REDD in the news: 17-23 June 2013

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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.

REDD+ safeguards: more than good intentions? Case studies from the Accra Caucus

Accra Caucus, June 2013 | A volume of case studies from the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change was launched at the latest round of UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn, at a highly attended side event on June 11 2013 with the following speakers: Pasang Dolma Sherpa from the Indigenous Peoples Network NEFIN in Nepal, Adrien Sinafasi of the indigenous Peoples Dynamic Group (DGPA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benardus Steni of HuMa, Indonesia, and Eric Parfait Essomba of the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Cameroon. Jean La Rose, of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) in Guyana could not travel to Bonn for the event. This is the third volume of case study reports from the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate Change, reporting on the implementation of REDD+ in the following countries; Guyana, Nepal, Indonesia, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

17 June 2013

Climate Commission report says 80 per cent of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground

By Sarah Clarke, ABC News, 17 June 2013 | The latest Climate Commission report has warned that 80 per cent of global fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground if the planet is to avoid dangerous climate change. The paper says global emissions need to trend downward by the end of the decade to keep temperatures at a "manageable" level. Professor Will Steffen, a climate commissioner who co-authored the report, says reaching the goal will be a challenge, given greenhouse gas concentrations are now at the highest level on record. "We have to get global emissions trending downward by the end of the decade to have any reasonable chance of meeting that 2 degree target. We need to make the right investment decisions," he said. "We have to leave most of the fossil fuels in the ground and of course that has obvious implications for investment decisions this decade."

World can’t wait until 2020 on climate change, says new, highly-disturbing International Energy Agency report

By David Crane, hilltimes.com, 17 June 2013 | Now comes a new and highly-disturbing report from the International Energy Agency warning that “the world is not on track to limit the long-term rise in the average global temperature to two degrees Celsius,” and that, based on the present course, the long-term average temperature increase is likely to be somewhere between 3.6 degrees Celsius and 5.3 degrees. Such an increase would bring highly disruptive change that would not only be hugely costly but deeply threatening to human society. Scientific evidence shows that “our climate is already changing and that we should expect extreme weather events (such as storms, floods, and heat waves) to become more frequent and intense, as well as increasing global temperatures and rising sea levels,” the IEA warns.

Trade fears blocking progress on REDD+ at UN climate talks

By Christina MacFarquhar and Matt Leggett (Global Canopy Programme), RTCC Climate Change News, 17 June 2013 | Negotiators at last week’s UN climate change negotiations in Bonn wrestled with the question of how to go about discussing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation – the source of about 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Central to this discussion are the strong market incentives, operating on a global scale, that currently drive the production of commodities in ways that destroy forests. That means discussing international trade. However, some negotiators argued that questions relating to trade should be left out of the talks altogether. And their reason seems straightforward: trade is the domain of the World Trade Organisation, while climate change sits under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

What Fighting Deforestation Can And Can’t Achieve

By Jeff Spross, Climate Progress, 17 July 2013 | The problem is the sheer scale of the numbers surrounding the global forest carbon sink. In 2010, fossil fuel burning, cement production, land use — including deforestation — dumped a grand total of 36.7 billion metric tons into the atmosphere. But only half stayed there. (Deforestation’s 17 percent contribution was to that final atmospheric amount.) The rest was absorbed by the oceans and the land, the latter including the forest carbon sink’s 4 billion metric ton contribution… After assuming relatively high levels of economic and population growth a 2007 study, found that reducing present deforestation rates by 50 percent by 2050, and then holding the line until 2100, could prevent as much as 50 billion metric tons of carbon emissions this century. That’s 12 percent of what’s needed through 2100 to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of carbon at 450 parts per million…

UN-REDD Presents Options for Private Sector Engagement

Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), 17 June 2013 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) released a publication on private sector engagement in REDD+. The report, titled ‘The Role of the Private Sector in REDD+: the Case for Engagement and Options for Intervention,’ highlights the role of two groups of private sector stakeholders: those involved in verifying emission reductions; and those involved in forestry and the forest sector. According to the report, the engagement of private sector stakeholders is necessary if sufficient resources are to be mobilized for REDD+ to reduce forest degradation and deforestation rates.

