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REDD in the news: 8-14 April 2013

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REDD in the news: 8-14 April 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.

Carving up Laos: Land disputes rattle the government

By Marwaan Macan-Markar, The Edge Review, 5-11 April 2013 | “Local anger towards land-related issues has been discussed in the open more, certainly since 2011,” one Western diplomat confirmed. “From what we hear, some panic has set in within the party hierarchy. The reaction is to clamp down on the voices raising these issues. “There are people in the party and government who are profiting from corrupt land deals.” It is an issue that continues to dog Laos, which in 2012 ranked as the 160th most corrupt country in the world out of 183 surveyed by the global anti-graft watchdog, Transparency International. “The many local voices complaining about land conflicts were coming in the way of the deal makers,” the diplomat added.

8 April 2013

Policy Update #1: REDDy to Put the Jigsaw Together?

By Eugenia Recio and Alice Bisiaux, Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), 8 April 2013 | Financing is essential for REDD+ preparation in developing countries, who request predictable and public funding to establish the required elements for the MRV of emissions avoided and the implementation of safeguards… Since agreement on these issues was not reached in Doha, and in view of the termination of the UNFCCC body that addressed this issue, parties sought a new home for continuation of discussions on REDD+ finance. Propositions on establishing a specific REDD+ body were considered but did not achieve consensus in Doha and parties agreed to undertake a work programme on results-based finance in 2013, with a view to concluding by COP 19. They also agreed to request the 38th sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies to jointly initiate a process with the aim of addressing, inter alia, consideration of existing institutional arrangements or potential governance alternatives.

New colors of capitalism: REDD+ and the green economy

By Martha Pskowski, Climate Space 2013, 8 April 2013 | Negotiators, big NGOs, and companies In U.N. environmental summits are promoting the “Green Economy” as a win-win-win for people, the environment and business interests. Yet global South social movements denounce the Green Economy for serving the interests of transnational corporations and wealthy nations, and for stomping on the rights of those most impacted by climate change and environmental degradation. At the heart of the dispute is one big question– can capitalism solve the climate crisis? In January 2013 I traveled to Chiapas, Mexico to learn about the impacts of one Green Economy program, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), on local communities. In PopDev’s latest DiffernTakes article I describe the Green Economy and the dangers of REDD+.

Carbon capture: World Bank’s climate actions to “breathe new life” into carbon markets

Bretton Woods Project, 8 April 2013 | The World Bank has revealed details of its new climate change strategy, including promotion of carbon markets despite concerns from indigenous groups. While new conversations about the Bank’s energy investments are anticipated, further criticisms were made over its involvement in fossil fuels and hydropower projects… The Bank’s vice president for sustainable development, Rachel Kyte, elaborated further in a March interview that the question should not be what the Bank can do differently “to try to mitigate climate change and help build the resilience of the poor” but “what are the least number of most important things that need to be done at the global level”, including “getting a global price on carbon”. Moreover, the Bank’s low-income arm, the International Development Association (IDA), has identified climate change as a priority area, noting that “IDA is well placed to contribute to bridging the climate finance gap” (see Update 85).

World Bank to Strengthen Focus on Land Rights

By Carey L. Biron, Inter Press Service, 8 April 2013 | The World Bank will be placing stronger emphasis on issues of land tenure and socially and environmentally sustainable agricultural investing, it announced Monday. The bank, one of the world’s largest development lenders, also formally reiterated its concern over the large-scale corporate “land grabbing” that has affected vast swathes of Africa in recent years. “The World Bank Group shares these concerns about the risks associated with large-scale land acquisitions,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement from the bank’s Washington headquarters Monday. “Securing access to land is critical for millions of poor people. Modern, efficient, and transparent policies on land rights are vital to reducing poverty and promoting growth, agriculture production, better nutrition and sustainable development.”

Joint UC San Diego, World Wildlife Fund Program Aims to Unlock Forest Carbon Science and Conservation Funds

The University of San Diego, 8 April 2013 | The University of California San Diego and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will launch in August a new international certificate program in Advanced Terrestrial Carbon Accounting. Application and scholarship information can be found at http://extension.ucsd.edu/TCA. The deadline for applicants outside of the United States that require a visa is April 15. American applicants have until June 15 to apply. This unique program will train professionals from around the world on how to measure forest carbon – a key step to unlock new public funding to protect forests and fight climate change. The clearing and burning of more than 10 million hectares of tropical forests per year spews almost 200 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per second into the atmosphere, causing an estimated 15 percent of global human greenhouse gas emissions.

