the growing sector into international efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change as well as address looming food security issues, said experts. “Agriculture is still considered a sideshow in the climate arena and a decision has been lacking over several years of U.N. climate negotiations. Agriculture will be massively impacted by climate change, both the increase in extreme conditions and the rising temperatures. We need global action to ensure food security under climate change,” said Bruce Campbell, head of the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) research program.

REDD+ almost at the finish line: Doha preview

By Gus Silva-Chavez, EDF, 21 November 2012 | Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is one of the policy areas in international climate negotiations that has made the most progress in the last few years. With the cutting and burning of trees contributing to about 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions, any realistic plan to reduce global warming pollution sufficiently – and in time to avoid dangerous consequences – must rely in part on preserving tropical forests, and REDD+ policies are key to doing just that. As negotiators begin heading to the Conference of Parties 18 (COP 18) to the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar to hash out important issues for a global climate agreement, EDF has taken a look at where the REDD+ issue stands now, and where we anticipate it going in Doha.

Workshop for Indigenous Technicians Kicks Off REDD+ Capacity Building

By Chris Meyer, EDF, 21 November 2012 | The workshop included teams of two from Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. It was organized by a consortium consisting of the Coordinating Body of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC). In addition to training, it also covered the basics of climate change and of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). Following this training workshop, each team of technicians has returned to its respective country to hold a series of community workshops over the next six months. The teams have ambitious goals: train leaders from at least 100 communities in their countries; collect 25 measurements of forest carbon from specific locations; and coordinate their work with government authorities, Indigenous organizations, and other organizations involved in REDD activities.

UN touts Clean Development Mechanism success

BusinessGreen, 21 November 2012 | The UN’s main carbon offset scheme has delivered up to $43bn of foreign investment into developing nations since it started operating in 2006, according to a new report on the initiative’s effectiveness. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows developed (Annex I) countries to meet their emissions targets by purchasing tradeable credits known as Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) generated by registered carbon-cutting projects in poorer nations. Over $215bn has been channelled into CDM projects to date, resulting in 110GW of new renewable energy capacity and between $21.5bn and $43bn of additional foreign investment. The UN says this capacity has also been installed at a cheaper rate than in developed nations, cutting solar PV costs by 15 per cent and geothermal costs by half.

Coal Boom Unabated in Asia

By Andrew Revkin, New York Times, 21 November 2012 | Some 1,200 new coal-fired power plants are being planned across the globe despite concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from such generating stations, the most polluting type, the World Resources Institute estimates. Two-thirds of them would operate in China and India, it says… I’d greatly appreciate an answer from the bank on how it can put out such an urgent message on decarbonization while continuing to support coal-generated electricity (even if more efficient)? … The World Bank Group only invests in coal in very rare circumstances. We have moved away from funding coal and have moved toward the funding of renewable energy. The Bank Group scaled up lending commitments for renewable energy from 22% of its energy projects in 2007 to 44% in 2012.

Brazilian Indians’ water ‘poisoned’ in bitter land dispute

Survival International, 21 November 2012 | A community of Brazilian Indians say their main source of water has been poisoned by one of the state’s most controversial ranches. The Guarani from Ypo’i community in Mato Grosso do Sul state used a mobile phone to film the contamination, which spread quickly to cover much of the stream for two days. The Indians said, ‘the children were bathing when they saw the white foam…we followed the stream up to the ranch, where we saw two large containers.’ The ranch in question belongs to Brazilian landowner Firmino Escobar. He has already been at the centre of a bitter land dispute with the Guarani community. More than two years ago, he blocked all entry to their reoccupied territory, preventing them from accessing water, food or healthcare. A court subsequently ruled that the Guarani could remain on the small piece of their ancestral land until the authorities mapped out their territory. This has still not been completed.