Forests – The Heart Of A Green Economy

UNEP, 17 June 2013 | Forests provide livelihoods for up to 1 billion people and contribute trillions of USD to the global economy through products and services. Yet in some regions, deforestation continues at an alarming rate. As REDD+ aims to address market, policy, and institutional failures that undervalue the climate change mitigation service provided by the forest ecosystem, while protecting the rights of those who rely on the forests, there are clear links between REDD+ objectives and green economy objectives, both of which call for a change in the business-as-usual economic development in order to slow the loss of natural capital. This short film feature examples from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia and Ecuador, highlighting the potential challenges and opportunities of including REDD+ in the transition to a green economy.

Negotiations: In Bonn, one advisory group’s loss is another’s gain

By Tiffany Stecker, Climate Wire, 17 June 2013 | "It has been said that the lack of activity gave rise to the ability to do more work in the SBSTA," said Stephen Leonard, president of the Climate Justice Program. Negotiators were able to find compromise on the contentious issue of verifying carbon emissions from forests preserved through Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a program that pays countries to keep forests standing. REDD+ talks in Doha broke down on wealth lines… The SBSTA also agreed on controversial text on reporting safeguards for biodiversity and indigenous people living in forests, a topic that stirred objections at the climate summit in Durban, South Africa, in 2011 and was not addressed in Doha. In Durban, countries agreed to report on safeguards to the UNFCCC every four years but didn’t specify a date for the first reports or whether more frequent reporting would be necessary.

Can China achieve success with carbon trading scheme?

By Puneet Pal Singh, BBC News, 17 June 2013 | Over the past few years China has earned itself quite a few crowns in the "world’s-biggest" category. It has become the world’s biggest internet market, largest car market, biggest exporter… the list goes on and on. While Beijing takes a lot of pride in some of these achievements, there is one title that it wants to let go of sooner rather than later, that of being the world’s biggest polluter. And in an attempt to do so, China has launched a pilot project of its first ever carbon trading scheme in Shenzhen. "This is definitely a big game-changer for China," says Winnie Tang, a director with Kind Resources, an investment and deal advisory firm which focuses on carbon emission reduction. "It is a clear indication that they are serious about reducing emissions and bringing down pollution levels."

REDD+ can achieve global mitigation and local livelihoods! Evidence from dryland Kenya

By Joanes Atela, United Bank of Carbon, 17 June 2013 | [A] recent working paper published under the STEPS Center, at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University, has yielded some interesting evidence on how a particular REDD+ project works with the community to achieve both global goals of mitigation and local livelihood expectations. The study explored the governance and feasibility of the Kasigau project in Kenya, Africa’s first REDD+ project accredited under internationally accepted standards (VCS and CCBS). The Kasigau project was initiated by a US based private company ‘Wildlife Works’ and works with local communities in a relatively vulnerable area in the Kenyan Coast to conserve about 500,000 acre dryland forest. The dryland forest is made of group ranches and community trust lands that form a wildlife corridor, linking Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, the two largest wildlife protection areas in Kenya.

[UK] Politics: Veteran of climate talks begins to feel slight momentum toward progress

By Jeremy Lovell, ClimateWire, 17 June 2013 | Climate change is slowly starting to crawl back up the political agenda both domestically and internationally after years in the doldrums following the chaos of failed climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009. Still, it has a mountain to climb, according to John Ashton, the United Kingdom’s former climate change ambassador. In part it is being revived by public shock over recent violent weather disasters, such as the multibillion-dollar flooding in Central Europe and the tornadoes, continuing drought and dangerous forest fires burning in the American West. Then there is the puzzle of the very late and short spring in Europe this year. Ashton says events like these have reawakened public awareness that something is wrong.

US, Indonesia committed to increasing carbon trade cooperation

Antara News, 17 June 2013 | The United States is committed to increasing bilateral cooperation in carbon trade with Indonesia. The commitment was revealed in a meeting between Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and US Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International and Scientific Affairs Kerri-Ann Jones at the former`s office here on Monday. In the meeting Zulkifli Hasan said that the Indonesian people had begun losing their confidence in international cooperation in carbon trade. "She (Kerri-Ann Jones) said it was indeed not easy to unite international countries. Therefore the US has expressed its commitment to increasing the cooperation," the minister said after the meeting. The cooperation program would be immediately formulated but it would not be in the form of aid but partnership cooperation through USAID and others, he said.