6 Simple Steps for Saving the World’s Rain Forests

By Daniel Nepstad, Take Part, 8 April 2013 | Lesson 5. Commodity roundtables (RSPO, RTRS, Bonsucro), Consumer Goods Forum companies, and other firms must commit to buy preferentially from counties/states/nations that are lowing their deforestation and from farmers who are making the transition to sustainability. Roundtables could add on jurisdiction-level reductions in deforestation to their principles and criteria; the CGF could also adopt incremental, jurisdiction-wide pathways to “zero net deforestation”. Lesson 6. REDD programs must move beyond their current association with isolated projects to become an integral part of the rural development transition, fostering flows of benefits that reward jurisdictions that are slowing deforestation. Few states or nations have begun to exercise the power of REDD as a policy framework for supporting the transition to low-deforestation, high-production rural development.

REDD+ and Business Sustainability: A Guide to Reversing Deforestation for Forward Thinking Companies – book review

By Gabriel Thoumi, mongabay.com, 8 April 2013 | Brian McFarland has published a concise, yet comprehensive, DōShort book titled REDD+ and Business Sustainability. REDD+ and Business Sustainability provides a detailed overview of REDD+ business case studies and industry best practices. The book also promotes REDD+ as a promising tropical forest conservation financing mechanism for forward-thinking companies who want to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions using independent third-party audited processes. REDD+ and Business Sustainability is a good read whether your company is interested in developing its own REDD+ project or contemplating an investment into a pooled fund, and whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the REDD+ industry, REDD+ and Business Sustainability has something to offer to a wide audience.

UN officials stress forestry as key to economic development and sustainability

United Nations News Centre, 8 April 2013 | The vital role of forests in global development and people’s lives as well as protecting these resources for future generations are at the heart of discussions at the Forum on Forests, senior officials said today, as the United Nations body began its current session. “The tenth session of the Forum is a timely opportunity to re-emphasize the critical role of forests in global development,” Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo told a news conference on the opening day of the two-week meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. “This is especially important given the ongoing deliberations on defining a post-2015 United Nations development agenda with sustainable development at its core,” he added.

[Bangladesh] Country’s forest cover increased by 5pc

The Daily Star, 8 April 2013 | Bangladesh had successfully stopped the trend of deforestation rather country’s forest coverage increased by around five percent during the regime of the government, said Environment and Forest Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud yesterday. He was addressing a workshop of United Nations climate financing mechanism in forestry sector REDD at Cirdap auditorium in the capital. Social afforestation was the key behind that massive success, he said. In 2011, Bangladesh joined the UN-REDD under which the developing countries receive overseas fund and other support to reduce carbon emission by conserving their natural forest. Currently the government is implementing two projects on corruption risk assessment and social impact assessment and monitoring reporting and verification with the support of UNDP and FAO. The event was chaired by Dr Ansarul Karim, a specialist on REDD.

Launch of final component of the REDD+ Community Carbon Pools programme in Cambodia

Fauna & Flora International, 8 April 2013 | The REDD+ Community Carbon Pools programme has reached a significant milestone as Fauna & Flora International (FFI) launches the Cambodian component to be the fourth and final region of the programme. An inception workshop was held earlier this month in Siem Reap to launch the REDD+ Community Carbon Pools programme in Cambodia. The programme, which was initiated in June 2011, shares knowledge gained from the practical implementation of reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) projects in Indonesia, Vietnam , the Philippines and now Cambodia.

Norway Minister calls WWF REDD+ efforts in DRC “Environmental work at its best”

WWF, 8 April 2013 | WWF’s efforts in DRC related to the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) have been called “environmental work at its best” by Norway’s Minister of the Environment, Bård Vegar Solhjell. The minister visited WWF projects in the Mai Ndombe region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in February 2013 during a trip to DRC to discuss cooperation on forest conservation and REDD+.The trip was also part of a USAID/CARPE program. Since 2009, Norway has contributed almost US$30 million to a range of forest conservation initiatives in the DRC. “WWF’s work here in the region is impressive,” said Minister Solhjell. “There seems to be great ownership by the villages, and WWF is obviously building trust with local people. This is environmental work at its best.”