Ghana To Get 50m For Sustainable Management Of Forests

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, ModernGhana.com, 21 November 2012 | Ghana and Burkina Faso have received endorsement of their far-reaching plans for sustainably managing their forest sectors as part of their goals for climate-resilient economic development. The endorsements came from the Forest Investment Programme (FIP), one of the four programmes of the US $7.2 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF), with support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other partners including the World Bank Group. Under the Forest Investment Program (FIP), Burkina Faso was allocated US $30 million and Ghana was allocated US $50 million for sustainable management of their forests, through activities under programs for reducing deforestation and forest degradation and instituting sustainable forest management (REDD+), and including agro-forestry and sustainable agriculture.

Indonesian Forest Reduced To 64 Million Ha

Antara News, 21 November 2012 | Indonesian forests remaining in good condition have been reduced to 64 million hectares with 90 million hectares in critical condition, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said. “There are only 64 million hectares left categorized as being in good condition or primary forests,” Zulkfili said here on Wednesday. He said the remaining forests must be preserved and there should be no more cutting. “Now the forestry ministry is having the duty of replanting but the government could not do it alone,” he said after planting a tree at the Ciliwung riverside area in Gunung Tikukur, Bogor. He said without support it would take more than a hundred year for the government to finish vegetation of the denuded forest lands. “The empty lands could be all green again in 25 years with support such as from the private sector and state companies,” he said.

Certifying Vietnam’s timber plantations would help smallholders profit from lucrative export market

By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 November 2012 | If Vietnam wants its timber producers to benefit from the growing eco-conscious and more lucrative international furniture market, national forest institutions should look for ways to get smallholder plantation forests certified, said Louis Putzel, a senior scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Eco-certification may become more important as countries start putting in place import restrictions, with the European Union ruling it will ban illegally harvested wood from entering its market as of March 2013. However, despite huge national investments in smallholder timber production in the Southeast Asia nation – which has a thriving wooden-furniture industry – the area of certified forests in the country is vanishingly small.

22 November 2012

Landscape science: a way to help COP18 policymakers better manage the world’s resources

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 November 2012 | The idea behind “landscape management science” is to zoom outward, examining environmental and economic problems on larger spatial scales. In this way, researchers can try to figure out how to manage, conserve or restore valued natural resources, especially those that provide important economic goods and services. The new approach could help negotiators heading to the United Nations climate change summit in Doha, in December, to understand how better to manage the world’s resources faced with the threat of a changing climate. A big part of the landscape process is determining what trade-offs we can live with, said Robert Nasi, Director at the CGIAR Research Programme on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, at Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2), which took place in Uruguay late last month.

Will REDD+ undermine democracy or transform it?

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 November 2012 | A climate mitigation scheme aiming to protect the world’s forests must work through local democratic institutions or risk leaving communities and indigenous groups open to exploitation from powerful international actors seeking access to the world’s shrinking land and resources, say experts. “The history of development projects and especially forestry projects circumventing local democratic institutions and undermining democracy is clear enough. We must take measures to ensure that REDD+ does not follow suit,” said Jesse Ribot, Director of the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy Initiative at the University of Illinois, and co-author of Reducing REDD risks: Affirmative policy on an uneven playing field in a special journal issue on Multi-Level Governance. Any development intervention can promote or undermine democracy, explains Ribot.

Counting Carbon – Measuring Carbon Stocks in Logging Concessions in Cameroon

AlertNet, 22 November 2012 | Deep inside a logging concession in southern Cameroon, scientists from the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) are measuring the carbon content of a huge tree, selectively felled by a timber company. They’re hoping to bolster scientific evidence that shows sustainable timber production in forests logged by private companies and local communities could increase carbon stocks – thus reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. When logging is conducted selectively and sustainably, research has shown it can actually help to protect forests from deforestation and conversion into other types of land use, like agriculture. And sustainably managed forest concessions could also help to store carbon – with huge impacts for schemes that aim to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation like REDD+ – but this has not yet been proven. The FORAFAMA project aims to find out.