18 June 2013

Governing resources collectively: Parallels between developed and developing countries

By Bimbika Sijapati Basnett adn Maria Ojanen, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 June 2013 | Taking a trip to the rural areas of Japan offers something else – in addition to the industrially efficient, technology oriented society with a crave for adorable accessories and definite love for raw fish. Japanese society is more than the humble citizens of the emperor; it also has sustained collective institutions to manage common pool resources. So to organize the 14th conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) in Fujiyoshida city at Mount Fuji wasn’t as strange a choice as some might have originally thought. The study of the commons as pioneered by the Nobel Prize winning political scientist Elinor Ostrom, has been celebrated for questioning the inevitability of the “tragedy of the commons”, and the role of local communities in coming up with more effective and sustainable solutions to collective action than the state and private sector.

What gets measured, gets done: valuing the benefits of REDD+

The UN-REDD Programme blog, 18 June 2013 | Emerging market and developing economies grew by 5.1% in 2012. However this has often been at the expense of the planet’s forests. This link needs to broken, but as PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index last year showed, it has been hard for many countries to break. Our analysis reveals a number of interesting relationships between economic activity and forest emissions over time. Brazil managed to reduce its annual emissions from deforestation (albeit from a high baseline) while increasing GDP and Russia also appears to have started to decouple economic growth from forest emissions. However, Indonesia’s increase in GDP has been accompanied by a steep increase in forest carbon emissions. The UN-REDD Programme’s latest policy brief outlines some ways in which the challenge of engaging the private sector could be overcome.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 June 2013 | The voluntary carbon market grew 4% in 2012, offsetting 101 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and transacting more than $523 million, according to the 2013 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report. On May 29-31 in Barcelona, Spain hundreds of carbon stakeholders from around the world gathered at a CARBON EXPO side event for the launch of the 2013 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report Executive Summary. To discover the latest findings from the report, continue reading below or download the Executive Summary here!

[Botswana] Court reprieve for Bushmen threatened with eviction

Survival International, 18 June 2013 | Dozens of Botswana Bushmen threatened with eviction, reportedly because they live in an area proposed as a ‘wildlife corridor’, have won a significant court victory in their struggle to stay on their land. Since the wildlife corridor between the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was proposed, the local and national authorities have pressurized the Ranyane Bushmen to leave. The corridor project was promoted by the US organization Conservation International (CI) – Botswana’s President Khama sits on Conservation International’s board.

China launches its first carbon trading scheme

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 18 June 2013 | China has launched its first pilot carbon emission trading scheme in the southern city of Shenzhen. Shenzhen is one of seven pilot cities for the scheme aimed at reducing pollution from greenhouse gases before a national program is implemented. The seven pilots will account for 700 million tonnes of carbon by 2014. Deputy CEO of the Climate Institute Irwin Jackson has told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific program the scheme is a significant step for China. "China has been taking action to reduce pollution and encourage clean energy industries for a number of years now," he said. "But this is the first time we’ll actually see the emergence of an absolute cap on emissions."

China takes cautious step toward carbon emissions trading

By David Stanway, Reuters, 18 June 2013 | China launched its first pilot carbon emissions exchange on Tuesday, though plans for a nationwide rollout and efforts to apply the scheme to some polluting heavy industries could be undermined by a slowdown in the world’s No.2 economy. High-emission industries such as aluminum and steel are likely to resist higher costs as they are already battling weak prices due to tepid demand and a persistent supply gut. "It is a very big concern for Beijing and for local governments – how to strike a balance between controlling emissions and maintaining economic growth especially amid a general slowdown in the economy," said Shawn He, lawyer and carbon specialist at the Hualian legal practice in Beijing.

China in carbon trading experiment

BBC News, 18 June 2013 | China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is to launch its first carbon trading scheme as a pilot project in Shenzhen. The test scheme, which will be rolled out to seven areas by 2014, could be spread across the country after 2015. Beijing is aiming to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of gross domestic product by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2020. The government has previously faced pressure to reduce pollution in cities.

