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REDD in the news: 2-7 September 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.

Naomi Klein

By Jason Mark, Earth Island Journal, September 2013 | I think there is a very a deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups. And to be very honest with you, I think it’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost. Because it has steered us in directions that have yielded very poor results. I think if we look at the track record of Kyoto, of the UN Clean Development Mechanism, the European Union’s emissions trading scheme – we now have close to a decade that we can measure these schemes against, and it’s disastrous.

Oslo Redd Exchange 2013

norad.no, September 2013 | WHAT: Hosted by the Norwegian and International Climate and Forest Initiative, Oslo REDD Exchange aims to renew the forests and climate change agenda in light of experience to date, and respond to rapidly changing physical, financial, and political landscapes. WHY: REDD+ has been on the international and national policy arena for 5 years, and significant progress has been made by leading forest nations, the international community and the civil society – but many challenges still need to be overcome before REDD+ is effective. WHO: The conference will gather more than 400 representatives of civil society, REDD+ and donor governments, researchers, multilateral organizations and the private sector. HOW: Conference participants will identify the most critical constraints to the successful establishment and implementation of REDD+ initiatives, and debate the most promising ideas for producing results at landscape, jurisdictional, and national scales…

DRC REDD+ Knowledge Sharing Benefits COMIFAC Countries

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), September 2013 | The Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank and the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) released a report on progress in the implementation of the project ‘Sharing of experience among COMIFAC Countries on REDD+: Pilot Projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’. The report highlights an exchange trip held from 11-17 August 2013, during which participants from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon gathered lessons learned and experiences from REDD+ practitioners in the DRC. The objective of the initiative was to exchange experiences and stimulate learning, share information relevant to international negotiations on REDD+, and build capacity of REDD+ technical experts.

2 September 2013 2013

Rising anxiety as climate change dominates 44th Pacific Islands Forum

Xinhua, 2 September 2013 | A tense opening session of the 44th pacific Islands Forum has been dominated by appeals from pacific leaders for ‘real action’ against the threat of rising sea levels associated with climate change. Speaking at the International Conference Center in Majuro, the capital of Marshall Islands, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, responded to a presentation from Nobel Peace Prize Professor Elisabeth Holland by decrying what he intimated as the dollar approach of ‘theoretical scientists’ to an issue that requires ‘concrete action.’

Combat poverty while conserving great ape habitats – scientists

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 September 2013 | Biodiversity conservation projects created to save endangered great apes could also play a key role in poverty alleviation if local communities stand to benefit, according to researchers. Chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos and gorillas live in some of the poorest regions of Africa and Asia, and they are fast losing their forest habitats to such human activities as hunting, logging, agriculture and mining. Territorial incursions related to forest fire, oil palm plantations, war and conflict are also putting pressure on great apes, which number from a few hundred to a few tens of thousands, depending on the subspecies, statistics from the World Wild Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund) conservation body show.

[Australia] Tony Abbott warns of ‘trillion dollar’ carbon tax

By Sid Maher, The Australian, 2 September 2013 | Tony Abbott has returned to his attack on Labor’s carbon tax, claiming the cumulative cost of the policy in terms of the loss in gross domestic product to 2050 would be $1 trillion. In his last address to the National Press Club before the election, the Opposition Leader also argued that even by the government’s own projections, Australia’s domestic emissions would hardly decrease at all. This was despite a projected carbon price of $350 a tonne by 2050. “We only achieve an 80 per cent cut in emissions by purchasing in that year alone over $150 billion worth – that’s right, $150bn – of carbon credits from abroad,” Mr Abbott said. “This is by far the biggest wealth transfer from Australians to foreigners that’s ever been contemplated.

[Australia] NT Govt wants carbon farm returned to pastoral use

Beef Central, 2 September 2013 | The Northern Territory Government says it is determined to see a cattle station bought with Government funding two years ago for the purposes of carbon farming returned to cattle production, now that it is back on the market. Henbury Station, 230km south of Alice Springs, drew national attention in July 2011 when it was purchased by RM Williams Agricultural Holdings in conjunction with the Federal Government for $13 million to create the world’s biggest carbon farming enterprise. The Federal Government, under then environment minister Tony Burke, contributed $9m to the purchase. The project was to see the 405,000 hectare property, which was carrying 17,000 cattle at the time, totally destocked and revegetated to generate carbon offset credits.

