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REDD in the news: 15-21 July 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.

ASB Partnership Analyzes Impacts of Indonesian Forest Fires

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), July 2013 | The ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins has released a policy brief analyzing the local and international impacts of the fire-haze episode straddling the Strait of Malacca in June 2013, with the aim of identifying its source and proposing policy options to minimize further economic losses and carbon emissions. According to the Alternatives to Slash and Burn (ASB) Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins, the fires in Indonesia have drawn significant attention because of: health-related consequences of the smoke and haze; high pollution levels in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia; and high rates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from burning wood and peat.

15 July 2013

Climate change

By David Fogarty, The Baron, 15 July 2013 | In April last year, Paul Ingrassia (then deputy editor-in-chief) and I met and had a chat at a company function. He told me he was a climate change sceptic. Not a rabid sceptic, just someone who wanted to see more evidence mankind was changing the global climate. Progressively, getting any climate change-themed story published got harder. It was a lottery. Some desk editors happily subbed and pushed the button. Others agonised and asked a million questions. Debate on some story ideas generated endless bureaucracy by editors frightened to take a decision, reflecting a different type of climate within Reuters – the climate of fear. By mid-October, I was informed that climate change just wasn’t a big story for the present, but that it would be if there was a significant shift in global policy, such as the US introducing an emissions cap-and-trade system. Very soon after that conversation I was told my climate change role was abolished.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 July 2013 | Hot off the Forest Trends press, a new brief explores the implications of small-scale illegal logging on REDD+ and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiatives in Vietnam. The brief highlights the rationale of clear and secure tenure rights for local people living near forests containing timber – not just to occupy them, but also to sustainably harvest forest assets if they so choose. Without these rights, locals are excluded from forest benefits and more likely to illegally log. According to the brief, “increasing resources dedicated to law enforcement in the absence of changes in incentive structures” is not enough to stop illegal logging.

[Australia] Taxpayer-funded forests become a burning wreck

By Greg Hoy, ABC, 15 July 2013 | It seemed like a good idea at the time: two and a half million acres of taxpayer-funded forests to make Australia self-sufficient in plantation timber. But more than a decade after most of the schemes collapsed, tens of thousands of investors are still out of pocket and looking for compensation for fraud and mismanagement through the courts. Today what’s left of this multibillion-dollar agricultural disaster is literally a burning wreck.

[Australia] Clean energy companies shift to remain relevant

By Peter Ker, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July 2013 | Clean energy companies have moved quickly to protect themselves against a carbon tax related sell down today, with one company even spruiking a possible shift into fossil fuels. Shares in ASX listed Petratherm have traditionally moved strongly in reaction to carbon policy changes – a trend best illustrated on the day after the carbon tax became law in 2012 when the stock more than doubled to 18 cents. Petratherm has long sought to establish a geothermal business in South Australia, where energy captured from underground heat sources is converted into electricity. But as markets begin trading on the news that Australia will soon switch from a fixed carbon price to a lower floating carbon price, Petratherm has revealed plans to gain exposure to shale oil and gas in Tasmania. The company has announced it will apply for a permit that if awarded, would allow the company to explore for shale oil and gas just north of Hobart.

[Australia] Scrapping of carbon tax threatens carbon farming

By Caitlyn Gribbin, ABC Rural, 15 July 2013 | Research and lobby group, the Australian Farm Institute, says carbon farming won’t be profitable for years, if an emissions trading scheme is fast tracked. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will scrap the carbon tax and move to an emissions trading scheme next year – one year earlier than originally planned. The fixed carbon price of $24.15 a tonne will be removed in favour of a floating price, thought to be between $6 and $10 a tonne.

[Australia] Northern quoll in the firing line of floating carbon price

By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 15 July 2013 | The machinations of Europe’s carbon permit market would initially appear to have very little to do with the northern quoll, the smallest but most aggressive member of the quoll family that has vanished from vast tracts of Queensland and the Northern Territory. But should the federal government bring forward a floating carbon price, linked to the cheaper European market, there are likely to be a number of knock-on impacts upon Australia’s endangered species, farmland and national parks. The government wants an early introduction of the market-based carbon price next year, with the link to cheap European permits set to shrink the price of Australian emissions from a fixed $25 a tonne to around $6 a tonne.

