REDD in the news: 21-27 January 2013

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REDD in the news: 21-27 January 2013

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.

Payments for ecosystem services schemes: project-level insights on benefits for ecosystems and the rural poor

By Gabrielle Kissinger, Caitlin Patterson and Henry Neufeld, World Agroforestry Centre, January 2013 | Payments for ecosystem services (PES) provide a market-based instrument to motivate changes in land use that degrade ecosystem services. This investigation sought to better understand how effective PES schemes are in meeting the goals of safeguarding ecosystem services, while also benefitting local livelihoods and ensuring pro-poor outcomes.

How much would REDD+ boost Philippines forest budget?

World Agroforestry Center, January 2013 | REDD+ could provide a huge financial boost to forest conservation plans in developing countries like the Philippines. A new study titled, Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus (REDD+) in the Philippines: will it make a difference in financing forest development? shows that if the country was to reduce the rate of forest degradation by 5 to 15% and at the same time increase reforestation rate by 1.5% annually, Philippines could approximately sequester up to 60million tonnes of carbon by 2030. Going by the current rate of US$ 5 per ton carbon, this would translate to US$ 97 to 417 million carbon credits per year which would make a huge difference to the country’s forest budget that stood at US$ 46million in 2005 only to fall to US$ 12million in 2006.

The context of REDD+ in Nepal. Challenges and opportunities

By Naya S. Paudel, Dil B. Khatri, Dil Raj Khanal, Rahul Karki, CIFOR, 2013 | This report provides an overview of Nepal’s initiatives on readiness for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), the political and socio-economic context in which they are taking place, and their implications for conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries. It examines land use change and the drivers and underlying causes of deforestation. It evaluates the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of current REDD+ efforts in Nepal and analyses the prospects for and challenges to REDD+ implementation going forward. The report draws on multiple data sources and diverse methodologies. It provides an overview of government plans and policies, legislation, and views of experts on development, forestry and the REDD+ sector in Nepal, as well as ongoing debates in Nepal on issues such as forest governance, benefit-sharing…

UN-REDD Newsletter 35

UN-REDD, January 2013 | Donor Support Increases for UN-REDD: With commitments now totaling US$169.9 million, the UN-REDD Programme starts 2013 with more donor support than ever. UN-REDD at COP18 and Forest Day 6: At the UNFCCC Climate Change talks (COP18) in Doha last month, the UN-REDD Programme engaged in a number of events aimed at building national REDD+ capacities; Norway and UN-REDD announce US$30 million for a second phase of REDD+ in Viet Nam. REDD+ Progress in Bhutan and Cambodia: Over the past few months, UN-REDD Programme partner countries Bhutan and Cambodia have taken important steps forward in their REDD+ readiness efforts. New Head of UN-REDD Secretariat: Mr. Mario Boccucci is appointed the new Head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. UN-REDD Advances Work on Safeguards and Multiple Benefits of REDD+: The UN-REDD Programme recently brought together forestry experts from across the world to increase awareness of the multiple benefits of REDD+…

[Indonesia] Ecocide in action in Kalimantan

By Lorna Howarth, The Ecologist, January 2013 | A small team from Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) travelled to Central Kalimantan to see the consequences of their government’s REDD deal with Indonesia first hand. They flew in a small plane for over three hours above palm oil plantations within the concession area – a monoculture dependent on polluting chemical inputs, that was once diverse rainforest. The plantation in question is owned by one company – Wilmar – Asia’s leading agribusiness corporation, which was recently crowned by Newsweek as the worst performing company in ‘green ranking’ of the world’s largest 500 companies.

21 January 2013

EU Carbon Permits ‘Worthless’ Without Change of Rules, UBS Says

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 21 January 2013 | Carbon-dioxide permits in the European Union emissions trading system, the world’s largest, are “worthless” without a change in the rules to tighten supply and curb a record glut, according to UBS AG. EU allowances for delivery in December sank to a record 4.79 euros ($6.37) a metric ton on the ICE Futures Europe exchange today. The contract was at 4.86 euros as of 9:51 a.m. in London, extending its losses to 27 percent this year after low bids from utilities, factories and banks forced Germany on Jan. 18 to cancel a sale of permits for the first time. “With current rules ETS won’t work until 2045, thus carbon is worthless,” Per Lekander, a Paris-based analyst at UBS, said in a research note today. The price of permits in the EU emissions trading system, or the ETS, plunged about 80 percent since the beginning of 2008 as the economic crisis eroded industrial output.

Davos 2013: Time to save the global carbon markets?

