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REDD in the news: 4-10 March 2013

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REDD in the news: 4-10 March 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.

[Brazil] A Light in the Forest

By Jeff Tollefson, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2013 | But in recent years, good news has emerged from the Amazon. Brazil has dramatically slowed the destruction of its rain forests, reducing the rate of deforestation by 83 percent since 2004, primarily by enforcing land-use regulations, creating new protected areas, and working to maintain the rule of law in the Amazon. At the same time, Brazil has become a test case for a controversial international climate-change prevention strategy known as REDD, short for "reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation," which places a monetary value on the carbon stored in forests. Under such a system, developed countries can pay developing countries to protect their own forests, thereby offsetting the developed countries’ emissions at home. Brazil’s preliminary experience with REDD suggests that, in addition to offering multiple benefits to forest dwellers (human and otherwise), the model can be cheap and fast…

Sustainable Financing Mechanism for REDD+ Activities and Implementation in Malaysia to be Endorsed by the National Committee on REDD+

Frankfurt School, UNEP Centre, March 2013 | The Malaysian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is developing a National Framework on REDD+ that includes the policy, legal and institutional components for REDD+ as well as providing recommendations on a sustainable financing mechanism for REDD+ implementation to be endorsed by the National Committee on REDD+. In this context, Frankfurt School was commissioned to carry out a study to identify and propose a financing mechanism that will contribute to emission reductions from activities that include conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, reducing deforestation, as well as improving capacity and stakeholder participation into an overall integrated forest management plan in Malaysia. This financial mechanism, after approval and endorsement by the National Committee on REDD+, will allow Malaysia to attract investment for the implementation of REDD+.

Access and benefits in payments for environmental services and implications for REDD+: Lessons from seven PES schemes

By Sango Mahanty, Helen Suich, Luca Tacconi, Land Use Policy, March 2013 | This paper presents findings from a study of seven Payment for Environmental Service (PES) schemes that assessed impacts on livelihoods and implications for the design of incentive mechanisms for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). It focuses on two areas of importance to the local impacts of PES and REDD+ schemes: (i) whether tenure and wealth filter access to schemes by local resource users and managers and (ii) how the design of contracts and the configuration of payments and other benefits impact local livelihoods and the sustainability of schemes. The PES schemes reviewed occurred on land falling under diverse tenure arrangements. Full ownership rights were not a prerequisite for PES agreements, but the criteria for selecting the location and participants for schemes were important access determinants.

To Offset or Not?

By Abby Schultz, CR Magazine, March 2013 | But growing trees and conserving forests can have real, measurable carbon benefits, if the projects are well designed and standards are developing to ensure the carbon benefits are real. Tropical deforestation accounts for 20 to 25 percent of all GHG emissions, making it the second leading cause of climate change after the power sector, according to Janson-Smith of the CCBA. “We should not forget tropical deforestation is a huge part of the climate change problem,” Janson-Smith says. The CCBA—which includes companies such as BP, Intel and SC Johnson; nongovernmental organizations including the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society; and research institutions—spent two years developing standards for projects that include growing trees as well as conserving forests.

4 March 2013

Saving forests by putting a price on them

By Frank Merry, mongabay.com, 4 March 2013 | But what of Brazil, a country of comparable size and production—as well as a similar path in frontier development—how do we view their farmers and ranchers? Well, from afar we mostly hold their feet to the fire as the demons responsible for deforestation. But reality is not quite so simple. One quarter of the land, more than 100 million ha, in the Brazilian Amazon is now privately owned. There are more than 500,000 families formally settled by the Government, each with approximately 100 ha, and probably that number again squatting to establish de facto tenure. In comparison, the US homestead act, active between 1862 and 1934, which had the same objective, granted 108 million ha in land to new owners. There are also thousands upon thousands of economic migrants seeking land for farming or ranching as the basis of a better future. And they are supported and encouraged, though not always efficiently, by the Brazilian Government…

What finance for REDD+?