[Australia] 5 reasons why Kevin Rudd’s carbon move makes us wince

By Giles Parkinson, Renew Economy, 15 July 2013 | This is about politics rather than policy: This a complaint from the Greens’ Christine Milne and she has a strong point, because it has been ever thus with Labor. Rudd got himself elected with some fine speeches about the importance of tackling climate change and gained kudos by signing up to the Kyoto Protocol. But then he used the CPRS to drive a wedge in the Opposition, and managed to get Malcolm Turnbull turfed out by Tony Abbott. He baulked at a “climate election” he could have won, and dropped the CPRS on the insistence of Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan. Gillard then promised a people’s assembly but no carbon tax in her election campaign, before agreeing to the Clean Energy Future package, including the carbon price, after striking an agreement with the Greens and the country independents to form a minority government. Labor’s positions reek of political opportunism at every turn.

[Australia] Abbott on carbon trading: ‘non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one’

By Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 15 July 2013 | "This is not a true market," Abbott told reporters during a campaign visit in Sydney. "Just ask yourself what an emissions trading scheme is all about. It’s a market, a so-called market, in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one." A reporter inquired whether this made carbon markets just the same as financial markets. Abbott repeated his definition: "Let’s think about it. It’s a market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one." The opposition leader contended that the world was turning its back on carbon trading schemes and carbon taxes as policy mechanisms for reducing pollution. "Ever since Copenhagen it has been absolutely obvious that the world is not moving towards taxes, whether they are fixed taxes or floating taxes," he said. "The world is moving towards the kind of direct action measures to improve the environment which the Coalition has long championed."

[Cambodia] REDD+ forest clearing unabated: community

By Phak Seangly, Phnom Penh Post, 15 July 2013 | Since last year, up to a half of nearly 8,000 hectares of community forest has been encroached upon and cleared in Oddar Meanchey province’s Banteay Ampil district by soldiers, community representatives said yesterday. Din Heng, chief of Ang Dong Bor community, said the army has cleared between 3,000 and 4,000 hectares of Ang Dong Bor and Dong Beng community forests in order to build garrisons. The pair are among 12 community forests that make up the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) carbon credit program. “We saw tractors and chainsaws felling big trees and clearing more than 1,000 hectares of our forest. In addition, soldiers have set up offices atop 2,000 hectares,” Heng said. Sar Khlai, Oddar Meanchey provincial community forest chief, said the army only needs 2,600 hectares of state land to live and set up garrisons.

[USA] Obama’s Climate Plan Latest in Series of Public-Private Actions to Advance REDD+

By Tara O’Shea and Gina Angiolillo, Sustainable Brands, 15 July 2013 | President Obama’s National Climate Action Plan, released on June 25th, calls for strong action to protect remaining tropical forests through a commitment to lead international initiatives in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). But Obama is not the first to acknowledge the vital role that forests play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nor is he the only one currently calling for urgent action on tropical forest conservation.

16 July 2013

Good governance is “critical” to engage the private sector in REDD+

By Imogen Badgery-Parker, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 July 2013 | As the pressing need for private sector finance to help support REDD+ becomes clear, so too does a major sticking point: businesses say they need evidence of effective forest governance before they invest. The idea of REDD+, or reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is to give financial incentives to preserve standing forests and thus reduce carbon emissions. Although policy makers originally intended that long-term funding would come from markets, so far most activities are covered by overseas development budgets. But with the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) estimating that an average additional investment of $40 billion a year is needed to halve global deforestation by 2030, and public funding sources strained by the global financial crisis, private sector capital, whether in public–private partnerships or corporate investments, is essential for the scheme.

Research supports a new approach to counting CO2 emissions

Phys.org, 16 July 2013 | Researchers have called for a system of carbon emission assessments that reflect better the true contribution of each emitting nation to the increase in atmospheric CO2 and promote preservation of forests, particularly in tropical regions. Ecosystems, mainly forest and oceans, remove around 54 per cent of CO2 emitted by deforestation and fossil fuel combustion each year. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 would increase more than twice as fast as observed if it were not for these natural sinks. Scientists suggest in a pioneering study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change that national climate change policies could consider the contribution of each emitting region to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and place a value on regional ecosystems or sinks that absorb the CO2.