By Joan MacNaughton (Vice Chair of the UN High Level Panel on the CDM), RTCC – Responding to Climate Change, 21 January 2013 | In Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban, world leaders took far-reaching decisions on the need to limit GHG emissions, and supported a broad agenda of transition towards low carbon and resource efficient economies. In Doha, they inched further towards the actions needed but have yet to commit to targets commensurate with the scale of emissions reductions required to avoid potentially unmanageable consequences. As a result, the carbon price which is intended to incentivise private sector flows is languishing. It has collapsed from €12/tCO2e in 2010 to less than €0.40/tCO2e currently. At these levels few existing projects can survive and few if any new projects will be financeable. And inevitably, the market is losing capacity as firms and expertise depart for other more attractive investment opportunities.

Report: $700 Billion a Year Needed for Climate Change

By Susan Graybeal, Yahoo! News, 21 January 2013 | According to a new report from the World Economic Forum, an additional $700 billion a year is needed to address climate change through clean-energy infrastructure, low-carbon transport, energy efficiency in building and industry and for forestry. Here are the details. Total investment in climate-change mitigration and adaptation in 2011 was estimated at $268 billion from the private sector, with an additional $96 billion from the public sector, the report stated. 2011′s investment in combating climate change is 93 percent higher than in 2007, the World Economic Forum reported, but “this business-as-usual investment will not lead to a stable future unless it achieves environmental and sustainability goals.”

The Climate Change Endgame

By Thomas E. Lovejoy, New York Times, 21 January 2013 | At current global warming of 0.8-0.9 degrees, the fingerprints of climate change can be seen virtually everywhere in nature. The coniferous forests of western North America are currently experiencing massive tree mortality because climate change has tipped the balance in favor of native bark beetles. The Amazon seems to be edging close to dieback in the southern and southeastern portions of the great forest… In addition, because all living things are built of carbon, restoring ecosystems (e.g., reforestation and restoration of grasslands) can recapture carbon lost to the atmosphere through past deforestation and ecosystem degradation. Ecosystem restoration has multiple benefits, including better grazing and enhanced soil fertility.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Local and Regional Policy – a book review

By Gabriel Thoumi, mongabay.com, 21 January 2013 | The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Local and Regional Policy, edited by Heidi Wittmar and Haripriya Gundimeda, provides thoughtful and actionable approaches to integrate nature’s benefits into decision-making frameworks for local and regional policy and public management institutions. Filled with numerous case studies, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Local and Regional Policy, delivers a compendium of concepts and ideas. These case studies focus on steps that can be implemented by institutions resulting in ensuring economic growth and human well-being while improving environmental stability. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is an international multi-year initiative for the United Nations Environment Program. TEEB highlights the costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

REDD+ And The Future Of Climate-Safe Agriculture

By Antonio G. M. La Vina, Leticia Labre, Lawrence Ang and Alaya de Leon, Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 January 2013 | The 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha officially launched the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), which aims to establish a new legal instrument by 2015 that comes into force by 2020. At this point, it would be wise to take a step back and assess how the multiple streams of progress achieved under the AWG-KP, AWG-LCA, ADP and REDD-Plus ultimately set the stage for the future of land-use issues under the UNFCCC. There is no doubt that REDD-Plus and LULUCF, while not perfect, have advanced beyond the expectations of many. The former, in particular, has managed to create for itself a platform that does not entirely depend on the UNFCCC for action but instead has created enough good will among governments and diverse stakeholders to go on their own and generate valuable experiences that establish early action for forest protection.

Brazilian Government wants to implement national REDD+ mechanism this year

By Allan de Lima, Celestial Green Ventures Blog, 21 January 2013 | The Brazilian Ministry for the Environment announced that a national mechanism to regulate Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) must be implemented in 2013. The conclusion of a national strategy for REDD+ and the use of the Amazon Forest as a mechanism to help mitigate Climate Change is set as part of the priority plan for this year, according to the government. The plan will support the implementation of projects aiming to encourage forest conservation and sustainability as well as reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

22 January 2013

How Two Different Studies Found Consensus On Emissions From Tropical Deforestation

By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 January 2013 | In order for the United Nations to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions from tropical deforestation by 50% between now and 2020, they have to know the amount of emissions that is currently caused by destroying tropical forests. Now they do: it’s roughly three gigatons per year, or at least was from 2000-2005. And they know that with surprising certainty, according to a synthesis of separate findings from Winrock International and the Woods Hole Research Center. A policy brief, Progress Towards a Consensus on Carbon Emissions From Tropical Deforestation was first published at global climate talks last month and shows that, despite initial differences, the data on gross carbon dioxide emissions from tropical deforestation was consistent. Gross carbon emissions accounts for the amount of carbon emitted from a deforested area but doesn’t account for carbon stored in any new vegetation planted on that land.