[Indonesia] RI, US talk deforestation, environment and trade

By Anggi M. Lubis, Jakarta Post, 18 June 2013 | The government will engage the US through a business forum to fight deforestation, reduce carbon emissions and increase trade. Kerri-Ann Jones, US assistant secretary of state for oceans, international environmental and scientific affairs, said during her visit to the Forestry Ministry on Monday that a Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) dialogue — formed through a public-private partnership (PPP) — would address deforestation associated with the sourcing of commodities such as palm oil, paper and pulp. Current TFA 2020 membership includes the Consumer Goods Forum — a network of over 400 companies with annual sales topping US$3 trillion — and the governments of the US, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. “When we are thinking about economic growth, the private sector must be a strong partner,” Jones told reporters after the meeting.

[USA] Hey Facebook, Google: Need carbon credits?

By Wendy Culverwell, Sustainable Business Oregon, 18 June 2013 | A commercial tree farm near Prineville is being marketed as a possible carbon sink. Ochoco Lumber Co. is selling its 32,475-acre Foley Butte Block ponderosa pine farm in a sealed bid auction. The published reserve price is $18.5 million, or about $569 an acre. The property boasts about 80 million board feet of standing ponderosa that will grow to 260 million board feet by the time it’s ready for harvest in 25 years. Realty Marketing NW, which is handling the auction of Foley Butte, is marketing the property as an “exceptional carbon sequestration opportunity” for an owner working in partnership with a conservation organization. “The Foley Butte Block may be the only commercial tree farm in North America located twelve miles from data centers owned by Facebook and Apple that has potential for carbon credits” said John Rosenthal, president of Realty Marketing.

19 June 2013

The private sector in REDD+ and green economies – from convening and coordinating, to pushing and pulling

By Will McFarland (ODI), The UN-REDD Programme blog, 19 June 2013 | In the pursuit of a green economy, how we address the role of the private sector in contributing to deforestation and degradation, and its role in achieving REDD+, is currently very muddy. We need some tweaks in how we conceptualise the private sector and its actions to dig ourselves out. But if we can do this, we create scope to influence huge sums of money towards achieving REDD+ and green economies. In a green economy, environmental friendly decision making must become the norm. The whole economy will need to be shaped such that everyone acts and invests in this way and that action goes further than it does today. It will not be feasible to continually ask for financial compensation for extra costs compared to business-as-usual actions on such a scale.

New carbon standard to promote benefits for women

By Megan Rowling, Reuters, 19 June 2013 | A forester by training, Jeannette Gurung says it’s been a “lifelong struggle” to win recognition for women’s role in managing trees and other natural resources. And when it comes to climate change, she is frustrated that women are mostly portrayed as victims of its impacts rather than part of the solution. "The world view sees women as secondary citizens, who are not usually primary actors, but are more like charity cases," the founder and director of Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), a network that pushes for women’s empowerment, told Thomson Reuters Foundation from Bangkok. Gurung’s response was to develop a new standard for carbon-cutting projects – the Women’s Carbon Standard (WCS) – that aims to compensate women for adopting clean energy technologies, more fuel-efficient cook stoves or water filtration systems.

Tracking REDD+ finance

International Climate Initiative, 19 June 2013 | With its new REDDX website, Forest Trends has created an online database on the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) that governments and other stakeholders can use to track exactly where funds are flowing for the implementation of the REDD+ mechanism. The REDDX acronym stands for ‘Forest Trends REDD+ Expenditures Tracking Initiative’. The Initiative is dedicated to tracking and analysing information about the sources, uses, management and disbursement dates of REDD+ expenditures. Currently, the website shares finance data from Ecuador, Brazil, Ghana and Viet Nam; data will soon be added from other countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Tanzania and Colombia.

Althelia Seeking Emissions Cuts Raises Cash to Curb Forest Loss

By Sally Bakewell, Bloomberg, 19 June 2013 | A fund managed by Luxembourg-based Althelia Climate Fund GP Sarl raised more than 60 million euros ($80 million) from investors to prevent forest loss. The Althelia Climate Fund will invest in initiatives in Africa, Latin America and Asia that conserve forest and prevent unsustainable land use, according to a statement on the fund’s website. Althelia plans to raise as much as 200 million euros in the next year, the statement showed… The fund will invest in commodities and agricultural produce as well as emissions reductions created through forest protection, according to the statement. Althelia won as much as 25 million euros from the European Investment Bank and received contributions from the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd., a development finance company, among others, it said.