Fixed, floating or blown away: pinning down Australia’s carbon price

By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 16 July 2013 | Kevin Rudd has brought forward the date by one year whereby the carbon price moves from a fixed to a market-based arrangement. This means that from 1 July 2014, Australia will move to a “cap and trade” emissions trading scheme. The government will put a cap on the amount of carbon pollution that can be emitted each year, in order to meet its 2020 target. The market will be left to determine the price of emissions within that limit. Rudd said that he decided to “terminate” the fixed carbon price to reduce cost of living pressures on people and lower overheads for businesses, as well as bring Australia into line with international carbon trading schemes.

[Australia] Environment and carbon farming programs cut to pay for ETS

By Anna Vidot, ABC Rural, 16 July 2013 | The Federal Government has announced millions of dollars in cuts to the Biodiversity Fund and Carbon Farming Futures program, as Australia moves to a floating carbon price. The government is scrapping the fixed-price carbon tax from July next year, and moving to an emissions trading scheme 12 months earlier than planned. That will see the cost per tonne on carbon pollution drop from around $25.40 to just $6. The Treasurer Chris Bowen says he’s found $3.9 billion to cover the Budget shortfall that’ll create, including reclaiming $213 million in unallocated money from the Biodiversity Fund. "This fund does overlap with the Caring For Our Country allocation, and was funded through the carbon tax," he said. "We’re also reducing funding to the Carbon Farming Futures program, saving $144 million over the forward estimates."

[Australia] Floating price kills off carbon farming

By Rob Harris, Weekly Times Now, 16 July 2013 | The Federal Government’s ditching of carbon farming and cuts to biodiversity has angered farming and environmental groups. Treasurer Chris Bowen confirmed the program would be axed in plans to move from a carbon tax to a emissions trading scheme announced today. The $144 million carbon farming initiative allowed farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. The credits could then be sold to people and businesses wishing to offset their emissions. National Farmers’ Federation chief executive Matt Linnegar said it was "extremely disappointing” that the Government had chosen to fund its new emissions trading scheme by cutting funding to two important programs that helped farmers store carbon and work as environmentalists.

Strengthening Cameroon’s Forest Governance: 3 Key Challenges for Cameroon’s REDD+ Process

By Lauren Goers Williams, WRI, 16 July 2013 | In January 2013, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility approved USD $3.6M to fund Cameroon’s Readiness Preparation Proposal—a roadmap detailing how Cameroon will develop a national REDD+ strategy to help protect its forests. Cameroon, like many other REDD+ countries, now faces the challenge of delivering on commitments made in its Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP). Doing so will require significant efforts to address historical forest sector challenges, including weak governance. I recently participated in the National Dialogue on REDD+ Governance in Yaoundé, Cameroon, where these challenges were at the top of the agenda.

Measuring CO2 in Green Ecosystems of the Mexican Caribbean

By Emilio Godoy, IPS, 16 July 2013 | Jungles, forests, mangroves, swamps and lagoons are natural carbon storehouses or “sinks” in the Caribbean regions of Mexico. But now studies are being conducted to measure their capacity for absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These ecosystems are typically found along the strip of coastline that includes the southeastern states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. “The recommendation to avoid deforestation and forest degradation is a measure aimed at the mitigation (reduction) of the roughly 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from these causes,” said researcher José Andrade of the Yucatan Centre for Scientific Research (CICY), a government institute. However, “at the same time, emissions from industry and transportation need to be reduced with alternative energy sources. (Forest conservation) alone is not a solution for reducing global emissions,” he told Tierramérica.

[USA] Huge central Oregon timber stand could become carbon offset, Portland auctioneer says

By Richard Cockle, Oregon Live, 16 July 2013 | California companies are permitted to buy carbon offsets in other states to comply with California’s cap-and-trade program. Timber values, as a consequence, no longer underpin forest economics as they once did, according to Mason, of Pacific Forest Trust. Management plans for tracts such as the Foley Butte Block are likely to incorporate resort development and conservation easements alongside their timber harvest schedules. And that’s all to the good, says Mason said. "It really allows you to practice more nuanced and complex forestry," he said. Rosenthal lays out many reasons well-heeled buyers would be interested in the property. For starters, it may be the only large commercial tree farm in North America within 12 miles of data centers owned by Facebook and Apple.