Low carbon resilience in the least developed countries: a panacea to address climate change?

By Susannah Fisher, International Institute for Environment and Development, 22 January 2013 | Instead of talking about climate change mitigation or climate change adaptation, developed and developing national governments – including Laos, Cambodia, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Nepal – are making plans to simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and build up resilience to the impacts of climate change. Eight of the least developed countries (LDCs) have developed some kind of plan to bring together low carbon development with climate resilience, ranging from the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, to the National Strategy and Action Plan for Low Carbon Development in Bhutan, to Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy. Yet many of these countries have low carbon emissions compared to, say, America, Canada or China. So why are they taking action?

Losing carbon: New study questions sustainability of biofuel harvested on dry lands

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 January 2013 | The high amount of carbon that pours into the atmosphere when arid and semi-arid land is converted for Jatropha oil production may outweigh the environmental benefits of such a biofuel, says a new report… Wouter Achten, a scientist with The University of Leuven in Belgium and lead author of Global greenhouse gas implications of land conversion to biofuel crop cultivation in arid and semi-arid lands – lessons learned from Jatropha says they may not be the solution many had hoped for. Jatropha has been promoted as one of the best arid-land biofuel crops, in part because of the high yields of oil extracted from its seeds. It also has strong resistance to drought and pests. But cultivating it in a way that is beneficial to the environment is difficult, says Achten.

The role of human development on deforestation in Africa: a modelling–based approach

By Simplice A. Asongu, Brian A. Jingwa, International Journal of Green Economics, 22 January 2013 | The rate of deforestation in Africa is of paramount concern not only to the future of Africa, but also to the world. This study uses country–level data to model changes in forest area over an 18 year period (1990–2007) in 35 African countries and investigates the role played by important development indicators of human development. The results reveal that the net loss of forests was 0.19% every year between 1990 and 2007. Human development, which involves life expectancy, education and income, is found to have a positive effect on forest growth and conservation, while logging trees for wood fuel is a significant cause of deforestation. Using generalised linear mixed models and generalised estimating equations, it was possible to calculate expected estimates of forest area for 2010, 2020 and 2030 under the assumption that nothing is done to change observed trends.

Prosecutors take issue with Brazil’s new forestry code

AFP, 22 January 2013 | Brazil’s new forestry code — approved last year at the urging of the powerful agrobusiness sector — faced a constitutional challenge Tuesday from federal prosecutors afraid it threatens the Amazon rainforest. The prosecutors filed three actions against the legislation before the Supreme Court, demanding it be partially suspended on grounds it “reduces and abolishes areas previously viewed as protected,” a statement from their office said. They also challenged the amnesty granted to those who illegally cleared forest land prior to 2008, one of the most contentious points of the new code. Designating land as protected aims to “preserve and restore essential ecological processes,” said acting prosecutor Sandra Cureau in her filing.

[Canada] Great Bear Rainforest needs both protection and a new economy

By Valerie Langer (Forest Ethics), Vancouver Sun, 22 January 2013 | Recently there have been criticisms that the carbon stored in trees set aside from logging in the Great Bear Rainforest doesn’t meet the test to qualify for carbon offsets. ForestEthics Solutions and our colleagues at Sierra Club BC, with whom we work closely on protecting forests, agree that carbon credits should meet the highest standards, including requirements of transparency by the provincial regulations. We also believe that carbon offsets can only be meaningful as part of plan that includes deep emissions reductions. Given our involvement in implementing the Great Bear Rainforest agreements we feel that, while transparency should be required, the carbon credits generated from improved forests management there meet the test. Here’s why…

Ecuador treads fine line in preserving Amazon reserve

By Julia Heinrichmann, Deutsche Welle, 22 January 2013 | Ecuador’s plan to refrain from drilling for oil in its rainforests in return for money remains controversial. Critics have questioned the tangible benefits of the project for the forest and its residents… The proposal may sound good on paper. But critics such as Mascha Kauka from the Amazonica Foundation in Munich are skeptical that financial compensation by rich nations will actually improve the lives of the indigenous population in Ecuador. She fears that the opposite might be true. “The Yasuni National Park has long been handed over to international companies for oil drilling,” Kauka points out. It’s only a matter of time, she says, before the oil in the Yasuni ITT area too is extracted in light of the rising prices of oil worldwide and the pressure exerted by international oil companies on the Ecuadorian government.