Conserving top predators results in less CO2 in the air

By Tanya Dimitrova, mongabay.com 19 June 2013 | What does a wolf in Yellowstone National Park have in common with an ambush spider on a meadow in Connecticut? Both are predators and thus eat herbivores, such as elk (in the case of wolves) and grasshoppers (in the case of spiders). Elk and grasshoppers also have more in common than you probably imagine: they both consume large quantities of plant matter. While scientists have long-known that predators lead to carbon storage by reducing herbivore populations, a new study reveals a novel way in which top predators cause an ecosystem to store more carbon. The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that by forcing herbivores to be more vigilant, carnivores indirectly reduce the grazing pressure on the plants. If you are a grasshopper and there are spiders in the area, you are definitely not grazing while you are looking out for them.

A Troubled Start for Cambodia’s Carbon Credits

By Zsombor Peter and Kuch Naren, The Cambodia Daily, 19 June 2013 | Since 2007, the NGO Pact has been working with the government to turn 68,000 hectares of forest in Oddar Meanchey province into a moneymaking venture for the state just by keeping trees in the area standing. As part of the plan, Pact brought on board a U.S. brokerage, Terra Global Capital, to help sell the forest’s carbon credits to environmentally conscious firms in the West. Together, after years of preparatory work, the pair were finally closing in on approval of the project and a few months ago had even lined up two private buyers ready to spend nearly $1 million on the first batch of carbon credits from Oddar Meanchey. But when the deciding moment came last month to put pen to paper, there was a glitch. According to Pact, when the May 20 deadline they had set for the government to sign off on the carbon credit deal came and went without a signature, the two buyers … simply walked away.

MEPs support compromised EU ETS backloading plans

Utility Week, 19 June 2013 | Proposals to withhold carbon allowances from the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in an attempt to boost the carbon price have been supported again by the European Environment (ENVI) committee. MEPs voted through the plans today (19 June) to withhold 900 million carbon allowances scheduled to be auctioned between 2013-15, in an attempt to boost the low carbon price. The compromised package would see the allowances reintroduced to the market in a "predictable and linear manner starting from the year following that during which allowances have last been withheld". This differs from the original plan – rejected by the European parliament in April – which proposed returning the carbon credits between 2019 and 2020. ENVI chairman Matthias Groote said: "We now have broader support for a solution that will allow the ETS to fulfil its purpose and support innovation to tackle climate change."

[India] Success: Soliga tribe’s forest rights upheld in court

Survival International, 19 June 2013 | A village belonging to the Soliga tribe in southern India has won an important court victory after its entire stock of honey – its key source of livelihood – was seized by local forestry officials in May. The community, with the support of local organizations, took the matter to court – and won. A Soliga man told Survival, ‘In my village, Hosapodu, we are very happy that we can continue with our work’. The confiscation of honey was in direct violation of the 2006 Indian Forest Rights Act, which recognizes the rights of India’s tribal peoples, such as the Soliga, to live in and from their forests, and protect and manage their land. Tribal peoples like the Soliga have been living with and protecting the wildlife in their forests for countless generations. However many forestry officials still believe that forest and tiger conservation requires the removal of all people from the forests.

[Indonesia] RI launches green initiative in cooperation with int’l group

By Anggi M. Lubis, Jakarta Post, 19 June 2013 | The government launched on Tuesday a two-year green growth initiative as part of its commitment to promoting environmentally friendly development as well as a sustainable economy. The initiative was prepared with the help of South Korea-based Global Green Growth Institution (GGGI). Deputy Minister for National Development Planning Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo said that the Green Growth initiative would help the country balance its economic growth and sustainable economy in accordance with its growth target and commitment to maintaining environmental resilience… “The three components are greening the planning process mainly by carrying out the MP3EI [the Indonesian Economic Development Acceleration Masterplan], formulating a funding mechanism for REDD+ to catalyze green growth and supporting key provincial governments in the prioritization and implementation of green growth,” Lukita said.