Carbon research in Zambia forests to help build REDD+ strategy

By Yulia Hadi, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 July 2013 | Changing rainfall patterns, diminishing water supply, poor soil quality and disappearing tree species are all having a big impact on livelihoods in Zambia’s Nyimba District, according to representatives from six local villages, who say that a lengthy 5-km walk to find the once commonplace mopane tree – prized for its edible caterpillars — is now standard. What is behind these dramatic changes? To what extent are they caused by increasing pressure on natural resources, and how much are theyor affected by customary laws, which differ from village to village? Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) are attempting to find answers to these and similar questions by working with village-based researchers in the region to understand the use and management of forest resources.

17 July 2013

Voluntary carbon credits are healthier than compliance: Jonathan Shopley

By R N Bhaskar , DNA, 17 June 2013 | Jonathan Shopley, MD at The CarbonNeutral Company, a global provider of carbon reduction solutions to more than 350 companies, was the founding co-chair of The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance, an industry body committed to defining and meeting the best practice in the carbon market, and is a board director of the Climate Markets and Investors Association. He has authored publications across a range of topics including climate change, environmental management and sustainable development. In this interview with R N Bhaskar, Shopley speaks about his work and what he expects from the markets.

Communities adapting to loss of forest ecosystem services — World Bank

By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 17 July 2013 | For years, it has been a bit of conventional wisdom among researchers and development experts: The loss of ecosystem services, especially those provided by forests, will have a profound impact on the poor, as deforestation and forest degradation decrease human well-being. The problem? First, the evidence suggests something else is going on: As forest cover continues to degrade and to disappear, the U.N. Development Programme’s Human Development Index has been rising consistently around the globe. Second, tree cover is actually increasing in rural and agricultural landscapes, even as global forest cover declines. What accounts for this seeming contradiction, and why is it happening? Peter Dewees, forests adviser to the World Bank, said the increase in agricultural tree cover represents adaptation “on a grand scale” with major implications for policymaking, and called for researchers to fill in key gaps in data…

Safeguards needed to encourage private sector investment in REDD+

By Kate Langford, World Agroforestry Centre, 17 July 2013 | The private sector is being called on to provide finance for REDD+ but businesses say they first need to see evidence of effective forest governance. CIFOR Forests News, the blog of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), reports on a panel session that was held in Indonesia in June about engaging the private sector in REDD+ as part of UN-REDD Global Symposium. While it was hoped that funding for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) would come from markets, to date most of the support has come from overseas development budgets. Ravi Prabhu, Deputy Director General (Research) at the World Agroforestry Centre, says there is a need to “focus on creating the conditions within which the kinds of business we want to see flourish do flourish”.

Economic Cycles, Deforestation, and REDD+

By David Wheeler, Center For Global Development, 17 July 2013 | The latest news from FORMA demonstrates the power of global and regional economic cycles as drivers of deforestation. My previous post highlighted the rapid growth and spread of forest clearing during the first phase of the global economic recovery. Fortunately, new clearing has declined sharply since then, as the chart of FORMA’s global indicator shows below. The effectiveness of forest protection may vary somewhat from quarter to quarter, but not nearly enough to explain such pronounced swings. They have undoubtedly been generated by the economic forces—product and factor prices, exchange rates, and interest rates—that drive investments in large-scale forest clearing. I have analyzed their effects on Indonesian forest clearing in a CGD working paper with Dan Hammer, Robin Kraft and Susmita Dasgupta.

World Bank to stop funding coal-fired power stations in developing countries

By Jennifer Macy, ABC News, 17 July 2013 | The World Bank board says it will no longer fund coal-fired power stations in poor countries, agreeing to a new energy strategy which will limit the financing of coal generation except in rare circumstances. The World Bank has slowly been moving away from funding fossil fuel projects, but now it is official policy. However, the bank says it could still fund plants on some occasions, including in places where there are no feasible alternatives to coal.