Carbon Market Watch, 4 March 2013 | In the meanwhile California’s carbon market, the second largest cap-and-trade scheme after the EU, is set to include REDD+ credits from Acre Brazil and Chiapas Mexico. These credits should be used by companies that cannot meet reduction targets. A poorly designed mechanism could fail to reduce carbon emissions, while undermining the rights of forest-dependent people and community-based forest governance. However, despite unresolved issues and wide spread civil society opposition market regulators are close to a deal. The REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW) has released its draft recommendations (here) and opened a period of public comments until April 30. If the Air Resources Board accepts the ROW recommendations, REDD offsets may comprise between ¼ and ½ of the state’s offset quota.

Only 38% of RSPO Palm Oil Production Is Sustainable, WWF says

By Bart King and Mike Hower, Sustainable Brands, 4 March 2013 | The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) released analysis of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) showing only a handful of member producers are making adequate progress towards the goal of becoming 100 percent sustainable. WWF based its analysis on data compiled by the RSPO in 2012 for its Annual Communication of Progress, evaluating member producers on several criteria including whether members have reported progress, set time-bound certification plans, disclosed palm oil production numbers and how much of it is certified as sustainable.

Carbon market debate leans towards tighter pollution cap

By Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 4 March 2013 | Hours of debate on reform of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme on Friday showed support for tighter annual pollution limits, but hardly any backing for a change to an overall EU 2020 goal on carbon cutting. Both measures would reduce the oversupply of carbon allowances, which pushed the EU ETS to a record low of less than three euros per tonne earlier this year. The price collapse means the ETS, a core piece of EU environment policy, is unable to engineer a shift to lower carbon energy, prompting the European Commission to propose a combination of short-term and long-term changes. Long-term plans, debated on Friday by an audience including industry and environmentalists, include raising the EU 2020 carbon reduction goal to 30 percent from 20 percent.

Clearing Forests May Transform Local—and Global—Climate

By Judith D. Schwartz, Scientific American, 4 March 2013 | Each year Earth loses 12 million to 15 million hectares of forest, according to the World Wildlife Fund, the equivalent of 36 football fields disappearing per minute. Although forests are ebbing throughout the world, in Africa forest-climate dynamics are easily grasped: according to the United Nations Environmental Programme, the continent is losing forests at twice the global rate. Says Pokorny, the conversion of forest to agricultural land, a change that took centuries in Europe, “happened during one generation in western Kenya.” Pokorny’s work, coupled with a controversial new theory called the “biotic pump,” suggests that transforming landscapes from forest to field has at least as big an impact on regional climate as greenhouse gas–induced global warming.

Standard & Poor’s warns oil firms could soon be facing credit downgrades

By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 04 March 2013 | Oil companies could be left staring down the barrel of credit downgrades if governments deliver an international agreement to tackle climate change, according to a new analysis from credit agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and NGO Carbon Tracker. The study, entitled What A Carbon-Constrained Future Could Mean For Oil Companies’ Creditworthiness, ran a series of scenarios to assess how two global oil giants – BP and Shell – and three Canadian firms focused on oil sands projects – Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, and Cenovus Energy – would be impacted by new climate policies designed to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses at 450ppm.

Cambodia Expands Carbon Forest Preservation

By Mom Chan Dara Soleil, Agence Kampuchea Presse, 4 March 2013 | Cambodia is working to expand the preservation of forest carbon to 2 million hectares – a contribution to addressing regional and global climate change issues. Decision was made in last week’s meeting led by Senior Minister H.E. Mok Mareth, Minister of Environment at the ministry’s office. The expansion looks into possibility at Cambodia’s highest Oral and Samkos wildlife sanctuaries in the southwestern part of the country. Forest plays critical role in mitigating the effect of global climate change, especially by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

New illegal logging ban in EU could sever all ties with companies working in DRC

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 4 March 2013 | Yesterday, the EU joined the U.S. and Australia in banning all timber that was illegally harvested abroad. The new regulation could have a major impact on where the EU sources its timber, and no where more so than the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to a new report by Greenpeace, the DRC’s current moratorium on industrial logging is being systematically circumvented making all timber from the country suspect. "Logging companies, including multinationals, are routinely flouting Congolese law, with complete impunity," said Irène Wabiwa, forests campaigner with Greenpeace Africa. "Many are involved in large-scale timber laundering and as a result, the government is denied tax revenues."