[Ecuador] BluForest Ince.: 30:1 Rollback Effective 1/23/2013

BluForest Inc press release, 22 January 2013 | BluForest Inc. is pleased to announce that on January 21, 2013 FINRA confirmed receipt of all necessary documents and approvals for BluForest Inc. request for a 30:1 rollback. This corporate action will take effect at the open of business, 1/23/2013. The new symbol on this date will be BLUFD. Please note that a “D” has been appended as the 5(th) character for 20 business days including the effective date. About BluForest Inc. BluForest Inc. is a development stage company that is a publically traded carbon offsets marketing and renewable energy company. BLUF is executing its strategy to become a leading marketer of carbon offsets in the voluntary markets under the UN principle of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). The BluForest website provides further information about the company which prospective investors are encouraged to visit.

Indonesian Communities Build a ‘Green Wall’ to Fight Deforestation

By Anton Ario, Conservation International Blog, 22 January 2013 | For the last four years I’ve managed CI’s Green Wall project in Indonesia. This project is located in the Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park, a forested, mountainous landscape that is one of the last havens for biodiversity on the island of Java. It is home to rare species found nowhere else, such as the silvery Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch) and Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas). What many people don’t know is that these mountains are also essential for local people. They serve as the primary water catchment area for over 30 million people living in five cities — including Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital. Water filtered from this forest is so clean and pure that over 20 water bottling companies have situated themselves downstream. These forests also help to prevent floods and droughts for the millions of people in these cities.

[Zambia] Nyimba Forest project to halt deforestation

By Darlington Mwendabai and Mwape Mwenya, Zambia Daily Mail, 22 January 2013 | While agriculture is widely acknowledged as a major economic activity on which a significant proportion of Zambia’s population depends, the downside is that it is faulted for being one of the country’s major drivers of deforestation. The importance of forests cannot be over-emphasised; besides the ecological value of providing wildlife habitat, preventing soil erosion and flooding, and being recharge areas for water systems, forests are also of tremendous economic value through exploitation of timber and other forest products. They are equally important for preventing climate change through carbon sequestration, as they act as carbon sinks. By decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, forests may reduce the effects of global warming. Effective management of forests is therefore crucial.

23 January 2013

Another Look at REDD with a Landscape Lens

Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog, 23 January 2013 | As noted yesterday on the Landscapes Blog, this week marks the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Though biodiversity is the focal point, there is a host of other benefits from nature that are related, including climate regulation. We tackled the intersection of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) and agriculture following the UN climate negotiations, but the discussion of the topic continues, and includes many elements of a landscape approach.

Scientists point to research flaw that has likely exaggerated the impact of logging in tropical forests

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 23 January 2013 | The impact of logging on tropical forest species has likely been exaggerated by statistical problems, according to a new study in Conservation Biology. Reviewing 77 studies on how logging affects tropical biodiversity, scientists found that 67 percent were flawed by a technical problem known as ‘pseudoreplication.’ The debate over logging in tropical forests has garnered significant attention recently as some scientists argue that well-managed logging areas can actually retain impressive numbers of species, while others say logging does irreparable harm to the ecosystem’s ecology. “Essentially [pseudoreplication] means the failure to distinguish the effects of a treatment (e.g. logging) from pre-existing differences,” lead author Benjamin Ramage with the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of Berkeley explained to mongabay.com.

Guyana’s Climate Initiatives – Main Achievements in 2012 …2012 saw further advancement in Guyana’s climate initiatives and the Low Carbon Development Strategy

Guyana Chronicle, 23 January 2013 | In December 2012, Guyana was approved to receive an additional US$45 million from the Government of Norway for its climate services in maintaining extremely low levels of deforestation while advancing the nation’s landmark Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). This brought all three contributions from the Norway-Guyana climate and forest partnership to a total of US$115 million since the programme was announced in 2009. The Guyana-Norway partnership represents the leading edge of efforts to protect forests while also supporting developing countries by offering economically attractive alternatives to deforestation and forest degradation. It is specifically designed to serve as a model for how countries can work together to create low-carbon economic growth, while contributing significant value to the health of the global environment.

Indonesia breaks new records in FDI realization

The Jakarta Post, 23 January 2013 | Indonesia saw a record high level of investment realization in 2012, thanks to a 22.4 percent jump in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the fourth quarter, as the consumer-driven nation attracted overseas investors amid the economic troubles of the West. Throughout January-December last year, Indonesia realized total investments of Rp 313.2 trillion (US$32.5 billion), surpassing its annual target of Rp 283.5 trillion, the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) reported on Tuesday. FDI, which accounts for 70 percent of total investments, surged 22.4 percent in the fourth quarter, with full-year FDI increasing by 26 percent to the unprecedented level of Rp 221 trillion.