9 April 2013

International Legal Frameworks for REDD+: Ensuring Legitimacy

By Rosemary Lyster, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 13/27, 9 April 2013 | This chapter sets out in detail the provisions for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) that have been negotiated and agreed upon at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change international negotiations. It raises concerns about the ability of tropical rainforest countries to adopt and implement the REDD+ provisions agreed upon, including the REDD+ safeguards. The chapter then focuses on a range of legal institutions which are necessary for ensuring the legitimacy of REDD+.

Entire planet will soon have rapid deforestation detection system

mongabay.com, 9 April 2013 | World Resources Institute (WRI) today unveiled a long-awaited tool that could revolutionize global forest monitoring, reports the UN Forum on Forests, which is meeting this week in Istanbul, Turkey. Global Forest Watch 2.0 is a platform that combines near-real time satellite data, forestry data, and user-submitted information to provide the most complete picture of the world’s forests ever assembled. The system has been developed over the last several years as a collaborative effort between WRI and other partners, including Google, the University of Maryland and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Although Global Forest Watch 2.0 isn’t slated to launch publicly until late this year, WRI demonstrated the system at the meeting to provide a sneak peak of a tool that could soon help governments, NGOs, local communities and companies fight deforestation.

UN Emission Credits Surge as Developers Delay Carbon Claims

By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 9 April 2013 | Emission credits issued by the United Nations surged 38 percent this month amid speculation that project developers are snapping up contracts in the market to meet commitments as they delay claims for carbon cuts, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Certified Emission Reductions for December traded at 40 cents ($0.52) a metric ton on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London after yesterday reaching a 12-week high of 43 cents. The contracts, issued by the UN to encourage investment in climate- protecting projects in emerging nations, are still down 91 percent from a year ago amid an oversupply. The low price means the cost of monitoring and verifying emission reductions can be more than developers make from selling the credits, James Cooper, an analyst at New Energy Finance in London, said in an e-mail. Instead, they’re buying credits in the market to meet agreements with buyers to deliver the greenhouse-gas emission offsets, he said.

Crunch vote nears that could kill EU carbon fix

By Barbara Lewis and Nina Chestney, Reuters, 9 April 2013 | Months of bitter argument culminate next Tuesday in a make-or-break vote on an attempt to prop up the European Union carbon prices, which plunged to record lows earlier this year. A proposal put forward by the European Commission last year to remove temporarily some of the glut of carbon allowances that has depressed the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was meant to be a quick and easy fix. But opinion is deeply divided and EU sources say a defeat in a plenary session of the Strasbourg parliament expected on April 16 would almost certainly kill the short-term plan.

Pro-poor Climate Finance: Is There a Role for Private Finance in the Green Climate Fund?

By Karen Orenstein, Friends of the Earth Blog, 9 April 2013 | Policymakers concerned with international climate finance, particularly board members of the nascent Green Climate Fund, should first be asking the question posed in our report: what are the needs of developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, as they confront the climate crisis? Only then can we consider whether private finance and support for the private sector help equitably and effectively meet those needs, and uphold the requirements of the GCF Governing Instrument and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Rather than lionize the role of the private sector, our report instead de-constructs ideological notions of “leveraging” private finance and examines the track record of the private sector, private financiers and development finance institutions in developing countries.

UNFF Director Outlines Expectations for UNFF10

Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), 9 April 2013 | Jan McAlpine, Director of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), conducted an interview with the UN News Centre highlighting expectations for the tenth session of the UNFF (UNFF10), which is convening under the theme, ‘forests and economic development.’ In her interview, McAlpine stresses the complexity of forests and their multiple functions in wealth and income generation, and how they can increase resilience to shocks. McAlpine notes that this complexity is one of the elements driving deforestation and forest degradation. She states that while the cash benefits from forests are often well recognized, the non-cash benefits, estimated at three times the value of cash benefits, tend to be overlooked. McAlpine suggests that if the full values of forests were counted, their value would likely be billions more than currently understood by policy makers and economists.

Margaret Thatcher: an unlikely green hero?