[Indonesia] Forest moratorium: Contesting interests and the road to a just and sustainable policy

By Rini Astuti, Jakarta Post, 4 March 2013 | Interestingly — but not so surprisingly — a 2010 Harvard Kennedy School study highlighted how the narratives of Indonesia’s forest-related discourses are related and continue to be dominated by the calculus of economic gain… Paying attention to this discursive landscape enables us to map stakeholders’ positions and provide an insight into possible cooperation’s to produce a just and sustainable forest moratorium policy. For this to happen, it is necessary for green NGOs to form an alliance with certain stakeholders in government institutions, scientists, and international research organizations. Such an alliance needs to go beyond the ego and rhetoric of stakeholders. An alliance with shared storylines will produce a strong discourse, which could win public support. To balance diverse interests, ultimately it is up to the government to choose whose interests are to be facilitated.

[Indonesia] Communities under REDD

By Mark Poffenberger (Community Forestry International) and Herlina Hartanto (The Nature Conservancy), Jakarta Post, 4 March 2013 | In January 2013, the Asia REDD+ Working Group met in Indonesia… The meeting has resulted in some key principles, which were embodied in an accord to help guide emerging national REDD+ strategies. First, communities need to have meaningful resource management authority and authorization to receive financial payments for any ecosystem services they provide. Second, communities should take part in processes to design benefit sharing systems that ensure benefits are distributed equitably, are locally meaningful and reflect needs, efforts and investment. Lastly, government laws and policies must value the role communities play in sustaining forest ecosystem services, including providing them with meaningful resource rights. Communities should be an explicit and integral part of the planning and implementation process at all levels.

Indonesian CSOs call to save Indonesia’s remaining forests

Down to Earth, 4 March 2013 | As the end of the two-year moratorium on clearing primary forests and peatlands draws near, the fate of Indonesia’s forests and forest-dwelling peoples is once again in the spotlight. Thirty seven Indonesian civil society organisations, including indigenous peoples’ organisations, national and regional NGOs called on their government to take urgent action to save the country’s remaining forests in January. The CSO Coalition for Saving Indonesian Forests and Global Climate offered a stinging critique of the current moratorium on the issuing of new permits to exploit primary forests and peatlands. They now want it to be strengthened and extended. They also want Indonesia’s REDD+ National Strategy, published in June last year, to be fully implemented to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

[Indonesia] CSOs call for REDD+ National Strategy to be implemented

Down to Earth, 4 March 2013 | Indonesian CSOs are calling for the country’s REDD+ National Strategy, published in June last year, to be fully implemented to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.[1] In a January statement, the Coalition for Saving Indonesian Forests and Global Climate, which includes the indigenous peoples’ alliance AMAN, Forests Watch Indonesia, HuMA, ICEL, KPSHK, Sawit Watch and Greenpeace, stated that the National Strategy: "…was prepared with an aim to improve Indonesian forest governance fundamentally and comprehensively. The preparation process was relatively transparent and has involved relevant stakeholders. It acknowledges that currently Indonesian forest governance is facing acute problems, which require extraordinary solutions, aside from ‘business as usual’ measures…"

[Indonesia] Government reduces Papua’s forest zone

Down to Earth, 4 March 2013 | Last year Indonesia’s forestry minister signed a decree to change the extent and function of the area officially classified as forest in Papua province. The move will see changes to more than six million hectares, including areas targeted by agribusinesses in the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) development zone in the southern part of Papua. The minister’s decree (number 458, 2012, signed in August last year) will withdraw forest status from 376,385 hectares, change the forest function in 5,736,830 hectares and bring 45,258 hectares of non-forest land into the forest estate. This means that the net loss to the forest zone amounts to 331,127 hectares.

Palm oil company destroys 7,000 ha of Amazon rainforest in Peru

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 4 March 2013 | A palm oil producer has leveled some 7,000 hectares of rainforest in the Peruvian Amazon, highlighting the risks of oil palm expansion in the world’s largest tropical forest, reports El Comercio. Between 2005 and 2011, Grupo Romero, a Peruvian conglomerate, converted thousands of lowland rainforest for three oil palm plantations in northeastern Peru despite a Ministry of Agriculture recommendation that palm plantations be developed on non-forested lands. Grupo Romero is now under investigation by Peruvian authorities, for violating article 310 of the country’s criminal code, according to El Comercio. The company’s activities have been documented with photographs and satellite imagery, refuting Grupo Romero’s claims that it has only been planting land that had been deforested long ago.