Connie Hedegaard: Promoting a climate for change

By Connie Hedegaard, New Zealand Herald, 2 September 2013 | The Pacific region is on the front line of climate change. Its low-lying islands risk being swamped by rising sea levels and their inhabitants forced to emigrate. In June, exceptionally high tides coupled with storm surges flooded parts of the Marshall Islands capital, Majuro. The rising waters topped the city sea walls. Some islanders were forced to evacuate their homes and a state of disaster was declared. For the Pacific people, weather extremes are not about a distant future, they have become the new normal. Heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising oceans are the new reality of an ever-warming world. Scientists have been warning for years that we will have to deal with more severe, more changeable, more unpredictable weather.

[Guyana] Other than the romantic notion of hydro, there is nothing redeeming about this particular project

By R. Gaskin letter to the editor, Kaieteur News, 2 September 2013 | The news, debate and discussion on the Amaila Hydropower Project have dominated the headlines recently especially since some critical information became available. It is fair to say that everyone has had an opportunity to comment. Some of the commentators like Messrs. Ram, Goolsarran, Ms. Bulkan and others have sought to analyse the Project from the available information. Many others who have not even studied the available documentation and even if they were able to access it would not be capable of analysing anything, offered comments, often as surrogates for the Government. Even the American Ambassador and that other prominent American Dr. Joey Jagan felt it necessary to get in on the action at a very late stage. Dr. Jagdeo too.

[Guyana] More shocking revelations about Amaila Hydro Project

Kaieteur News, 2 September 2013 | While the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) would normally make loans available to Guyana and other countries at concessional rates in the vicinity of one or two per cent, the loan to the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project was set at a whopping 9.5 per cent. This would mean that the IDB’s loan was being made at a higher interest rate than that of the Chinese Exim Bank, which the opposition and some sections of civil society had already labeled ‘prohibitively high.’ The China Exim Bank was asking for 8.5 per cent on for its US500M that it had promised to lend for the Amaila Hydro Electric Project, while the IDB was asking for 9.5 per cent. This was confirmed this past weekend by Winston Brassington, who served as Guyana’s lead negotiator for the project.

[Guyana] Beijing’s money

Stabroek News, 2 September 2013 | What finally scuttled the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project wasn’t the question of whether the country needed hydroelectric energy. Indeed, the majority of stakeholders agree that the country should have had hydro as part of its energy mix a long time ago. Why it took PPP/C governments 21 years to meander to this tortuous climax on hydropower is troubling. In the end it was the lack of transparency in the beginnings of the deal that made it nigh impossible for APNU and critics to believe the government’s version of events. The bar of believability rose higher and higher with every suppressed revelation that floated to the top and the government failed the test of convincing the opponents of the project. It is a lesson that both the Office of the President and Freedom House must file away.

[Guyana] It is entirely up to Amerindian communities to claim ownership of `traditional lands’ under the Amerindian Act 2006

By Melinda Janki (Justice Institute Guyana) letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 2 September 2013 | In his SN letter of 24th August, Dwight Larson, secretary of Isseneru Village Council says that the Amerindian Act 2006 does not protect “traditional lands.” This is not correct. If any Amerindian community believes that they have “traditional lands” they can claim ownership of those “traditional lands” under the Amerindian Act 2006. If their claim is successful they get absolute ownership. The title, which is granted under the State Lands Act, recognises the community’s occupation of the land “from time immemorial.” If the claim fails over any part of the “traditional lands,” that part is excluded from the absolute title. However any property rights that the community has over those “traditional lands” will continue to exist (e.g. rights to hunt, fish, gather). These rights are protected by the Amerindian Act 2006 and the Constitution.