20 June 2013

REDD+ emissions verification could lead to results-based aid financing

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 June 2013 | Concerns among developing countries about REDD+ “aid conditionality” — development aid payouts made based on achieving certain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions — are creating a barrier in international climate negotiations, a new report states. A REDD+ Effectiveness Assessment should be established to verify emission reductions at a national level, so that targets are transparent and measurable, said Michael Dutschke, director of biocarbon consult, an international network for landscape management, climate and biodiversity, in his recent paper “Key issues in REDD+ verification”. “Much technical work to do with forest monitoring systems and reporting emissions is put at risk by the disagreements related to reliable finance for REDD+ countries and to verification — issues that are intrinsically linked,” he said.

Can REDD+ Work for People & Forests? New Study

By Jonathan Adams, The Nature Conservancy, 20 June 2013 | Quick Study is just what it says — a rapid-fire look at a new conservation science study that might turn some heads. The Study: Lawlor, K, E.M. Madeira, J. Blockhus, and D. J. Ganz. 2013. Community participation and benefits in REDD+: A review of initial outcomes and lessons. Forests 4, 296-318; doi:10.3390/f4020296 The Findings: The authors found that just over 50% of the 40 REDD+ projects they analyzed provided modest but tangible economic benefits for communities — ranging from jobs to payments to in-kind contributions such as electrification projects or roads. While that may be good news for some communities, the benefits may not be substantial enough to make a real contribution to reducing rural poverty.

[Australia] New tool makes carbon credit calculations much easier

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 20 June 2013 | Charles Darwin University’s Centre of Bushfire Research has today launched an online tool to make calculating carbon credits much easier. It’s good news for Indigenous land owners and pastoralists, who up until now have had trouble with the complex systems to work out the carbon credit value of their fire management efforts. Research Fellow, Dr Andrew Edwards, says the Savanna Burning Abatement Tool, or SavBAT, is going to completely change the way carbon calculations are done. "This is a web based tool and all you have to do is put in a little map of your area, showing the vegetation, and it’ll calculate all your greenhouse gas emissions abatement. "It’s a revolution.. you’ll have a project ID, you’ll upload your veg map and then a PDF comes out with all of the answers," he said.

Straightening Out Accounts on Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

By Fabiana Frayssinet, IPS, 20 June 2013 | The bold strategy implemented by the Brazilian government has achieved an 84 percent reduction in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in the last eight years. But when the natural resources and pesticides used in agricultural production are taken into account, the environmental progress made is not so impressive. The achievement was announced this month by leftwing Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her environment minister, Izabella Teixeira, in the tone of “mission almost accomplished,” Francisco Oliveira, the director of policies against deforestation in the environment ministry, told IPS. Between August 2011 and July 2012, 4,571 square kilometres in the Amazon were deforested – the lowest annual rate since the Institute of Space Research (INPE) began satellite monitoring in 1988, and 27 percent lower than in the previous 12-month period.

Parliament committee votes to prop up EU’s ailing carbon market

EurActiv, 20 June 2013 | The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has given its support to a compromise plan to boost the price of allowances on the EU’s carbon market. To become law, the proposal to temporarily remove some of the glut of permits that has weighed on prices still needs to win backing from a plenary session of the parliament next month in Strasbourg, and from EU member states. Traders said the market had already priced in a positive vote and allowances on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) fell by 3.6% to €4.53 a tonne short after the vote on Wednesday (19 June). After a defeat of the proposal in a full session of the European Parliament in April, the carbon price fell to a record low of less than €3 a tonne. British MEP Chris Davies, spokesman for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe on the committee, indicated that the deal was far from perfect.

Policy makers in Indonesia choose community participation as best for the future

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 June 2013 | Decision makers in West Kalimantan, Indonesia believe that mining, agriculture and oil palm developments are inevitable, but they now know that the negative impacts don’t have to be. Rather, local leaders in the one of the only forested areas left in the Indonesian province have begun learning how to anticipate and prepare for the economic and environmental impacts of potential investments, thanks to a participatory scenario planning method developed as part of the Collaborative Land-use Planning and Sustainable Institutional Arrangements (CoLUPSIA) project. “Huge investment is likely to bring both opportunities and challenges for development and there needs to be frank debate,” said Bayuni Shantiko, scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research and author of a report on the use of a method called Participatory Prospective Analysis developed by CIRAD.