5 March 2013

Palm oil conference today to be closely followed by plantation fraternity

By Hanim Adnan, The Star, 5 March 2013 | Going into its second decade, the annual world renowned Palm and Lauric Oils Conference & Exhibition Price Outlook 2013/2014 (POC 2013) will convene today but on a less cheery note given the looming crude palm oil (CPO) high inventory and production situation on the back of uncertainities in demand from major importing nations. However, despite the current bearish fundamentals, judging by the expected 2,000 participants from over 50 nations for POC 2013, local industry players generally are confident that the POC organised by Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Bhd the operator of the world’s largest palm oil futures contract would continue to serve as the right avenue for international players in the oils and fats fraternity to deliberate on the challenges currently impacting the industry.

Australian logging company Gunns goes into liquidation

By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 5 March 2013 | Collapsed Australian timber company Gunns, which gained notoriety for its repeated clashes with environmentalists, has been placed into liquidation. More than 80 people owed more than $750m by the 140-year-old Tasmanian business "resolved unanimously" to wind it up at a second creditors meeting, Daniel Bryant of administrator PPB Advisory told reporters. PPB, now the liquidator, is now set to further investigate its own report that claims that Gunns may have traded while insolvent, following its collapse in September last year. The PPB report, which will be sent to Australia’s corporate regulator for possible action against company directors, also stated that secured lenders, owed $446m, are unlikely to get all of their money back, with Gunns crippled by debts of around $3bn.

[Brazil] Maranhão: Indigenous Community Takes Forest Law Into Own Hands

By Fabiola Ortiz, Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 5 March 2013 | An indigenous community in Brazil has decided to single-handedly take action against illegal loggers who are moving into their territory in search of highly valued timber. Indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest, rich in precious hardwood species, have become a new target for illegal loggers, who use bribery and threats to ply their illicit trade. The most recent episode occurred in late January in the Governador indigenous territory, located in the southwest of the state of Maranhão, near the city of Amarante and 900 km from the state capital, São Luís. In this eastern corner of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, members of a Pukobjê-Gavião indigenous community seized four trucks and a tractor loaded with almost 20 cubic metres of ipê (Tabebuia chrysotricha) and sapucaia (genus Lecythis) logs.

A promising initiative to address deforestation in Brazil at the local level

By Beto Veríssimo, mongabay.com, 5 March 2013 | The history of the Brazilian Amazon has long been marked by deforestation and degradation. Until recently the situation has been considered out of control. Then, in 2004, the Brazilian government launched an ambitious program to combat deforestation. Public pressure—both national and international—was one of the reasons that motivated the government to act. Another reason was that in 2004, deforestation contributed to more than 55 percent of Brazil’s total greenhouse gas emissions, making Brazil the fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

Ecuador: Amazon families split over lure of oil money

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 5 March 2013 | While they were growing up in their remote community deep in the Ecuadorean Amazon, Blanca Tapuy and her sister Innes were inseparable. As children, they would play together while their parents hunted monkeys and tapir with blowpipes and spears. After they married, they regularly met to drink chicha and keep up with the latest gossip as western modernity crept ever closer to their indigenous Kichwa community. Today, however, the sisters are at loggerheads, divided by an offer from the country’s biggest oil company, Petroamazonas, to start seismic surveys in their homeland of Sani Isla. Blanca declares she is willing to die to stop its advances. Innes passionately counters at community meetings that petrodollars are vital for the future prosperity of the community. "It makes me very sad," says Blanca. "We never fought before. We used to be so close. But now we barely talk."

Palm oil labelling will slash EU consumption – Dutch agency

By Ivana Sekularac, Reuters, 5 March 2013 | Palm oil consumption in Europe would be curbed when new rules start next year compelling food makers to label their products with the ingredient if used, the Dutch product board warned… But a wave of negative campaigning has targeted its cultivation, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia – a natural habitat for the orangutan – where activists say rain forests have been destroyed to make room for palm oil plantations. Frans Claassen, head of the Dutch Board for Margarine, Fats and Oils, which represents the industry, said the negative campaigns could force food producers to seek to replace palm oil, which would cut its imports and make products more expensive. "If palm oil keeps its bad reputation some food producers could stop using palm oil," Claassen told Reuters.