[Indonesia] Govt sets up REDD council after criticism over inaction

Jakarta Post, 2 September 2013 | The government hopes to prove that it has finally showed its commitment to cutting global carbon emissions by creating a national council on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), which will begin operating in September, after being harshly criticized by NGOs for its sluggish pace in implementing the environmental program. “All the ministers responsible for implementing the REDD+ program have signed the draft establishing this new council. There will be further details when the Cabinet Secretariat officially announces it, possibly in September,” the Forestry Ministry’s general secretary, Hadi Daryanto, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

3 September 2013

Economist’s Theories Led to Carbon Trading

By Stephen Miller, Wall Street Journal, 3 September 2013 | Economist Ronald Coase garnered a Nobel Prize for work that, among other things, provided the intellectual framework for reducing pollution by trading carbon credits instead of enforcing antipollution laws, as well as for auctioning the airwaves for cellphones and pagers. Mr. Coase, who died Monday at age 102, was one of the most-cited economists of the 20th century. Decrying "blackboard economics" that used formulas to describe what he called an "imaginary" world, the University of Chicago Law School economist tried to describe the actual constraints firms and people face as they make economic decisions.

Norway to spend $63 mln on Ethiopian land-use programmes

By Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters Point Carbon, 3 September 2013 | Norway’s government has agreed to spend $63 million to help fund two land-use programmes in Ethiopia that will tackle forest and land degradation, the World Bank, which is partnering in the projects, said on Tuesday. A part of the grant will be used to support Ethiopia’s works to regulate REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) activities, complementing ongoing financing from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). REDD+ is a key part of Ethiopia’s plans on climate change. Norway’s financing should help the African country to develop a pilot REDD program at regional level, the World Bank said in a statement.

[Guyana] Transparency in the Amaila Hydropower Project

By Calvin Bernard (Lecturer of the University of Guyana and a director of TIGI), Stabroek News, 3 September 2013 | Transparency requires that relevant information be made easily accessible to stakeholders in a way that it is free from deceit, easily understood and time appropriate. It is a critical prerequisite for realising accountability and is indispensible where a decision-making process requires participation. The Amaila Hydropower Project (AHP) has enormous requirement for both accountability and public participation and therefore transparency. Despite the National Assembly passing two critical pieces of legislation allowing the AHP to move forward, the project is said to be in jeopardy. Sithe Global (SG), the major private partner on the project, had forewarned that if all the parties in the National Assembly could not agree on the project it would pull out, and it has. SG’s position was a reasonable one. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] The government is applying faulty economics in the case of Amaila

By Carl B Greenidge letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 3 September 2013 | The APNU is convinced that hydro development is a central part of the renewable energy plan. A case does not need to be made for hydro at this stage. The savings (in imported fuel, etc) that will follow from any hydro are more or less the same. The dispute is not substantively about the benefits, it is the cost. We need not waste time arguing about the likely savings therefore. For the sake of argument let us say there will be all the savings they claim although we know that roughly half of the thermal generating capacity will remain in place for a variety of reasons, including standby capacity and to serve interior areas, so the saving in fuel can only be approximately half or little more than 50% of current fuel import bill. Let us now look at what matters.

Palm oil now biggest cause of deforestation in Indonesia

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 3 September 2013 | Conversion of forests for palm oil production now appears to be the single largest driver of deforestation in Indonesia, accounting for roughly a quarter of forest loss between 2009 and 2011, asserts a new Greenpeace report that accuses the sector’s main certification standard of failing to stop forest destruction. The report, titled Certifying Destruction, uses satellite imagery, government concession data, field investigations, and third party analysis to conclude that several recent and current members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) — the industry’s chief eco-certification body — are continuing to buy or trade palm oil produced via the conversion of rainforests and carbon-dense peatlands in the Southeast Asian nation.

Tanzania: Ministry Pushes for Community Participation in Conservation

Tanzania Daily News, 3 September 2013 | Community participatory approach in the protection of natural resources like forests features high in the agenda of the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Lazaro Nyalandu, said involvement of the community in safeguarding natural forests and national parks would help deter wanton destruction of forests and poaching. He was responding to a question by Mbarouk Salum Ali (Wete Pemba – CUF), who wanted to learn from the government about the number of national parks currently under protection through community participatory approach.