Hotspots expose gaps in Indonesia’s forest moratorium

Eco-Business.com, 20 June 2013 | Half the fire hotspots that are causing the severe haze in Singapore and Malaysia are in areas that should be protected by Indonesia’s forest moratorium, said Greenpeace International on Thursday. The environmental NGO said in a statement that half the hotspots detected between June 11 to 18 are in areas meant to be protected… Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Yuyun Indradi, said: “The fact these fires continue to affect the region shows just how poorly forest protection measures are enforced in Indonesia. But corporations must also take responsibility for their supply chains, commit to zero deforestation and stop the sort of illegal practices such as fire clearing that is destroying our forests and clogging our air.”

Singapore smog from Indonesia fire ‘could last weeks’

BBC News, 20 June 2013 | Singapore’s prime minister has warned that the haze engulfing the city-state could last for weeks, as air pollution soared to record levels. The pollution standards index peaked at 371 on Thursday, breaking previous records and well above hazardous levels, before falling to about 300. The haze is the result of forest fires started by farmers clearing land on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The issue has sparked accusations between the two neighbours. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources Minister, wrote on his Facebook wall that he would demand "definitive action" from Jakarta.

A tour round an endangered wildlife market in Indonesia – in pictures

The Guardian, 20 June 2013 | Got a spare $200? That’s all you need to pick up an orphaned, caged orangutan at this market in Aceh, Sumatra. For three years the market has openly traded endangered species such as sun bears and pangolins, in conditions so bad that some animals die of neglect.

[Peru] ‘Jaguar people’s’ urgent appeal to oil company’s shareholders

Survival International, 20 June 2013 | An Amazonian tribe has sent an urgent appeal to shareholders of Canadian-Colombian oil giant Pacific Rubiales to protect the lives of uncontacted Indians in Peru, whose survival is threatened by the company’s work on their land. In an urgent video message Salomon Dunu, a member of the Matsés tribe, said, ‘Our uncontacted brothers live in the forest, we have heard them many times so we know they exist… Tell the world that the Matsés are firm in our position against the oil company. We do not want it on our land.’ … The Matsés and Survival International have sent the message to hundreds of shareholders – including Citigroup, JP Morgan, General Electric, Blackrock, HSBC, Allianz, Santander and Legal and General – urging them to divest from Pacific Rubiales.

21 June 2013

Global Symposium discusses the integration of REDD+ into Green Economy

UN-REDD press release, 21 June 2013 | The role of forests and land use is becoming increasingly important in the discussions regarding the transition to a Green Economy. Over the past three years, the UN-REDD Programme has developed a body of work on ensuring that REDD+ and a Green Economy transformation are mutually reinforcing, based on pilot activities in a number of partner countries. The Government of Indonesia and the UN-REDD Programme in partnership with the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID), the World Agroforestry Centre, the Global Green Growth Institute, and the Overseas Development Institute, jointly convened a global symposium today which reflected on lessons learned during these pilot activities, with the aim of giving key decision makers a better business case for protecting and restoring forests, and a more informed basis for linking REDD+ planning and investments with green economy efforts.

Q+A: How do local forest communities in the Amazon feel about REDD+?

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 June 2013 | Relatively little is known about how local forest people feel about schemes to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (known as REDD+), even though their participation contributes to equitable, efficient and effective outcomes. Marina Cromberg, a consultant researcher for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Brazil, has been working with communities in the Amazon to find out what they think. Her research has just earned her a Prof. Elinor Ostrom International Fellowship on Practice and Policy on Commons, awarded to early-career researchers who explore linkages between research, practice and policy in the management of common resources. Forests News caught up with Cromberg after the presentation ceremony at the 14th Global Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) to find out more about her research.

[China] Yunnan launches carbon offset program

GoKunming, 21 June 2013 | Earlier this week China held its first ever National Low Carbon Day (全国低碳日). Several of the mainland’s megacities instituted cap and trade programs aimed at limiting pollution levels. Yunnan, although not required to participate by Beijing, launched a carbon sequestration program of its own. In a provincial first, the Yunnan Development and Reform Commission has brokered a deal wherein Yunnan Forestry Investment Company (YFI) sold carbon credits worth 17,800 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to Guangdong-based Friends of Iron and Steel (FIS). In exchange for the credits, FIS has agreed to pay 1.07 million yuan (US$174,000).