[USA] From ‘green dream team’ to B team

By Darren Samuelsohn and Darren Goode, Politico, 5 March 2013 | Environmentalists had high hopes four years ago when President Barack Obama loaded his administration’s top ranks with Clinton-era energy experts, green-job gurus and even a Nobel laureate. But that “Green Dream Team” — which struggled to sculpt new policies on air and water pollution, clean energy and climate change — has turned over the keys to what is more of a B team in the second term.

6 March 2013

Report: EU must retire carbon credits or see market credibility lost

By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 6 March 2013 | The European Union’s plans for reform its emissions trading scheme (ETS) will fail to deliver the desired increase in carbon prices unless they are accompanied by more drastic action. That is the stark warning contained in a new report released today by the London School of Economics (LSE) Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, which warns proposals to withhold the sale of carbon allowances will only defer the problems created by an over-supply of tradable EU allowances (EUAs). Brussels is currently considering a plan to "backload" the proposed sale of up to 900 million EUAs in an attempt to address the record low carbon prices that have resulted from a chronic oversupply of credits.

REDD+ and Business Sustainability: 5 Ways to Get Involved

By Brian McFarland, CSRwire, 6 March 2013 | Five ways for businesses to get involved in REDD+: There are several ways for a business to get involved in REDD+: Develop your own REDD+ project. Donate to a nonprofit organization (such as Carbonfund.org Foundation, Inc., Conservation International, or The Nature Conservancy) that is supporting REDD+ projects. Invest in a for-profit company (like Wildlife Works Carbon*) that is developing REDD+ projects. Invest directly into a particular REDD+ project, or Invest into a pooled fund (including the Terra Bella Fund) committed to REDD+ project investments. Editor’s Note: In partnership with Wildlife Works and Code REDD, CSRwire is sponsoring REDD+ Talks, a one-day free seminar that will be held at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, California on Earth Day, April 22, 2013 and feature leading high-profile experts on global warming, REDD+ and US & International climate change policy.

Organisations join forces to fight for forest communities

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 6 March 2013 | Organisations working collectively in Guatemala and Nepal are succeeding in giving a voice to people living in and around forests, experts say. They are also showing a willingness to challenge state laws and force authorities to be more accountable when managing the country’s dwindling natural resources. Though the dynamics of community-level institutions have been well documented, second-level organisations, as they are called, have received far less attention. But these forest-based social movements, which form alliances within the local government, conservationists, the timber industry and agricultural concessionaires, possess a unique power. While they usually accept a country’s political regime, they are able to mobilise their constituency to resist unpopular decisions, such as the restriction of villagers’ use of the state forestland.

7 March 2013

Investors Seek Ways to Profit From Global Warming

By Matthew Campbell and Chris V. Nicholson, Bloomberg, 7 March 2013 | Investing in climate change used to mean putting money into efforts to stop global warming. Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), and other firms took stakes in wind farms and tidal-energy projects, and set up carbon-trading desks. The appeal of cleantech has dimmed as efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have faltered: Venture capital and private equity investments fell 34 percent last year, to $5.8 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Now some investors are taking another approach. Working under the assumption that climate change is inevitable, they’re investing in businesses that will profit as the planet gets hotter. (The World Bank says the earth could warm by 4C by the end of the century.) Their strategies include buying water treatment companies, brokering deals for Australian farmland, and backing a startup that has engineered a mosquito to fight dengue…

Biodiversity in Logged Forests Far Higher Than Once Believed

By Fred Pearce, environment360, 7 March 2013 | Researchers have discovered a significant flaw in large swaths of ecological research into the impact of logging on tropical forests: Scientists have been dramatically overestimating the damage done by loggers, skewing conservation strategies paid for by the donations of millions of environmentally minded citizens. Logged tropical forests, new research suggests, are much more valuable for biodiversity than previously thought. Our understandable preoccupation with protecting pristine ecosystems may be blinding us to the fact that the forests that have been selectively logged deserve conservation, too. One immediate and troubling implication is that schemes backed by conservationists in Indonesia and elsewhere to turn “degraded” forests into palm oil plantations will do far more damage to nature’s biodiversity than the original logging.