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 9 April 2013 | Margaret Thatcher will be remembered for her short lived "green period" in the late 1980s when she helped put climate change (or global warming as it was then known), acid rain and pollution on to the mainstream political map. Tutored by Sir Crispin Tickell, British ambassador to the UN in New York, she made several dramatic environment speeches. The first, to the Royal Society on 27 September 1988, galvanised the emerging green debate in Britain and helped swell the membership of groups like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. The ecological and scientific arguments she used were not new, but their impact was profound.

Bangladesh taking ahead REDD+: Hasan Mahmud

Global Post, 9 April 2013 | Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Sunday said Bangladesh has taken a major move to take the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) agenda ahead. Bangladesh joined the UN-REDD programme in August 2011. Hasan Mahmud said Bangladesh is now ready to move forward in a coordinated and planned way through the three phases of REDD+. “Bangladesh doesn’t see REDD+ as a climate-financing mechanism only; sustainable forest conservation and management and halting the trend of deforestation and degradation are also equally critical for Bangladesh as is the need to protect the livelihoods of millions of extreme poor,” he said.

[Cambodia] Soldiers detain REDD forest patrol members

By Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post, 9 April 2013 | Community forest patrollers in Oddar Meanchey’s Samrong district say they were forced to return saws and timber they seized from illegal loggers after soldiers detained and threatened them on Sunday. The 27-member patrol, funded by development NGO Pact as part of the REDD+ carbon credit program, was detained by two armed soldiers while returning to their office with two chainsaws and 100 planks of luxury timber they had seized on Saturday from four villagers felling trees in protected community forest, said representative Suon Sorn. “The armed soldiers blocked us between 3pm and 6pm, threatening to bring us to their garrison. We were hungry and tired and promised to return [the seized items],” he said, adding that the patrol returned the items yesterday. The soldiers had said the trees were being felled to construct a new building for their garrison, said community forest network provincial chief Sar Khlai.

Choking on China

By Thomas N. Thompson, Foreign Affairs, 9 April 2013 | China is the world’s worst polluter — home to 16 of the 20 dirtiest cities and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Recent headlines have been shocking: 16,000 decaying pig carcasses in Shanghai’s Whampoa River, dire air quality reports in Beijing, and hundreds of thousands of people dying prematurely because of environmental degradation. Most recently, the country has been shaken by a mysterious virus, H7N9, which has already killed six people and has spurred health authorities to order the slaughter of thousands of pigeons, chickens, and ducks thought to carry it. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has begun work on an H7N9 vaccine… Chinese leaders have argued that their country has the right to pollute, claiming that, as a developing nation, it cannot sacrifice economic growth for the sake of the environment.

[Indonesia] House to endorse controversial deforestation bill

By Margareth S. Aritonang, Jakarta Post, 9 April 2013 | The House of Representatives is expected to endorse the bill on combating deforestation later this week despite mounting criticisms that the bill could be used by the authorities to prosecute members of indigenous communities who have lived off the country’s forests for generations. The bill, which has been discussed at the House Commission IV overseeing forestry, agriculture, plantations and fisheries since 2010, will grant the Forestry Ministry the authority to determine forest areas, issue permits for business exploitation of the forests, as well as bringing criminal charges against those carrying out illegal activities in the forest area, including illegal logging. Article 15 of the bill, for example, makes it mandatory for anybody conducting any activity in forests to secure permit from the ministry.

Billionaires Among Thousands of Indonesians Found in Secret Offshore Documents

By Nicky Hager, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 9 April 2013 | Four more of Indonesia’s very richest are known for their role in clearing vast areas of tropical rainforest. Eka Tjipta Widjaja, the Salim family, Sukanto Tanoto and Prajogo Pangestu built their fortunes after they obtained licenses to log and clear rainforest during the Suharto years. Between them they have over 140 offshore companies, mostly in the British Virgin Islands. More recently Widjaja, Tanoto and Pangestu have invested heavily in palm oil plantations. A series of reports earlier this year from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting described palm oil as one of the most controversial commodities on earth. Palm oil plantations have replaced “swathes of rainforest the size of small countries”.

[Indonesia] APP’s Greener Approach to Business: A Simple Response to Market Reality

By Craig Miller, Jakarta Globe, 9 April 2013 | APP has recognized that its customers, and the customers of its customers, want to purchase products that are not made by destroying the environment. This is a market reality and APP has made a wise business decision. Companies that don’t change their product or business model as the market changes do not have a profitable future. Businesses only survive if they meet the needs of their customers.