Indonesia’s forests under renewed threat – experts

By Thin Lei Win, AlertNet, 22 November 2012 | Indonesia’s dwindling forests and an ambitious plan by the country’s president to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the world’s third largest emitter are under threat due to the struggle between national and local governments for authority over precious forest land, environmental activists told AlertNet. In February, Indonesia’s Constitution Court struck down a controversial clause of the Forestry Law, saying it was unconstitutional for the central government to designate forest zones without proper mapping, after six plaintiffs, including five district heads (known as “bupatis”) from Central Kalimantan, a province in the Indonesian portion of Borneo, asked for a review of the law. This has left everyone wondering what would happen to millions of hectares of land that have been designated as forest zone but have not been mapped. Currently, only 14.2 million of some 130 million hectares are adequately mapped.

Heart of Darkness: Digging into Indonesia’s prized wetlands

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 November 2012 | The potential for Berbak’s huge store of carbon to be released should the peat forest be disturbed has brought the region to the attention of policymakers in Indonesia, particularly those involved in the climate mitigation scheme Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). REDD+ will see developing countries financially rewarded for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by keeping their forests standing (and their carbon stored). Along with two other areas in Indonesia, Berbak was recently declared a national REDD+ demonstration site… CIFOR’s researchers have been working with park staff for the past two and a half years to measure and monitor carbon and other greenhouse gases emissions from the peat soils. Such data is helping Indonesia’s policymakers to design future interventions and forest management policies.

[Indonesia] Exploring the world’s richest pools of carbon

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 November 2012 | Sebastian Persch, a PhD student and researcher with the Center for International Forestry Research, takes the journey to Berbak National Park in Sumatra once a month to measure above-ground and below-ground biomass – the living and dead trees, roots and vegetation that contribute to the carbon stock of the forest. Persch is trying to observe with his camera how the tiny roots from forest vegetation live, grow and die. He can use this information to calculate the amount of carbon input into the soil when the roots die. The research is all part of CIFOR’s work on measuring and monitoring carbon and greenhouse gases in forests – crucial to the success of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation or REDD+. Emissions from forests constitute nearly 12-18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

New interactive software will help measure carbon in Indonesia’s peatlands

By Budhy Kristany, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 November 2012 | The governments of Indonesia and Germany have joined together to produce a set of guidelines and interactive software to help forest practitioners and local communities in southern Sumatra to measure the carbon stored in peatlands. The software allows users to enter up-to-date information on the amount of carbon stored and released from peat land ecosystems. The supplementary manual, Estimating Technique of Carbon Reserve in Peat Lands, is available online as well. “The idea was to create an open source system which would enable users to connect and share information,” said Solichin Maskuri, writer and lead researcher for the GIZ Forest and Climate Change programme (GIZ-FORCLIME). The software will be used to help the Indonesian Forest Management Unit (Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan) to process and analyse forests inventory data in order to support the design and implementation of a REDD+ pilot project in Merang, Sumatra.

[Mozambique] Climate Pledge without guarantees

By Asa Welander and Michael Sjödell, Sverigesradio, 22 November 2012 | Swedish dairy giant Arla stamp their products as carbon offset. But behind the promise of a greener planet conceals contested practices, disgruntled farmers and forest burning. This story is about farmers in Mozambique to plant trees to offset the emissions made by companies in the rich part of the world. Swedish dairy company Arla is one of the largest investors and we should start in the dairy fridge for an ordinary Swedish supermarket… Tree plantings this part of the project Sofala Community Carbon Project, run by the British company Envirotrade. They sell so-called carbon credits to companies around the world who want to offset their emissions and Swedish dairy giant Arla is one of their biggest customers. A carbon credit is equivalent to a tonne of carbon dioxide, so to compensate for their selected goods to Arla to buy 84,000 carbon credits per year. [R-M: google translate – original in Swedish.]