Streamlining REDD+ to Confront the Growth and Spread of Tropical Forest Clearing

By David Wheeler, Center for Global Development, 7 March 2013 | The latest news from FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) is very bad. Figure 1 shows that the FORMA index of global forest clearing rose 60% from January, 2007 to October, 2012. It declined during the economic crisis, from late 2008 to early 2010, but has climbed steadily since then. To make matters worse, this increase has been accompanied by rapid dispersion of clearing. As Table 1 shows, only Brazil has displayed a significant decline during the past five years. The FORMA indicator has increased slightly in Indonesia and sharply in other regions of Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. In January, 2007, Brazil and Indonesia accounted for 77.3% of the global indicator total. By October, 2012, their share had fallen to 39.4%… Unfortunately, the evidence presented in Figure 1 and Table 1 suggests that time-consuming bilateral bargains under the aegis of REDD+ are becoming less attractive…

Improving Access and Equity for Smallholder Carbon Projects

Rainforest Alliance: The Frog Blog, 7 March 2013 | Jeff Hayward, director of the Rainforest Alliance’s climate program, weighs in on the challenges facing smallholders interested in participating in carbon projects. It is abundantly clear that there are systematic barriers to entry preventing smallholder participation in carbon projects. We’ve seen this firsthand, whether validating forest carbon projects or helping communities and smallholder farmers in the field in Mexico and Ghana to develop their own projects. The Rainforest Alliance is tackling some of these barriers in an effort to make the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards more accessible for smallholder-led projects. We’re doing this through a new project with the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) Ghana, and hand-in-hand with our staff in Ghana.

Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years, Study Says

By Justin Gillis, New York Times, 7 March 2013 | Global temperatures are warmer than at any time in at least 4,000 years, scientists reported Thursday, and over the coming decades are likely to surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice age. Previous research had extended back roughly 1,500 years, and suggested that the rapid temperature spike of the past century, believed to be a consequence of human activity, exceeded any warming episode during those years. The new work confirms that result while suggesting the modern warming is unique over a longer period.

UN Carbon Offset Role to Give Way to New Markets, IETA Head Says

By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 7 March 2013 | National carbon cap-and-trade measures will play a bigger role in climate-change efforts as the importance of offset mechanisms started by the United Nations wanes, the head of an emissions trading lobby said. The shift from a UN-led global carbon market toward national systems will encourage countries to link markets and trade pollution permits with each other, as Europe and Australia are doing, Dirk Forrister, chief executive officer of the International Emissions Trading Association, said yesterday. “The two emissions-trading systems may not be exactly the same, but policy makers still think it’s a good idea to link them,” Forrister said at a conference in Amsterdam. “The lesson to take is that maybe the value of the UN system is to give emissions-trading systems a common pedigree.”

EU likely to tackle carbon market overhaul this year: Hedegaard

Reuters, 7 March 2013 | The European Union is likely to start work on overhauling the world’s biggest carbon market in the second half of 2013 once it has reached agreement on a short-term fix to prop up prices, Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said. Prices of carbon emission allowances, central to EU climate policy, plunged this year as economic recession and slowing industrial production led to a surplus of allowances. Prices have been too low to drive investments in clean energy to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. Many EU nations "want us to move forward very quickly on the structural options" for a long-term reform of the market, Hedegaard said in an interview on Thursday. Long-term reform "should be something on the plate for the second half of this year," she said on the sidelines of a conference on climate change in Oslo. She predicted an end to a deadlock over the emergency fix in coming months.