Palm Oil for West Drives Exploitation in Malaysia

By Jason Motlagh, Pulitzer Center, 9 April 2013 | To the Malaysian government, Leonary Marcus officially does not exist. He is one of an estimated 50,000 stateless Indonesian children living in Sabah province, the country’s palm oil producing heartland. Thousands more have come from the Phillipines, born to workers that have arrived in waves since the 1970’s to fulfill a demand for cheap labor in what is now the world’s second-largest palm oil industry. Without papers that prove nationality, their children are likewise denied healthcare and education, while the rest of the region continues to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

10 April 2013

Civil Society Groups Urge Inclusive Forest Management Processes, as Tenth Session of United Nations Forum on Forests Continues

UN, 10 April 2013 | Civil society must have a say in how to sustainably manage the world’s forests, and activities involving woodlands must not threaten those whose livelihoods depended on those vital global resources, representatives of major groups said today as the United Nations Forum on Forests continued its tenth session today. Meeting through 19 April in Istanbul, Turkey, the Forum today convened a multi-stakeholder dialogue with civil society organizations, who shared their unique and vital perspectives on issues related to sustainable forest management. For the first time, the groups, representing youth, indigenous people, scientific and technical communities, women, farmers and small forest landowners, business community, forest workers, and major trade unions, presented a single discussion paper, on “forests and economic development”, the theme of the session.

Q+A: Forest-tenure reform advances, but questions remain

By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 10 April 2013 | In the past three decades, at least 200 million hectares of forest have been legally transferred to local communities or indigenous people. As a result, communities now own or manage slightly more than 11 percent of the world’s forests – and the figure is 22 percent in developing countries. “There is greater acceptance of the idea that people living in forests could be good forest managers and/or may have legitimate rights to them,” said Anne Larson, a senior scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), adding that the revolution in land tenure does not necessarily mean communities enjoy the full benefits of forest resources. As part of a research project on equity and livelihoods in community forestry, Larson and other researchers compared case studies from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

GEF support for forest management hits $500m

GEF press release, 10 April 2013 | In the 10th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii announced that financial support from the GEF for forest management programs has reached the half a billion US Dollar mark in the GEF-5 cycle. Recent achievements of the GEF-funded portfolio linked to the protection of all types of forests have been highlighted in several documents presented to the parties attending UNFF10, attesting to the effectiveness with which GEF-supported programs are delivering multiple benefits from forest investments in developing countries addressing long-term sustainability goals. “I see the generation of multiple benefits from forests as a central mandate of the GEF, one that has been embraced by both donor and recipient countries” said Ishii in her address to the UNFF’s high-level plenary.

Carbon deals cross borders

By Carey L Biron, Asia Times Online, 10 April 2013 | Nascent carbon emissions-trading exchanges in several countries are increasingly looking at options to interlink with one another, which advocates say would offer investors long-term stability, increase revenues for the development of renewable energy and strengthen corporate support for climate policy. Yet critics warn that so-called cap-and-trade systems are inefficient and create incentives for polluting industries to continue with business as usual. They also warn that the new systems in the United States are dependent on mechanisms that adversely impact on poor and indigenous communities in developing countries.

New video supports dialogue with forest communities on REDD+

WWF, 10 April 2013 | REDD+ practitioners around the globe have a new tool to use to dialogue with forest communities on REDD+, with the launch today of the video Engaging forest stewards in REDD+ dialogues. Produced by WWF’s Forest and Climate Initiative (WWF-FCI) (bit.ly/REDDlearn), the video explores different practices and includes interviews with leading experts around the world. This new social documentary video uses the power of stakeholder testimony to communicate the challenges and successes of engaging in REDD+ dialogues with indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) that are dependent on forests for their livelihood. It includes interviews with experts from a variety of organizations, providing different views and perspectives and giving the viewer insight into each. REDD+ practitioners who view the video can then gain knowledge and understanding to further their work.