Indonesian Ministry of Forestry Partners with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) to Release Orangutans

menafn.com, 21 June 2013 | The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry (MoF) has partnered with the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology TBK (SMART) and Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) in the release of Orangutans, and the inauguration of the Seluang Mas Camp Release in Seruyan, Central Kalimantan on June 21, 2013. The release, and the collaboration with OFI, SMART and APP, is part of an orangutan conservation and protection program through ‘Friends of the Orangutans’, which has been running since 2011. The program aims to release 40 orangutans through the end of 2013, and has already completed three stages. The first was the release of six orangutans on 21st November 2011. The second stage was the release of five orangutans on December 11, 2012. The latest stage was the release of 10 orang-utans, as well as the inauguration of the Seluang Mas Camp Release, which serves to monitor and convey the post-release evaluation of orangutans…

Indonesia names Sinar Mas, APRIL, among eight firms behind Singapore haze

By Jessica Cheam, Eco-Business.com, 21 June 2013 | Indonesia has blamed eight companies, including Singapore-based Sinar Mas and Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL) for the fires raging across its land of Sumatra that has blanketed parts of Malaysia and parts of Singapore in its most severe haze in history. Senior presidential aide Kuntoro Mangkusubroto was reported by news wires on Friday saying: “The majority of hotspots in Riau (province) are inside APRIL and Sinar Mas concessions,” The environment minister said not all eight companies were Singapore based, but declined to name the rest of them. He added that investigations are still ongoing and he was not able to elaborate further where these companies are from, although Indonesia is expected to name the companies in the next few days.

How corruption is fuelling Singapore’s haze

By Sara Schonhardt, Eco-Business, 21 June 2013 | Record-high air pollution hit Singapore and Malaysia this week, as winds blew smoke northward from forest fires raging in Sumatra, western Indonesia. Demands from the city-state that Indonesia take tougher action prompted retorts by officials who said Singapore was ‘behaving like children’ and sought to shift blame to companies in Singapore and Malaysia. But the barb trading over the haze, an annual annoyance that often strains relations between Singapore and Indonesia, overlooks one of the major causes of the burning – corruption. Observers here say rent-seeking local leaders and corporations are taking advantage of lax law enforcement and murky regulations to continue clearing forests as an increasingly rapid rate.

22 June 2013

Boosting both food security and forest resources requires new thinking

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 June 2013 | The goal of producing enough food for a growing population has long been at the top of the global political agenda. But in pursuit of this aim, agriculture has expanded into forestland, creating an array of environmental problems: more than 50 percent of the Earth’s forests have disappeared, and an area of forest about the size of the state of Louisiana has been lost every year in the past decade. At the same time, half of the food produced in the world is wasted. We now face a dilemma: how can nutritious and affordable food be supplied to the 9.6 billion people who are due to occupy the Earth in 2050 without accelerating deforestation and climate change, destroying biodiversity, hurting rural livelihoods and disrupting water supplies? How can agriculture and forestry contribute positively to social, economic and environmental progress?

23 June 2013

$2.5bn bailout can save UN global carbon market, says expert

By John Parnell, RTCC Climate Change News, 23 June 2013 | A $2.5bn fund could be enough to keep the UN’s carbon offset market alive until a potential successor is in place as part of the new 2015 climate treaty. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is currently struggling with the price of offsetting one tonne of CO2 approaching zero. Joan MacNaughton, vice chair of the high-level policy dialogue that reviewed potential solutions to the CDM’s predicament in 2012, has backed plans for a fund to inject extra money into the market. The CDM allows companies in the industrialised world to invest in emission reducing projects in developing countries and earn carbon credits in the process. With governments setting low emission reduction targets, the demand for credits has collapsed. “The fund is a temporary, interim means to ensure we can retain its functionality,” MacNaughton told RTCC.

Helping Lanka tackle climate change

Sunday Observer, 23 June 2013 | Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha inaugurated a program recently to put forests at the heart of Sri Lanka’s strategy to tackle climate change. The program will help Sri Lanka to prepare for an international mechanism to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). It will be part of a future international comprehensive agreement to tackle global warming, which is currently being negotiated through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). REDD+ will be implemented on a voluntary basis; no country will be obliged to take on such a commitment if they see no benefit in doing so. Under a REDD+ mechanism, industrialised countries are expected to provide positive incentives to Sri Lanka and other developing countries in exchange for verified information which proves that they have improved forest and land use management practices.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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