[Guyana] Persistent illegalities allowed by GFC and GRA in timber exports – cocaine in digger mats

By Janette Bulkan, letter to the editor, Kaieteur News, 7 March 2013 | The Timber Regulation of the European Union (EUTR) came into force on Sunday 03 March 2013. This regulation makes it a criminal offence to import timber and other wood products which have been harvested illegally into the 27 States of the European Union. In Guyana, timber mats to support mechanical diggers in soft ground were found to have been made from illegally harvested timber and to have been stuffed with cocaine for smuggling from Guyana to The Netherlands (‘Timber company was suspended before 800lb cocaine bust’, Stabroek News, 27 February 2013). The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) knew of the illegalities, but still cleared the mats for export. The Guyana Revenue Authority then allowed 21 days to pass before taking action about the suspicious shipping container into which those mats had been packed for export.

[Norway] REDD+ – The Ultimate Connection or Disconnection of Environmental and Development Efforts?

UiO Centre for Development and the Environment, 7 March 2013 | This seminar will take a closer look at the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), and the international climate change mitigation initiative – REDD+. The seminar will focus on the consequences and challenges in combining international climate change policies with development efforts, from global to local level. Time and place: Mar 18, 2013 01:00 PM – 04:00 PM, SUM, Sognsveien 68.

Death of Hugo Chávez gives Venezuela a choice on climate change

By Guy Edwards and Susanna Mage, The Guardian, 7 March 2013 | Regardless of one’s position on el Comandante Hugo Chávez, the death of the Venezuelan president opens the door for a policy debate on a critical issue for Venezuela and the world’s security: climate change. As the 2015 deadline to create a new global treaty on climate change approaches, the question for the oil-rich country looms: will Venezuela be a key architect of an ambitious and equitable deal, or will it sabotage progress? The International Energy Agency reports that no more than one-third of proven fossil fuel reserves can be consumed prior to 2050 if we are to limit warming to 2C. Writer Bill McKibben pointed out that if Venezuela were to exploit its heavy crude oil and Canada’s tar sands are fully tapped, this would mean "game over" for the climate as both reserves would fill up the remaining "atmospheric space" or "carbon budget."

8 March 2013

Recent heat spike unlike anything in 11,000 years

AP, 8 March 2013 | A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near-record cooling to a heat spike. Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny marine organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until an unprecedented reversal in the 20th century. Scientists say it is further evidence that modern-day global warming isn’t natural, but the result of rising carbon dioxide emissions that have rapidly grown since the Industrial Revolution began roughly 250 years ago.

The need to jump-start REDD to save forests

By Michael Jenkins, mongabay.com, 8 March 2013 | At least US$7.3 billion has been pledged for REDD+ over the period from 2008 to 2015, with $4.3 billion pledged for REDD+ readiness during the fast-start period alone (2010-2012). In addition to these funds, private investors, private foundations, and others have been channeling financial support to developing countries for REDD+ and related programs for several years now. Despite the great momentum REDD+ has achieved, information regarding which activities are being implemented as well as the actual flows of financing to and within forest nations remains fragmented, incomplete, and often inaccessible. For example, national policy makers and donors are still unsure about how much pledged public funding is actually flowing. There is also a paucity of information revealing if and how private funding is moving in parallel, which types of organizations are implementing the majority of activities (e.g., large international consulting firms…

Gender analysis in forestry research: What policymakers should know

By Catriona Moss and Amelia Swan, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 8 March 2013 | Gender influences forest management: Gender influences individual’s roles in managing forests, their access to forests, and how they use forest resources. For non-timber forest products (NTFPs) there is incredible variation within and between countries for the types of products, and stages in production where men and women are engaged. For example, in southern Ethiopia, it is primarily women who tap and collect gum olibanum, while in northern and north western Ethiopia these activities are done by men. Unfortunately, there is a lack of data around women’s participation in many forestry activities as well as in large-scale forestry, which makes it difficult to obtain an accurate picture of their involvement. This may suggest that women’s roles in the forestry sector are invisible and informal, leading to poor working conditions and lower remuneration.