[Australia] Out of thin air: Farmers’ chance to cash in on carbon trading

By Graeme O’Neill, Sunraysia Daily, 17 July 2013 | There is money to be made from thin air if farmers in the northern Victorian Mallee are ready to become players in the growing international market for carbon credits, carbon-farming consultant Ben Keogh believes. Mr Keogh, managing director of Castlemaine-based carbon-farming consultancy Australian Carbon Traders, said his company already had “more demand than we can handle” from big polluters seeking to invest in on-farm schemes to capture carbon and reduce greenhouse emissions. Mr Keogh said Australia was moving towards an emissions trading scheme (ETS), which would require local polluters to spend 50 per cent of their investment in carbon credits within Australia – no more than 50 per cent can be invested overseas. “The details of the ETS are still not clear, but we always knew that Australia would join the world in floating the price of carbon credits,” he said.

Brazil’s indigenous groups take reins of green projects

By Rafael Spuldar, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 17 July 2013 | The project – one the 500-member Terena community chose themselves in local assemblies – is just one of a range of similar projects now taking place in Brazil, aimed at building the capacity of the country’s indigenous groups to participate in managing their livelihoods and the forests their territories often include. The aim is to build their resilience to climate change, and help them support efforts to slow or reverse deforestation, a major contributor to global warming. One of the latest is the Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (DGM), funded by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). In Brazil, the effort is being implemented by the World Bank. Over five years, the DGM will invest $6.5 million in Brazil in a 5-year period, with two goals. The first is to empower indigenous people throughout Brazil and to strengthen their institutions, particularly to participate in REDD+… This article is part of a series funded by the Climate Investment Funds.

Gambia: Afforestation Is Key to Climate Change Mitigation, Says Beakanyang President

By Adam K. Jallow, The Point, 17 July 2013 | The National President of Beakanyang Kafoo has said that massive tree planting is key to climate change mitigation. Mr Tumani Danjo was speaking recently on the 2nd leg of their community sensitization meetings in Draman village in Wuli West district of URR. According to him, his organization is bent on helping communities in the district to plant at least 5,000 trees this rainy season. Mr Danjo told the gathering the devastating impact of climate change on the country could be drastically mitigated if all Gambians and non-Gambians resident in the country are fully committed to planting more trees each year. He said that involving local communities in the climate change mitigation is essential for sustaining the successes registered in the campaign.

Billions lost to corruption in Indonesia’s forest sector, says report

By Diana Parker, mongabay.com, 17 July 2013 | Corruption and mismanagement in Indonesia’s forest sector have cost the government billions of dollars in losses in recent years, including over $7 billion in losses from 2007-2011, Human Rights Watch said in a report released yesterday. The report also blasted the country’s “green growth” strategy, saying that despite recent reforms, Indonesia’s forestry policies as they are implemented today continue to allow widespread forest clearing and threaten the rights and livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. “The Indonesian government has been selling the expansion of its forestry sector as an example of sustainable ‘green growth’ and an antidote to climate change and poverty, but the evidence suggests otherwise,” Joe Saunders, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch, said in a release to the media.

IUCN REDD+ Project in Indonesia Supports Customary Land Mapping

IUCN, 17 July 2013 | With support from IUCN’s “Toward Pro-Poor REDD+” project, two provinces in Indonesia have produced customary land rights maps that are helping to facilitate REDD+ and broader community-based forest management efforts in the region. In order to benefit from REDD+, Papua and West Papua Provinces in Indonesia have identified land rights and active participation of the community as key issues that need to be clarified and facilitated. Given this, IUCN’s “Toward Pro-Poor REDD+” project, with funding from Denmark’s Development Cooperation (Danida), has been working closely with the Samdhana Institute, the governments of Papua and West Papua Province, civil society and other NGOs to develop customary land rights maps.

[Tanzania] Butterfly business puts food on table for Isles families

By Issa Yussuf, Daily News, 17 July 2013 | Butterfly keeping was introduced to the group under the UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). Tanzania REDD+ Initiative is part of government’s effort to address the global changing climate through reduction of emission of Green House Gases from the forestry sector.