23 November 2012

REDD+ and Indigenous Peoples: Analysis of the upcoming UNFCCC negotiations in Doha, and identification of possible policy options

By Francesco Martone, Forest Peoples Programme, 23 November 2012 | The purpose of this background note is to identify some key issues and opportunities in the upcoming UNFCCC climate negotiations in Doha (26 November – 7 December 2012). The note will only focus on REDD+ and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

REDD+ clarity needed at Doha climate talks

By Jessica Boyle, Responding to Climate Change, 23 November 2012 | REDD+ is a highly technical and rapidly evolving subject with significant promise to produce multiple mitigation and sustainable development benefits. But there are uncertainties as to how REDD+ will evolve under the international climate regime. A number of critical determinants of success have been identified by developing country experts and stakeholders,[2] which require further consideration both within and outside of the climate change negotiations. Financing remains a key issue for REDD+. Funding from multilateral and bilateral institutions needs to be transparent, equitable and accessible. Private sector involvement across the REDD+ supply chain is equally critical. Both should facilitate the engagement of national experts and strengthening of existing in-country capacity.

Will uncertainty over new climate agreement prolong the REDD+ stalemate?

By Sven Wunder and Louis Verchot, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 November 2012 | At the upcoming U.N. international climate change conference (COP18) in Doha, 193 heads of state will meet to discuss the very future of our planet. The ‘Durban Platform,’ one of the few successes of the COP17 conference in Durban, was a potential first step to a more solid agreement that would see both the world’s major emitters and developing countries agree to set emissions reductions targets by 2015 (to take effect in 2020). However, it remains to be seen whether all 193 countries will take the leap and commit to form a new legally binding climate agreement, especially when support for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is apparently waning. As negotiators thresh out the finer details of the Durban Platform in Doha, with no meaningful emissions reductions targets until 2015, what will happen to climate mitigation programs that are currently underway, such as REDD?

Taking stock of carbon: Accurate measurements vital for REDD+ impact

By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 November 2012 | In a conversation with Forests News, Louis Verchot, CIFOR’s lead climate change scientist, talks about the importance of accurately measuring greenhouse gas emissions for the success of strategies, such as reducing deforestation and degradation, or REDD+… One of the technical challenges in implementing REDD+ is determining what your impact is: How much you have reduced your deforestation emissions. In order to do that, you have to be able to quantify the transfer of carbon and other greenhouse gases from the ecosystem to the atmosphere. This is technically challenging, particularly in countries where you don’t necessarily have forest inventories that go back over time, so you don’t know how your forest stocks have changed historically. If we project from the past into the future, forest-rich countries will need to know whether we have made a change in this trend, or whether we still following the business as usual…

Clocking the world’s forests

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 November 2012 | In an earlier blog entry, I discussed how the annual global deforestation area is determined and the fact that this number has been used as a universal indicator of how the world’s forests are faring. I also promised to return to this topic, with a new way of illustrating forests and forestry. Instead of a deforestation clock, CIFOR is now introducing a World Forests Clock on its homepage, counting five key flows instead of a single number. With this new clock we are proposing a more comprehensive perspective on forests and forestry to stimulate thought and dialogue. Over the past decades, lots of work has been done to define how forests and forestry should be monitored. However, these expert communities have worked somewhat away from mainstream and popular communication on forests.

Forests worldwide near tipping-point from drought

mongabay.com, 23 November 2012 | Forests worldwide are at “equally high risk” to die-off from drought conditions, warns a new study published this week in the journal Nature. The study, conducted by an international team of scientists, assessed the specific physiological effects of drought on 226 tree species at 81 sites in different biomes around the world. It found that 70 percent of the species sampled are particularly vulnerable to reduction in water availability. With drought conditions increasing around the globe due to climate change and deforestation, the research suggests large swathes of the world’s forests — and the services they afford — may be approaching a tipping point.