US$10M LCDS alternative livelihoods project for month-end launch

Stabroek News, 8 March 2013 | Stabroek Business has learnt that the long-awaited formal launch of the LCDS Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable Groups project, which will be administered by the Small Business Bureau situated within the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, will take place before the end of March. The formal launch of the project will essentially give life to the Small Business Bureau… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[India] Timber imports help J&K conserve forests

daijiworld.com, 8 March 2013 | In a bid to conserve a precious resource, the Jammu and Kashmir government has adopted a dual policy of liberalising timber imports and enforcing measures that have brought down timber smuggling by a staggering 99 percent. "From the year 2009 to 2013, the state imported 14.7 million cft (cubic feet) of timber from abroad and from other parts of the country and simultaneously brought down timber smuggling by 99 percent," Forest Minister Mian Altaf Ahmad told IANS. During this period, 1.2 million cft of timber grown in the state was also sold. "The different agencies of the state forest department sell dried and fallen trees only after the ban on felling of green trees was imposed by the Supreme Court in 1996," Ahmed said.

Land ownership disputes hamper Latin American carbon projects

By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters, 8 March 2013 | A spate of recent land ownership disputes is posing threats to several carbon emission-reduction projects under development in Latin America, putting at risk private investment and United Nations funding in those projects. An investment plan to address deforestation in Peru, a U.N.-funded avoided deforestation program in Panama, and a U.N. offset project in Honduras have all been affected by land-related disputes in recent days. Meanwhile, a Brazilian think tank said this week that almost 40 percent of the largest Amazon state faces uncertainty over land ownership. Uncertainty over how to deal with land ownership issues of large forest areas has kept hesitant investors away from the nascent market for carbon credits from projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

Norway drops Asian palm oil firms in show of green credentials

By Joachim Dagenborg and Alister Doyle, Reuters, 8 March 2013 | Norway’s $710 billion sovereign wealth fund has pulled out of 23 Asian palm oil companies after accusing them of causing deforestation, winning praise from environmentalists. It said it sold stakes in the firms after a review of companies that have cleared forests for palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. Palm oil is used in many foods and consumer goods such as soaps, lipstick and peanut butter. The fund is one of the world’s biggest investors, underpinned by Norway’s oil and gas assets. Last year it expanded its investment guidelines to include deforestation as a threat to future growth. Stakes in firms including Wilmar, KL Kepong and Golden Agri-Resources Ltd were sold during 2012, according to the fund’s annual report released on Friday.

9 March 2013

[Indonesia] URGENT CALL FOR ACTION – 4 day “fax-a-thon” to save beyond 1.2 million hectares of forest in Aceh Province, Sumatra

enoftheicons, 9 March 2013 | Aceh is preparing to open over 1, 2 million hectares of protected forest to make way for mining, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion. Its the equivalent of forest 17 times the size of Singapore, yet the Aceh government is currently fast-tracking new law for the spatial plan, and this new spatial plan will legitimize the disaster of destroying the last of Sumatra’s great forests, and laying the final blow to the Sumatran Rhinos, Elephants, Orangutans and Tigers once roaming Sumatran forest to become something only found in Zoos or history books.

10 March 2013

Tropical forests unexpectedly resilient to climate change

By Olive Heffernan, Nature, 10 March 2013 | Tropical forests are unlikely to die off as a result of the predicted rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases this century, a new study finds. The analysis refutes previous work that predicted the catastrophic loss of the Amazon rainforest as one of the more startling potential outcomes of climate change. In the most extensive study of its kind, an international team of scientists simulated the effect of business-as-usual emissions on the amounts of carbon locked up in tropical forests across Amazonia, Central America, Asia and Africa through to 2100. They compared the results from 22 different global climate models teamed with various models of land-surface processes. In all but one simulation, rainforests across the three regions retained their carbon stocks even as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increased throughout the century.

The grant of land to Amerindian communities is made under the State Lands Act not the Amerindian Act

By Melinda Janki (Justice Institute Guyana), letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 10 March 2013 | The Justice Institute Guyana welcomes the publication of the judgement in the case of Chang v Guyana Geology & Mines Commission and the Isseneru Village Council. Since the matter is on appeal I will not comment on the merits of the decision. When the oral judgment was delivered in court some weeks ago, the reaction was to attack the Amerindian Act 2006. It is clear from the court papers that the problems do not lie with the Amerindian Act 2006. Ill-informed criticism of the Amerindian Act 2006 achieves only one result – it leads Amerindians to believe that national law does not protect their rights. This is wrong. The Amerindian Act 2006 fully protects the rights of Amerindian peoples in Guyana. Conflict between mining and Amerindians is easily avoidable.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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