4 September 2013

Wildfires and Climate Change

By Kate Galbraith, New York Times, 4 September 2013 | The huge wildfire scorching one of America’s most beloved national parks, Yosemite, has rained ash on San Francisco’s water supply and jolted the nation. Experts say this is just a foretaste of major fires to come, in the United States and much of the world. Increasing incursions by humans into forests, coupled with altered forest ecology and climate change, will make fires bigger and more destructive, with implications for air quality as well as homes and infrastructure. “We face the increased risk of fires almost everywhere,” said Chris Field, director of the department of global ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science, who is co-chairman of a working group for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Comment: it’s time to make the UN climate talks more accessible

By Joy Hyvarinen (Field), RTCC, 4 September 2013 | Decisions by the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are often long, complicated and difficult to understand. Such decisions favour countries that are represented by English speakers and create a serious disadvantage for other countries. Why do decisions become long and complicated? With up to 195 Parties involved in drafting and agreeing COP decisions it is not surprising that decisions can become unclear and confusing. Parties expect COP decisions to be written in the same style as before. Complicated words and expressions have become routine. Other Parties might be very surprised if one Party suggested text in a different style (they might even suspect a hidden motive). Sometimes it may be important for some Parties that certain wording is repeated many times as reassurance that their point of view is taken into account.

Drawing, role-playing and 3D maps improve land use planning

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 4 September 2013 | Jean-Christophe Castella often asks Laotian villagers to play the role of developers, conservationists, investors or farmers as they huddle around a table-top virtual village elegantly crafted from plaster bandage strips and cardboard. Villagers move bits of string back and forth, negotiating where to clear forests to expand farmland, or where a proposed road would best traverse the landscape. Sometimes a foreign investor, played by Castella steps in and makes a generous offer for a land concession – which is not easy to refuse, the villagers admit. The game is based on a “landscape approach” designed to balance competing demands for food, income, biodiversity and ecosystem services (such as clean water and carbon sequestration) to integrate development and conservation needs.

[Guyana] Mr. Brassington continues to create his own realities and enemies

By Christopher Ram, Kaieteur News, 4 September 2013 | I had hoped, vainly it seems, that the Government and the hydroelectric power team led by Mr. Winston Brassington would take the necessary steps to address the country’s energy situation and GPL’s losses following Sithe’s withdrawal from the Amaila Falls project. Instead Mr. Brassington continues to create his own realities and enemies. The latest case of this is his response, through NICIL, to public concerns over the findings of the recently released 2009/2010 Economic and Financial Evaluation Study done by Mercados Energeticos of Argentina in connection with the water flows at Amaila. Mercados reported on the possibility of low or no power from Amaila during the eight months dry spell each year.

[Guyana] US law governs Amaila Hydro Project Agreement

Kaieteur News, 4 September 2013 | The Agreement that was entered into between Government and Sithe Global for the development of the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, “shall be construed and governed by the laws of the State of New York, without regard to the principles of conflict of laws.” This has been expressly stated in the leaked confidential project document for the Amaila Falls Hydro Project. The document further states that any arbitration to be had, resulting from any disputes between the parties involved, shall be conducted in Washington DC, in the United States of America. According to the leaked confidential project document, should a dispute arise between the parties in the agreement, they would have 30 days within which to attempt to settle in good faith. In the event that this fails, it would be determined in the US through arbitration.

[Guyana] Greenidge: APNU never informed of public review of Amaila project

Stabroek News, 4 September 2013 | APNU MP Carl Greenidge says the main opposition is not responsible for the IDB’s decision to discontinue its due diligence study of the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project or the resulting scuttling of a public review of the venture that it was never informed about. Reacting to the decision of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to discontinue its long-awaited due diligence study on the project, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh in a statement last week blamed APNU’s decision to oppose the Amaila related bill and motion for the bank’s decision to discontinue its work.

Highly touted REDD program still looking for footing in Indonesia, four years later

Public Radio International, 4 September 2013 | The REDD program, facilitated by the United Nations, seeks to preserve crucial forests using financial incentives and markets. But in four years since opening shop in Indonesia, the program has struggled to make a meaningful start… But REDD doesn’t work overnight, and even back in 2009, when the program was launched, Indonesian politicians were worried that the slow payback would doom the project from the very start. Amy Moas, an environmental activist for Greenpeace, says, in fact, progress has been incredibly slow. "While there is a general consensus within the international community that this is a good idea to reduce emissions through deforestation, we have not yet practically figured out how to create a program that will see real carbon emissions and protection of forests," she said.