UN Carbon Offset Daily Supply Rises Most in More Than a Year

By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 23 November 2012 | The United Nations issued today the most Certified Emission Reduction carbon offsets in more than a year, according to UN data compiled by Bloomberg. The executive board of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, the body responsible for regulating CERs, delivered 9.3 million metric tons of credits to the market today, the UN data show. That’s more than 10 times as many as yesterday and the biggest issuance in a single day since Sept. 16, 2011… Supply of CERs is set to grow by a record 58 million tons in November as project developers and investors try to move as many offsets into the market before the compliance cycle of the second phase of the European Union’s emissions-trading system ends in April. The flow of credits in December will probably fall compared with November, the UN data show. The CDM board is scheduled to issue 43 million new credits from Dec. 1 to Dec. 22, according to a timetable of requests for issuance…

Kyoto Protocol Winds Down As Delegates Head To Doha

By Henry Ridgwell, Voice of America, 23 November 2012 | The Kyoto Protocol is set to expire in just a few weeks, and its replacement will be debated during next week’s climate talks in Qatar. However, few observers believe a new deal will be struck in Doha. Henry Ridgwell looks back on 15 years of the Kyoto Protocol. As delegates from 190 countries head for Doha to try to forge a new deal on tackling global warming, the Kyoto Protocol – signed in 1997 – is due to expire at the end of the year. That deal sets binding targets for industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of five percent from 1990 levels. By most measures, it has failed, says Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford University. “The Kyoto Protocol has made virtually no difference whatsoever to the growth of global emissions. Back in 1990 they were going up at about two parts per million, they’re now going up at about three (parts per million),” Helm said.

How is REDD+ doing in Africa?

By Kristi Foster and Daisy Ouya, World Agroforestry Centre, 23 November 2012 | Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a climate-change-mitigation mechanism that seeks to compensate—in hard currency—developing countries for sustainable development that reduces CO2 emissions. REDD+ means REDD in addition to applying conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancing forest carbon stocks. Done right, REDD+ can bring some attractive benefits to developing countries, including finances that can be applied to various areas of development. According to Dr. Cheikh Mbow, however, poorly implemented REDD+ initiatives could negatively impact the livelihoods of the very communities it was designed to benefit, particularly rural people who depend on forest resources. Mbow is a senior climate change scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and lead author of the recent new report titled ‘Challenges and Prospects for REDD+ in Africa’…

[Ecuador] Project to leave oil in ground under Yasuní park reaches $300m

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 23 November 2012 | More than $300m (£188m) has been promised to stop the exploitation of 846m barrels of oil below the Yasuní national park in Ecuador, one of the world’s most biologically rich areas of rainforest, new figures show. Ecuador’s idea to leave the oil in the soil under the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) area of the park and ask the world to compensate it with half its monetary value was hailed as a revolutionary, if idealistic, new conservation idea when it was first proposed in 2007. But critics doubted whether raising the $3.6bn needed in 13 years would be possible, and accused Ecuador of holding the world, literally, over a barrel. However, figures released by the UN Development Programme-run Yasuní-ITT initiative shows that while most wealthy governments have declined to contribute, foundations, individuals and cash-strapped regional authorities in austerity-hit Europe have pledged or given over $300m since 2011…

[Indonesia] Forest Ministry Pushes to Continue Deforestation Moratorium, House Pushes Back

By Camelia Pasandaran, Jakarta Globe, 23 November 2012 | Indonesian lawmakers threatened on Friday to freeze the budget for reforestation projects if President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono continues the nation’s deforestation moratorium until 2014… The head of the House of Representatives forestry and agriculture commission said Indonesia was losing too much money setting up reforestation projects when it could be issuing more permits for palm oil plantations. “It’s not worth it,” he said. “Our total budget is Rp 1,600 trillion. The budget for the Forest Ministry is Rp 6 trillion. The reward is not equal to the economic potential being lost in the forest sector.” … The Ministry of Forests will recommend the moratorium stays in effect until the 2014 presidential election, ministry spokesman Sumarto said. The ministry still has 40 million hectares of cleared land to replant, he added.