Liberian Farmers Take on Indonesian Palm Oil Giant

Jakarta Globe, 23 January 2013 | Liberian farmers who survived a 15-year civil war are now fighting lucrative property deals with Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil companies that threaten the land they live on, if not their sacred burial sites. Thirty hours by car from the capital Monrovia, the green and yellow flag of Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), an Indonesian palm oil giant, floats over deforested hills in Sinoe County, southern Liberia. Local farmer Benedict Smarts looked at the scene, and said, “We are not against development, but we want to be heard, we want respect, we want those people to listen to us.” In 2010, GVL acquired a 63-year lease on 220,000 hectares (544,000 acres) of land to produce palm oil.

[Tanzania] Choose best gas deals: envoy

The Citizen, 23 January 2013 | Norway being one of the leading oil and gas producing countries, the country’s ambassador to Tanzania Ingunn Klepsvik explains in this interview with staff writer Florence Mugarula how his country had successfully utilised the natural resources… Tanzania got $500 million (about Sh800 million) from Norway since 2008 in the REDD programme. How would you rate the country’s environmental conservation performance? Tanzania has made great progress in increasing its ability to mitigate and reduce climate effects and has established a REDD strategy and policy. The country played a prominent role during the latest Conferences of the Parties on Climate Change. It created enthusiasm for its progress in establishing strategies and mechanisms for meeting enormous challenges of global warming. There is widespread and growing climate change knowledge among wananchi. In a nutshell, I can say Tanzania has utilised the cooperation in a good and systematic manner…

24 January 2013

EU carbon price crashes to record low

By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 24 January 2013 | The European Union’s flagship climate policy, its emissions trading scheme (ETS), saw the price of carbon crash to a record low on Thursday after a vote in Brussels against a proposal to support the struggling market. The price of a permit to emit a tonne of carbon dioxide fell 40% at one point to €2.81 today, far below its record high of €32, before recovering to more than €4 later in the day. The ETS, aimed at reducing emissions from Europe’s entire energy and industrial sectors, has been plagued by an oversupply of permits due in part to over-generous initial allocations following lobbying by industry. “This should be the final wake-up call both to governments and to the European parliament,” said Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner. “To those in industry who both say that they want a strong EU ETS while they at the same time lobby against the policies that can secure exactly that I say: it is time to think twice.”

Carbon Finance Unit Of The World Bank Sees Initiatives Move Forward

By Kelli Barrett, Forest Carbon Portal, 24 January 2013 | The World Bank received good news recently with several of its climate initiatives moving into new phases starting with the first PoA in China to issue CERs along with 3,000 hectares of a valuable watershed reforested. Meanwhile, Costa Rica becomes the first country to access performance based payments through the Carbon Fund and developed nations funnel more funds toward the FCPF.

Davos 2013: Four simple environmental ideas to consider

By Johan Kuylenstierna (SEI), RTCC – Responding to Climate Change, 24 January 2013 | For starters, stop fighting. If you believe that environmental changes are real and hamper development, don’t block policies to address them – whether they involve air-pollution limits, emissions caps, resource efficiency, carbon taxes, or zoning restrictions… Second, stop blaming consumers. Yes, we all want cheap goods, and lots of them. But let’s not pretend that companies don’t shape demand as well. You choose your flagship products; you choose which market opportunities to pursue, and which to skip… Third, think longer-term. Investments in water and energy efficiency, renewables, pollution reduction and sustainable supply chains often pay for themselves within years, but may cost a lot upfront… Fourth – and this one is for policy-makers – don’t subsidize bad ideas. Sometimes markets work really well… There is no silver bullet.

First-Ever, REDD+ Project in the State of Acre, Brazil to Achieve Dual VCS-CCBS Validation

CarbonCo LLC press release, 24 January 2013 | CarbonCo, LLC, a subsidiary of the Carbonfund.org Foundation, a leading climate solutions organization, is excited to announce the Purus Project, a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) forest conservation project, has officially become the first-ever REDD+ project in the State of Acre, Brazil to achieve dual-validation to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction. CarbonCo, LLC provided financing and project development services for the Purus Project, while partnering with Carbon Securities and the local landowners’ organization known as Moura e Rosa Empreendimentos Imobiliarios LTDA. Technical services were provided by TerraCarbon LLC. The Purus Project will protect up to 34,702 hectares (85,714 acres) of privately-owned tropical rainforest within the Amazon Basin.