18 July 2013

U.N. on PR drive as investment in carbon market slumps

Point Carbon, 18 July 2013 | The number of projects seeking U.N approval to earn carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) fell 75 percent in the first six months of the year compared to the first half of 2012, according to data published on the U.N. climate body’s website. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Carbon Credits Surge to Six-Month High as EU Refines Eligibility

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 18 July 2013 | United Nations Emission Reduction Units surged 39 percent after Europe specified which credits are ineligible for use in its carbon market, the world’s biggest. ERUs for December jumped as high as 25 euro cents ($0.33) a metric ton, the highest since Jan. 31, on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. The European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, upgraded its carbon registry yesterday to clarify which offsets can be used to meet emissions obligations. ERUs fell to a record low in May after the European Union said it may restrict the use of some offsets from countries including Russia and Ukraine should they fail to adopt new carbon goals as of this year. The credits, created from carbon-reducing projects in developed nations and emerging countries, may now narrow the price gap with more expensive Certified Emission Reductions from developing countries, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

[Indonesia] Timber certification lags as deadline approaches

By Agnes Winarti, Jakarta Post, 18 July 2013 | Bali is still struggling to encourage community forest owners and wooden craft exporters to obtain timber certification before the government’s deadline. Indonesia is implementing a timber legality verification system, known by the local abbreviation SVLK, early next year. This system aims to label timber and its by-products intended for export from Indonesia, confirming that it is sourced from sustainable community-based forest management, with the intention of curbing illegal logging. As of today, Bali’s Forestry Agency has recorded as much as 9,735 hectares of community forest spread across the island. However, since 2011, only 60 hectares of this, owned by 90 families in Singaraja, Buleleng regency, have had their timber certified in accordance with the SVLK.

[Mexico] Chiapas cancels ‘disastrous’ forest plan linked to Calif. cap-and-trade program

Friends of the Earth press release, 18 July 2013 | The state government of Chiapas has cancelled a controversial forest protection plan that critics said failed to address the root causes of deforestation and could endanger the lives and livelihoods of indigenous peoples. The program is linked to California’s cap-and-trade program through a complex “carbon offset” scheme that has yet to see the light of day. Carlos Morales Vázquez, the Mexican state’s secretary of the environment, on July 8 told the Chiapas daily El Heraldo that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program "was an utter failure, and the program is cancelled."

UK woodland carbon code launched on Markit Registry

Forestry Commission, 18 July 2013 | The United Kingdom’s Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) has been launched on the Markit Environmental Registry, enhancing transparency and accountability in the trade in British Woodland Carbon Units. Carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestered, or absorbed, by WCC-validated woodlands in the UK can be traded, and the development enables changes of ownership of each tonne to be tracked. The registry will also record when projects are registered and credits are listed, and when carbon units have been “used” by a company in its carbon account.

[USA] Key Global Stakeholders Sign Letters of Support for REDD+ in California’s Climate Policy

Code REDD press release, 18 July 2013 | As the California Air Resources Board prepares to consider moving forward on international initiatives to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD+) within the state’s climate policy, a large consortium of key stakeholders – from multinational corporations to global NGOs and indigenous community leaders – have rallied in support of REDD+. Signatories of the Code REDD Letter of Support include leading organizations such as Disney, Pacific Gas & Electric, Skoll Foundation, the Rainforest Alliance, and indigenous forest communities including the Surui… "Land-use and forestry are a major part of the climate mitigation challenge. REDD+ is a key and essential part of the solution to the cost effective mitigation of climate change and as such must not be overlooked." – Anthony Hobley, President, CMIA & Partner, Global Head, Sustainability and Climate Change – Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.

[USA] Indigenous Groups, NGOs, And Major Corporates Line Up Behind REDD+ in Cali

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 July 2013 | Eight indigenous leaders from Latin America and Africa have joined corporate giants like Disney and Pacific Gas & Electric as well as non-governmental organizations like Environment Africa and the Skoll Foundation in urging the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to recognize "jurisdictional REDD" (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation) carbon offsets, which are generated by saving endangered rainforest in jurisdictions that, like California, are reducing emissions across their jurisdiction. The endorsement only applies to credits from REDD projects that are recognized by and accounted for by those jurisdictions.