[EU] Top ten reasons for voting “yes” to “backloading”

By David Hone (Shell), Climate Change Advisor to Shell, 10 April 2013 | After a day in Brussels listening to European MEPs, it is clear that the Parliament vote next week on the Commission proposal to backload the auctioning timeline in Phase III of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), is going to be very close. This is a policy proposal that was born out of the call by many participants in the EU ETS, as well as the European Parliament, to address the chronic allowance surplus and therefore begin to steer the CO2 price into a more useful range in terms of real action and investment. A positive vote on the proposal would also be the start of a more structured reform of the policy package designed to reduce emissions across the EU over the coming decades. But in the frantic days left before the vote, clarity and reason are struggling to be heard over the clamour of opposition, so here are the top ten reasons why an MEP should vote to support the “backloading” amendment…

Community-based management improves forest condition in an East African biodiversity hotspot… as more species continue to be discovered

BirdLife Community, 10 April 2013 | BirdLife and its Partners have compiled a report on the status and trends of biodiversity in the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya (EACF) between 2008 and 2012. The report is the second of its kind; the first ever EACF status and trends report was published in 2008. The new report is based on bringing together of data and information contributed from a wide range of sources. This process is particularly important for building strong cases for REDD+ projects at Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).

[Tanzania] Dar to Establish Carbon Monitoring Centre

Tanzania Daily News, 10 April 2013 | Tanzania is in the process of establishing a National Carbon Monitoring Centre through funding from the government of Norway, the National Assembly was told on Tuesday. Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, said here that a proposal for the centre is ready and that the government is finalising negotiations with Norway through their embassy in Dar es Salaam. Mr Nyalandu made the revelation in response to a basic question by Mkoani MP, Mr Ali Khamis Seif (CUF) areas earmarked for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project in Tanzania.

11 April 2013

Protecting land rights with Wikipedia-style maps

By Stella Dawson, TrustLaw, 11 April 2013 | Imagine whipping out your smartphone, walking the boundaries of your property and pressing “Send” to upload a map of your land to a common databank. You also could attach a photo of a legal contract proving your tenancy or ownership. Building land inventories, Wikipedia-style, would be a cheap and easy way for poor, rural communities to compile a record of property rights and land usage patterns. It also could reduce corruption and help lessen illegal land grabs, said companies promoting the technologies and advocates of crowdsourcing at a World Bank conference on Land and Poverty this week.

Fighting deforestation – and corruption – in Indonesia

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 11 April 2013 | [O]ne REDD+ project developer is attempting to take an ethical approach to getting his project off the ground. The process has proved to be a long one for Dharsono Hartono, an Indonesian who left a job on Wall Street to pursue a project he hoped would generate profit while at the same time helping save the planet. Nearly five years after starting the permit process for a project that aims to protect and restore an area of peatland in Central Kalimantan, Dharsono still doesn’t have a license for the project despite getting more than 350 initials and signatures from officials from various levels of government. "The journey started in May 2008. If you read everything carefully, you should get everything done in one year, max," he said, speaking last November at the TEDxJakSel conference in Jakarta. "We thought the application process would take a year, then we’d be selling credits and helping save the world," he told mongabay.com.

UK makes case for EU carbon plan

By Joshua Chaffin, Financial Times, 11 April 2013 | Rejecting a plan to shore up the EU’s troubled carbon market will imperil investments in green technologies, said Ed Davey, the UK energy secretary, as he sought to persuade reluctant members of the European parliament ahead of a key vote. The proposal, known as “backloading”, involves postponing the auction of some 900m carbon allowances in order to boost flagging prices in the EU emissions trading system, the world’s largest carbon market. After reaching nearly €30 a tonne in 2008, carbon prices have since collapsed to less than €5. The chief culprit has been a weak economy that has damped industrial activity and reduced the demand for the allowances, which give companies the right to emit carbon without penalty. The low prices, in turn, have removed an incentive for companies to invest in cleaner technologies and have cast doubt on the viability of a market that is the cornerstone of the EU’s climate change policy.

12 April 2013

Why are carbon markets failing?

By Steffen Böhm, The Guardian, 12 April 2013 | Carbon markets have lost us more than 15 years in the battle against climate change yet we continue to plough forward with scaling them up. Why? Some hope that this global expansion of carbon markets will revive their fortunes, helping to raise billions for investments in low-carbon and climate change mitigation technologies. Others, including myself, take a more evidence based approach, arguing that this hope of the pro-market lobby is unfounded, given the inefficient and even corrupt nature of carbon markets so far. There is an urgent need for alternatives to be considered, as the world is running out of time to curb the most serious impacts of run-away climate change.