Offset Providers Ink Deal over Landmark Forest Conservation Project In Acre, Brazil

By Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 January 2013 | Today, Maryland-based project developer CarbonCo, LLC announced the validation of its pilot project to reduce emissions from deforestation (REDD) in Brazil’s Acre state. It also announced its first contract to deliver carbon credits to London-based The CarbonNeutral Company. Situated on 34,702 hectares of tropical rainforest, the Purus Project also supports endangered species and a range of ecosystem services – putting the “+” in its “REDD+” moniker. The Purus Project validation is the latest in a string of headlines from Acre, which is leveraging a Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) framework to account for REDD from statewide activities – to meet the needs of California’s cap-and-trade program buyers.

Guyana pledges to protect jaguars

By David McFadden, Associated Press, 24 January 2013 | The lushly forested nation of Guyana on Thursday joined a regional pact to protect jaguars, the elusive spotted cat that is the biggest land predator in the Americas but is vulnerable due to expanded agriculture and mining that carves away at their fragmented habitat. Leaders of the government’s environment ministry were signing an agreement with the New York-based conservation group Panthera, which is trying to establish a “jaguar corridor,” a network of pathways that would link core jaguar populations from northern Argentina to Mexico. Guyana is pledging to ensure the protection of jaguars, the national animal that is a near-threatened species.

[India] SC green signal to Vishnugad Hydroelectric project

Press Trust of India, 24 January 2013 | The Supreme Court today allowed Tehri Hydro Development Corporation to go ahead with its hydroelectric project over river Alaknanda in Uttarakhand while dismissing a plea against it. A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu expressed concern that petitions are being filed in courts to delay such projects despite the fact that everybody wants electricity. The court dismissed the plea of an environmentalist Vimal Bahi who had appraoched it after the green tribunal rejected his plea.

Forests in Kenya worth much more intact says government report

By Liz Kimbrough, mongabay.com, 24 January 2013 | Kenya’s forests provide greater services and wealth to the nation when they are left standing. A landmark report by The Kenyan Government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) addresses the importance of forests to the well-being of the nation, putting Kenya among a pioneering group of countries that aim to center development plans around nature-based assets. “The study by UNEP on valuing Kenya’s montane forests is an enormous breath of fresh air that is welcomed by conservationists across the country,” Paula Kahumbu, executive director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and WildlifeDirect, told mongabay.com. “For the first time in history, the real value of just one element of Kenya’s natural capital has been captured in economic terms and in the language that the engineers of Kenya’s economic recovery can understand.”

[Kenya] Media Round-table on Environment and Development: Key and Emerging Issues

UNEP, 24 January 2013 | The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is organizing an International Media Round-table in the lead up to the convening of the 27th session of UNEP’s Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 16 to 22 February 2013… The new economics of forests and REDD+: Forests have multiple benefits beyond carbon sequestration. These include water, forest-based products, tourism, community development, biodiversity. UNEP has partnered with governments and international organizations to deliver on building the capacity of countries to draw multiple benefits from reducing deforestation and to identify the interventions that add value to the economy, increase revenue, and provide new livelihood opportunities while conserving forests and reducing emissions. Working with national counterparts UNEP will demonstrate the potential of forest sector investments, institutional changes and targeted tools…

Laos under international spotlight in search for land rights activist

By Kate Hodal, The Guardian, 24 January 2013 | Though it rarely makes international headlines, Laos has been in the spotlight for the past month. One of its most well-respected activists has gone missing after stopping at a police checkpoint. His disappearance has prompted the Laos government to suggest he was “kidnapped”, but rights groups suspect he may have been abducted after campaigning against land grabs. Sombath Somphone, 60, disappeared on the night of 15 December in the capital, Vientiane, and was last seen by his wife, Ng Shui Meng, who was driving ahead of him as the couple returned home in separate cars. CCTV footage shows the activist stopping at a police post, leaving his vehicle, and his Jeep being driven away by someone else. Later, a pickup truck with its lights flashing arrives, Sombath gets in, and he and two other men drive off. Although Sombath has not been seen or heard from since the checkpoint stop, the government insists it has nothing to do with his disapearance…

[Malaysia] Concern over excessive forest clearance in Kinabatangan

The Malay Mail, 24 January 2013 | Residents in villages along the Sungai Kinabatangan River greatly appreciate and love their forest as well as the river. However, their concerns are growing. “The forest is now less dense in the Kinabatangan area. In fact, the forest is shrinking in size. Hence, we can see a number of elephants coming out of the jungle. Before, we could only hear them. “Now, these elephants are coming close to the riverbank in search of food and water,” said Suhaili Adari, a 51-year old villager. The Imam of Sukau said the clearing of privately-owned land along this river to make way for plantations is one of the reasons why the forest has shrunk in size… Kertijah Abdul Kadir, an agricultural officer at Nestle Manufacturing, said, “The riparian reforestation project will restore natural filters in the area. The lower part of the Kinabatangan River is about 150 km long”… “The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recommended these trees…”