[USA] PG&E, Wildlife Society Back Foreign Offsets in California

By Lynn Doan, Bloomberg, 18 July 2013 | Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison and the Wildlife Conservation Society joined forces today to endorse a plan that would allow California companies to use credits from forestry projects overseas to comply with state emissions limits. An advisory panel issued recommendations today on how to implement the plan. It would have to be approved by the state air board before power generators, refiners and other industrial polluters could buy and trade credits generated from the foreign forests to cover a share of their emissions in the state. The proposal to make it easier to comply with California’s cap-and-trade program comes as Democrats, who control the state Senate, push to limit the program to in-state offsets projects. The forestry plan, known by the acronym REDD, has been endorsed by California’s two largest power utilities, The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and the Climate Markets and Investment Association.

19 July 2013

Biodiversity paradigm questioned after flaws found in logging impact research

By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 19 July 2013 | Studies about the impact of logging on biodiversity in tropical regions should be scrutinized, conclusions toned down or even discounted, according to a recent publication in the journal “Conservation Biology“ that has revealed widespread methodological flaws. Douglas Sheil, senior associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Forests and Environment Programme and a collaborator on “Pseudoreplication in tropical forests and the resulting effects on biodiversity conservation“, said his team set out to determine why research about the impact of logging on tropical forest ecosystems often yields contradictory results. In rainforest-specific studies, they found, scientists often treat sites that have been logged and those that haven’t as if they were identical before the timber cutting, and perform statistical comparisons that cannot support the conclusions that are drawn from them…

Australia-EU carbon link may usher ‘race to the bottom’

By Gerard Wynn, Brisbane Times, 19 July 2013 | The European Union and Australia last August agreed to link emissions trading schemes, with the aim of injecting new momentum into flagging moves for a global carbon price. Less than a year on, it is clear they have conflicting aims. It should not be a surprise, their motives were probably in opposition from the start: on the European side to fuel demand for emissions allowances and lift carbon prices in its flagging market; in Australia, to access cheaper carbon credits. Australia’s view is that the present low level of European carbon prices is desirable, to cut the impact of climate policies on consumer energy bills. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reinforced that position this week when he proposed to accelerate the union. If the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, won forthcoming elections, the same view would be doubly underlined.

Will REDD ignore conflict in the DRC?

By Ian Madison, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 19 July 2013 | “WWF believes that REDD+ can provide significant benefits to the people and biodiversity of the DRC, and is pleased that the Carbon Fund review has identified areas of the ER-PIN that can be strengthened to maximize effectiveness and potential benefits,” says Raymond Lumbuenamo, head of WWF-DRC. But is REDD+ missing something? Between 1998 and 2003, the deadliest war in modern African history ravaged eastern Congo, leaving millions dead and displaced from their homes. Effects of the conflict linger to this day, as the recent fighting between the M23 rebel group and the Congolese Army over the city of Goma attests. Yet even at the local level, many forest dwellers live with insecure tenure rights and conflicts over ownership and usage are common.

[Indonesia] How the eyes in the sky are keeping a check on forest fires

By Nigel Sizer, The Guardian, 19 July 2013 | Three weeks ago, a noxious haze engulfed Singapore and parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, breaking air pollution records. Malaysia closed schools, Singapore advised residents to stay indoors and distributed free face masks to the poor, and Indonesia evacuated some villages in the worst affected areas. The suffocating smog emanated from forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This week, environment ministers from across southeast Asia gathered for a summit in Malaysia under intense public pressure to take action and prevent a repeat of the smog. Singapore tabled a proposal calling on the other governments to publicly disclose company land leases, supporting accountability when monitoring future fires. The governments announced that they would share the company lease data among themselves, but stopped short of making it publicly available. This is mixed news at best.

Developer of Indonesia’s first REDD+ project confirms status of forest conservation initiative

mongabay.com, 19 July 2013 | Infinite Earth, the developer behind Indonesia’s first approved REDD+ project, has refuted an NGO’s claims that the project has been only partially approved by the Indonesian government. In a statement sent to Mongabay.com, Infinite Earth confirmed that its Rimba Raya project in Central Kalimantan has an ecosystem restoration permit for more than 36,000 hectares of peat forest. The Hong Kong-based firm’s statement was a response to a report published last month by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental activist group, that alleged Infinite Earth was overstating the extent of its project.