Missing trade records signals threat to Mozambique’s Miombo woodlands

By Melati Kaye, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 November 2012 | In 2010, Mozambican export figures show almost $ 49 million worth of timber shipped out of the country bound for China. Chinese import figures show over $134 million in wood landed from Mozambique. The discrepancy of $85.4 million is roughly equivalent to the annual income for over 194 thousand Mozambicans. So where did the missing logs come from and where did they go? This difference in trade figures is discussed in a recent working paper on the effects of Sino-Mozambican trade relations on forests, which is one of the first outputs of research project on China-Africa relations conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Engineering (FAEF), University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) during 2011-13. The paper’s authors—CIFOR affiliated anthropologist, Laura German, and environmental economist, Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff…

24 November 2012

Next victim in Europe debt crisis: Climate change action

Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 2012 | The next victim of Europe’s economic crisis is becoming the global effort to restrain fossil fuel emissions and curb pollution now at record levels. The European Union, which led the fight by establishing the biggest market for carbon emissions, is letting the matter slip as a priority. EU leaders didn’t discuss climate strategy at their four summits this year, while France, Germany, Spain and Britain are focused on paring the region’s 10.5 per cent unemployment rate and 10.8 trillion euros ($13 trillion) in debt. The matter didn’t emerge during US presidential debates. “What scares me is that climate policy is sliding off the international policy agenda,” International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol said in an interview in advance of the United Nation’s annual round of talks on the issue that start in three days in Doha, the capital of the Qatar.

[UK] Carbon Green Capital small print that says: You can’t rely on us!

By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 24 November 2012 | Carbon Green Capital is relying on investors knowing little or nothing about the carbon credits it sells. The less you know, the fewer awkward questions you might ask… [T]he company’s website talks of ‘years of experience trading in the carbon market’. Since the company is only six months old, I wondered where all this experience came from, so I asked boss Steven Sulley, 26, where he and his partner, Christopher Chapman, 25, had worked before. He did not respond. This is a shame because I also asked him about the role of his senior trader Toby Halloran. Just months ago Halloran was telling investors about ‘miracle returns’ from ‘the most promising market out there’. But it wasn’t carbon credits, it was investment in wine. Oddly, Sulley is also a director of a wine investment company, DS Vintners & Co Limited.

25 November 2012

Developing world aid may save top economies $3.6 billion

Japan Times, 25 November 2012 | Major industrialized countries could save at least $3.6 billion (¥297 billion) over a five-year period under the Kyoto Protocol by launching greenhouse gas reduction projects in developing nations, a recently compiled U.N. report argues. Private businesses in developed nations could save $2.3 billion and the public sector $1.3 billion from 2008-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, the report said. Japanese companies could reduce emissions costs by $150 million (¥12.4 billion) during the commitment period, according to the report, which was compiled by a body operating the mechanism. The system allows industrialized economies to meet part of their emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol by receiving emission credits in return for investing in emission-cutting projects in developing nations.

REDD In Doha: What You Need To Know, And How You Get To Know It

Ecosystem Marketplace, 25 November 2012 | Whatever path the new tracks take, REDD+ offsetting under the UNFCCC seems destined to be phased in between now and 2020, with various fast-track efforts taking place within and among those countries that choose to move forward outside the system. The first phase is aimed at building up the accounting mechanisms needed to track REDD credits. The second phase will focus on the creation of pilot programs using public-sector funding. The third phase will make offsetting operational. Outside the UNFCCC, REDD is going strong in the voluntary market and in regional compliance markets, leading to a doubling of prices for forest-carbon offsets last year, according to the latest State of the Forest Carbon Markets Report. On the financing front, developed nations have pledged more than $7.3 billion to help developing countries get up to speed on REDD+, and $4.3 billion of that is slated to be delivered by the end of December.

[Fiji] Vernacular glossary launch

By Ana Madigibuli, Fiji Times Online, 25 November 2012 | Minister for Primary Industries Colonel Inia Seruiratu officially launched the iTaukei glossary of climate change terms at Tanoa Plaza in Suva on Friday. Col. Seruiratu said the achievement was an important milestone in the implementation of the Fiji REDD Plus Policy. The REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) Plus is a concept that links financial incentives to forest conservation, sustainable management and enhancing and increasing carbon stock credits for carbon emissions avoided and/or carbon sequestered. He said the glossary would be a useful tool for REDD Plus awareness work and even other climate change-related activities to be conducted in the vernacular.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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