Nigeria: Charcoal Business Thrives in Kwara Despite Prohibition Law

By Abdullateef Aliyu, Daily Trust, 24 January 2013 | The problem of deforestation has become a global concern going by the effect of climate change on the global environment. To mitigate the effects of climate change, the global community has devised many programmes, one of which is afforestation aimed at encouraging tree planting and ornamenting the environment. Nigeria and indeed many African countries have an extant policy to encourage the planting of trees as a strategic and deliberate move to control the continuous deforestation and promote carbon trading which is a product of afforestation. However, the global effort at afforestation has been constrained by the rampant cases of tree burning particularly by those who engage in charcoal trading.

Tanzania: Forests’ Protection Needs Community Support

By Deogratias Mushi, Tanzania Daily News, 24 January 2013 | On March 21 this year, the globe will be commemorating World Forest Day. This is one of the world’s leading global platforms for people with an interest in forests and climate change, to share their views and work together, to ensure forests are suitably incorporated into any future climate change mitigation and adaption strategies… To save forests, alternative energy is needed to reduce extensively the use of firewood for cooking and other domestic uses. A research done recently by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in some districts has revealed that successful use of the constructed 13,301 improved biomass stoves (6,651 household each with two stoves) in Tanzania can reduce firewood consumption from 39,906 cubic m through using unimproved stove to 19,952 cubic m.

[Vietnam] Over 3,000ha of forests lost in 2012, says conference

VietNamNet, 24 January 2013 | The General Forestry Department, which held the conference, said 27,671 violations of forest protection laws were discovered nationwide last year. This included 5,724 cases of deforestation, 13,550 cases involving illegal transportation of forestry products, 905 wood processing violations and 928 cases of wildlife hunting and trading. “Around 3,225 hectares of forest were lost last year, 2,091ha to fire and the rest was logged down,” Nguyen Huu Dung, head of the Forest Protection Department, was quoted as saying in the Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper. Forest destruction was most severe in the Central Highlands provinces of Lam Dong and Kon Tum, and the north-western province of Son La. Dung said “risky, complicated activities and modern equipment” were increasingly being resorted to in the destruction of forests in the country.

25 January 2013

Wake-Up Call: A Disastrous Week for Carbon Trading

By Joel Stonington, Der Spiegel, 25 January 2013 | The European cap-and-trade system has slid into near meaninglessness as Germany bickers on the sidelines. Hopes that the election in Lower Saxony might resolve the high-level bickering were misguided. Now Europe’s carbon market has hit a new low. For those involved in European Union climate policy, the German regional election in Lower Saxony on Sunday was a nail-biter. The hope for many was that Germany’s pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) would suffer defeat and leader Philipp Rösler, who has been under pressure within his party for weeks now, would be forced to step down as economics minister. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Rösler ended up in a stronger position than before, and the flagship project of Europe’s climate policy settled deeper into a lifeless coma.

WWF and World Bank host international REDD+ forum

WWF, 25 January 2013 | Tropical forest experts from around the globe will convene on January 28th and 29th for a technical forum on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). The event, Building REDD+ Reference Levels, is being jointly hosted by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the global conservation organization WWF. It will focus on developing benchmarks against which many countries will measure success in reducing rates of deforestation and degradation. Participants are set to include more than 30 technical experts from governments, civil society, the private sector and academia, representing key tropical forest countries including Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss challenges and lessons learned around quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?, By Tony Juniper

By Michael McCarthy, The Independent, 25 January 2013 | Mangroves are the salt-water woodlands found fringing many coastlines in the tropics. Imagine this: the authorities in coastal zone X, with a rapidly expanding city behind it, decide to cut down its mangrove swamps because the shallow waters in which they are rooted provide an ideal site for shrimp farms. If developed properly, those shrimp farms might produce, say, two million dollars’ worth of exports over five years. Sure-fire business case. Fantastic. Fetch the chainsaws. But mangroves are not just floppy trees with their feet in the water. They provide natural protection against storms and tidal surges. Let us say that after the mangroves have gone, a tidal surge occurs, perhaps even a tsunami, which sweeps over the shrimp farms and inundates the coastal region, and its city, to disastrous effect, and leaves the authorities with no alternative but to provide future protection by building a substantial sea wall.