[Mexico] Chiapas Denies Rumors Of REDD Demise

By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 July 2013 | Amigos de la Tierra México, the Mexican affiliate of Friends of the Earth, sent a ripple of confusion through the environmental community on Friday when one of its local member organizations posted an error-riddled story that implied the Mexican state of Chiapas had “cancelled” its plans to develop a statewide regulatory regime for generating carbon credits by saving endangered rainforest. The story was especially confusing because it came one day after indigenous leaders from around the world had joined environmental NGOs and "green" corporates in endorsing the recommendations of a scientific advisory panel that was highly positive towards the Chiapas program.

[PNG] Climate change framework soon

Islands Business, 19 July 2013 | Papua New Guinea Minister for Forest and Climate Change Patrick Pruaitch told parliament a new legislative framework that could control and regulate climate change issues such as carbon trade in the country would soon be finalised. Pruaitch said since no law governed climate change, related proposals on carbon trade could not be facilitated. He said that in response to a question from Kagua-Erave MP James Lagea, who asked about the status and progress on the issues of carbon trade, as more than 14 local level government wards in his province were covered with thick forest that ended on the border of Karamui, Chimbu and Kikori and Baimuru in Gulf.

[USA] Scientific Advisory Panel Offers Blueprint For California REDD

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 July 2013 | After more than two years of open consultations among indigenous leaders, environmentalists, and governmental representatives, the REDD Offsets Working Group (ROW) on Thursday offered its final recommendations for incorporating international REDD offsets into California’s cap-and-trade program. The recommendations have been endorsed by a diverse array of environmental groups, green-minded corporations, and indigenous leaders from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. REDD stands for Reducing greenhouse gas Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, and it works primarily by saving endangered rainforest. REDD-plus folds in additional activities such as planting trees and managing the forest.

[USA] Panel lays out best practices for REDD+ credits in California’s carbon market

mongabay.com, 19 July 2013 | A panel of scientific experts has released a final report outlining how carbon credits generated from tropical forest conservation could be used under California’s cap-and-trade system while minimizing risks to forest-dependent communities and wildlife. The report comes after the working group spent three years gathering data and comments at public hearings and workshops in the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico. The process aimed to address criticisms about projects under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) program, a U.N.-backed climate change mechanism. Under California’s carbon emissions reduction program, companies could use carbon credits — potentially including REDD+ credits — to cover up to 8 percent of emissions. The report looked specifically at how officials in California can ensure that REDD+ projects are leading to actual greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

20 July 2013

[Australia] The truth about carbon

By Adam Morton and Nick Miller, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2013 | A World Bank report released in May told two stories about the world’s efforts to put a price on carbon. It found the long-held goal of a global scheme had stumbled and the prospect of a co-ordinated international approach to tackling climate change would remain uncertain for years to come. But it also found national and regional schemes were proliferating, each tailored to local circumstances. About 40 countries and 20 states and provinces either have a scheme or are bringing one in. Together, those jurisdictions are responsible for 21 per cent of global emissions. If emerging economies considering national schemes – including China, Brazil and Chile – joined the party then carbon pricing could cover countries producing nearly half the world’s carbon pollution. Little of this international picture has filtered through to Australia…

21 July 2013

Improving ecosystem functionality and livelihood

IUCN, 21 July 2013 | This paper examines how interventions intended to improve functionality and productivity of forested landscapes to improve livelihoods of the poorest populations, might actually yield co-benefits in terms of biodiversity conservation. It argues in favour of a ‘landscape’ approach to achieve these co-benefits. Using case study examples from eight landscapes involved in LLS – Doe Mae Salong, Thailand; Sablogo forest, Burkina Faso; Kelka forest, Mali; Mount Elgon, Uganda; Tacaná, Guatemala; Mayun, China; Lao PDR; and Lachua, Guatemala – it presents evidence for the benefits of landscape approaches to forest restoration. Among the key findings flowing from the case studies include the finding that for landscape interventions to lead to improved livelihoods and enhanced biodiversity requires taking a holistic approach in which the different land uses of the forested landscape along with the types of trees and their products and services are taken into account.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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