German, U.K. Ministers Urge Support For Carbon Fix

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 12 April 2013 | Six environment and climate chiefs, including German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and U.K. Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Davey, pressed European Union lawmakers to back a rescue plan for the world’s biggest carbon market, as divisions persist before a key vote. The European Parliament is to decide April 16 on the future of a measure to enable delaying the sale of some permits in the EU’s 54 billion-euro ($70.8 billion) emissions trading system. The plan, designed to bolster prices in the cap-and-trade program by temporarily alleviating oversupply, has divided Parliament, governments and industry. “We’re struggling to explain to honorable members of the European Parliament how important it is to provide a signal we so badly need in order to make ETS more effective and to increase its attractiveness worldwide,” Altmaier told a conference in Berlin today.

Economics, Markets and Incentives for Livelihoods and Landscapes

Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature Blog, 12 April 2013 | Businesses operate in the realm of markets, and this week the Sustainable Food Lab brings together many of these market actors to discuss sustainability within their supply chains. However, there is also the question of how markets can benefits small-scale producers and local communities. As part of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy (LLS), a paper was recently produced on Rethinking Economics, Markets and Incentives: Using Economic Tools at the Landscape Level. This cross-cutting theme of markets and incentives in the LLS project sought to examine approaches that would support both sustainable landscape management and income and livelihood security among the rural poor.

Will Indonesia renew its moratorium on new forest conversion licenses?

By Diana Parker, mongabay.com, 12 April 2013 | Indonesia’s forestry minister has again said that the country will extend its two-year moratorium on primary forest and peatland conversion, which is set to expire next month. Speaking at the United Nations Forum on Forest (UNFF) in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this week, Minister Zulkifli Hasan said the moratorium would not limit economic growth in Indonesia, and would be part of a broader forest management strategy going forward, Antara News reported on Thursday. Forestry Ministry officials have since early this year said they supported extending the moratorium, despite opposition from the agricultural minister and the lucrative palm oil industry. Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono holds the final say in whether the policy, which was signed in 2011 as part of a $1 billion climate change mitigation agreement with Norway, will be continued and under what terms.

16th Eurasian Economic Summit – Once green Madagascar works for more forest land and biodiversity

By Madagascar Prime Minister Omer Beriziky, Daily News, 12 April 2013 | Since we are here in Istanbul, having participated in the two days preceding the ministerial segment of the “10th United Nations Forum on Forests,” I chose to focus my remarks on the relationship between the sustainable management of natural resources and economic development. Madagascar currently has forest cover of 10 million hectares. Separated from the African continent about 165 million years ago, it has exceptional biological diversity, with an endemic rate of 80 percent that gives it more than 9,700 unique plants and 770 unique vertebrates, most of which are found in the forests… Since 2001, Madagascar has been implementing five REDD plus pilot projects and methodological development covering its various ecosystems. Sales-carbon tests on the voluntary market began in 2006 and need to be reinforced by the signing of a new agreement by the end of this month…

Norway’s government pension fund divests from palm oil producers

By Sophia Gnych, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 April 2013 | Norway’s government pension fund – one of the world’s largest – has withdrawn US$ 314 million in investments from a string of companies that it says produce palm oil “unsustainably” – a move environmental advocates are likely to welcome because of links between the industry and deforestation. Palm oil is found in roughly 50 percent of packaged products on supermarket shelves and interest in using oil palm as a feedstock for biofuel is growing.

UK government throws weight behind private sector push to tackle deforestation

BusinessGreen, 12 April 2013 | The UK government has officially joined an innovative new public-private initiative designed to harness the power of private sector companies to tackle deforestation around the world. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed yesterday the UK would join the recently launched Tropical Forests Alliance 2020 group, which has been set up by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF). The CGF represents over 400 retailers and manufacturers, including Unilever, Tesco and Nestle, and has committed to eliminating all deforestation from palm oil, soya, beef, and paper supply chains by the end of the decade. The new Tropical Forests Alliance group aims to bring together businesses and governments to help create the policy environment that will ensure the CGF’s deforestation target is met.

13 April 2013

14 April 2013


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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