Make climate change a priority

By Jim Yong Kim (World Bank), The Washington Post, 25 January 2013 | The world’s top priority must be to get finance flowing and get prices right on all aspects of energy costs to support low-carbon growth… A second immediate step is to end harmful fuel subsidies globally, which could lead to a 5 percent fall in emissions by 2020… A third focus is on cities… At the World Bank Group, through the $7 billion-plus Climate Investment Funds, we are managing forests, spreading solar energy and promoting green expansion for cities, all with a goal of stopping global warming. We also are in the midst of a major reexamination of our own practices and policies. Just as the Bretton Woods institutions were created to prevent a third world war, the world needs a bold global approach to help avoid the climate catastrophe it faces today. The World Bank Group is ready to work with others to meet this challenge.

Exclusive: Deforestation appears to rise again in Brazil’s Amazon

By Paulo Prada, Reuters, 25 January 2013 | After years of gains against destruction of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil appears to be suffering from an increase in deforestation as farmers, loggers, miners and builders move into previously untouched woodland, according to data compiled by the government and independent researchers. Imazon, a Brazilian research institute that tracks deforestation through satellite imagery, said in a recent report that destruction in the world’s largest rainforest climbed for the fourth consecutive month in December. In the last five months of 2012, Imazon detected clearings of 497 square miles (1,288 square km) of woodland – a Los Angeles-size total that is more than twice as big as the combined areas detected in the last five months of 2011. Preliminary data from Brazil’s space agency, which produces its own monthly estimates, also suggests an increase in deforestation between August and October, the last month for which its figures have been released.

[Pakistan] Forest owners demand 80 percent royalty in Malakand division

Business Recorder, 25 January 2013 | Forest owners have demanded of the government to extend 80 percent royalty to forest areas in Malakand division, by removal of unequal policy enforced in forest populated areas for last a decade. Speaking at press conference here at Press Club on Thursday, President Sarhad Awami Forestry Itehad (SAFI) Riaz Mohamamd Khan said the forest ordinance had executed for extending of royalty to forest development areas in 2005. Under the Forest Ordinance, he added, it was announced to give 80 percent royalty to forest areas in Hazara division, district Bunner, Dir, but Swat and rest parts of Malakand division got only 60 percent royalty. It was reflected a sheer unjust with forest populated areas under the same law, said President SAFI. He said the policy was immensely created a sense of deprivation among the forest development areas, which must be abolished forthwith.

26 January 2013

Nicholas Stern: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’

By Heather Stewart and Larry Elliot, The Observer, 26 January 2013 | In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: “Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.” The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are “on track for something like four “. Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, “I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise.”

[Kenya] The poverty disconnect in the rich and bountiful Narok county

By Eunice Marima, The Star, 26 January 2013 | The county is home to the once pristine Maasai Mau forest which forms part of the Mau complex ecosystem. It has a highest forest cover in the country. The Maasai Mau forest is managed in trust by the local authority. Loita forest is another major forest in the county and is located at Loita division of Narok south district and spans an area of about 330 Sq km… The whole talk about carbon credit is prevalent in news channels, and how this portends a new opportunity for engagement in the emerging markets of carbon trade and of particular interest is the process on Reduction of Emissions from Forest Degradation and Deforestation commonly referred to as REDD+. This is a compensatory mechanism for conservation efforts funding, raising resources for the county. The current process to make legislation on climate change and the draft National Policy on Carbon Investment and Carbon Trading released in April 2011…

27 January 2013

Brazil to survey Amazon rainforest

BBC News, 27 January 2013 | The Brazilian government has announced that it plans to undertake the huge task of recording an inventory of the trees in the Amazon rainforest. The Forestry Ministry said the census would take four years to complete, and would provide detailed data on tree species, soils and biodiversity in the world’s largest rainforest. The last exhaustive survey was carried out more than 30 years ago. Luis Meneses runs the Global Canopy programme, an alliance of universities and research centres around the world studying ways to save the world’s forests. He told the BBC’s Adnan Nawaz how the fight is going at the moment.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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One Comment

  1. Reforestation is the only effective and the most efficient of means to fight against global warming by sequestering of carbon. We should focus upon our own natural resources and general population around country.

    However, if we adapt the advanced irrigation systems, such as dripping irrigation technology and sea water desalination, for improving the existing forests and for supporting the reforestation in barefaced lands at continent scale in northen America, the sequestration of carbon would be a few times better. In another hand, we already have the biofuel production technology to convert the biowastes of forests into syngas, ethanol and other biofuel, while preventing the wildfire by good forest management regulated by federal law and EPA code.

    If we can enforce the law on states to harvest the biowastes from forests and stop the pollution of wildfires, States and local communities will take care of forest irrigation and trim the trees.

    One thing is common sense that the regular trimming of trees would make trees healthy and grow faster, while properly irrigating them. Thus would provide a massive biostock for biofuel industries on the sustainable way.

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