Myanmar gets Chinese help to enter U.N. carbon market

Stian Reklev, Reuters Point Carbon, 4 September 2013 | Myanmar this week signed a deal to develop carbon-cutting projects under the U.N. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) with China’s Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group, a technology investment firm, Chinese media reported. Under the agreement, Sunshine Kaidi will assist Myanmar in determining the potential of developing CDM projects in the country and fund project development, news agency Xinhua reported.

Paraguay saves its forests by extending Zero Deforestation Law

EcoSeed, 4 September 2013 | The Paraguayan government has extended the Zero Deforestation Law for an additional five years in an attempt to further reduce its forests degradation. The extension of the Land Conversion Moratorium for the Atlantic Forest of Paraguay, also known as the Zero Deforestation Law, is in line with the Atlantic Forest – located in Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina – already being considered one of the world’s most endangered tropical rainforests. With just 7 percent of the rainforest’s original surface remaining, Paraguay previously had the second-highest deforestation rate in the world, with nearly 7 million hectares of the Atlantic Forest lost due to slash-and burn methods of agriculture and ranching. The Zero Deforestation Law was enacted back in 2004 and dramatically slowed down Paraguay’s deforestation rate by as much as 90 percent in the eastern part of the country.

South Africa To Plant One Million Trees In 2013

Bernama, 4 September 2013 | A million trees would have been planted by the end of this year across the country, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said at the launch of 2013 National Arbor Week Launch. Joemat-Pettersson was speaking at Mpumalanga stadium outside Durban to mark the beginning of the National Annual Arbor (Latin meaning tree) Week. The minister announced that they had made an allocation of 2,000 trees to be planted in KwaZulu-Natal this year alone – 1,000 of which are fruit trees. The million trees to be planted this year will bring to 13 million the number of trees planted nationwide since the project began in 2000. The million-a-year tree plantation programme is in partnership with petroleum giant Total South Africa. "The trees we plant are meaningful to the communities. They enhance our communities and transform our neighborhoods for the better," said Total SA spokesperson Pansy Mekwa.

U.S. Becomes Largest Wood Pellet Exporter, Clearcutting Forests and Destroying Wetlands

By Debbie Hammel, EcoWatch, 4 September 2013 | When you think about burning wood to heat your home, you might imagine a cozy fireplace, not a giant power plant. Unfortunately, utility companies in Europe are making massive investments to convert their power plants to burn wood—known as “biomass”—as a replacement for coal and other fossil fuels. This is despite the fact that recent research shows that burning whole trees in power plants actually increases carbon emissions relative to fossil fuels for many decades—anywhere from 35 to 100 years or more. It also emits higher levels of multiple air pollutants. The result of this new demand has been the explosive growth of wood pellet exports from North America, most of which originate in our Southern forests here in the U.S., putting into peril some of the most valuable ecosystems in the world.

5 September 2013

Insurance Giant Allianz Targets Climate Change Risk: Expending “Unavoidable Emissions”

By Aman Singh, CSRwire, 5 September 2013 | This week, I turned to insurance giant Allianz who has also chosen to use carbon offsetting to target deforestation and reduce its environmental footprint. Excerpts from my conversation with Martin Ewald, Head of Investment Strategy and Renewable Energy/Infrastructure Equity with Allianz Global Investors… Our investment in REDD+ is consistent with our strategy of supporting effective climate projects in emerging and developing countries. We have invested in forest protection in Kenya with Wildlife Works, one of the leading developers of REDD+ projects. These projects don’t simply protect threatened forests; they also involve the local population and provide them with a source of livelihood. REDD+ will also raise awareness of how to deal with resources in a responsible manner, besides helping preserve the habitat of the local population. Due to the considerable impact generated, we business travelplan to continue investing in the REDD+ sector.

Climate Talks Should Encourage New Carbon-Trade Tests, IETA Says

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 5 September 2013 | Emissions traders want United Nations climate talks in November to set rules on a trial system of globally linked carbon markets, according to their Geneva-based lobby group. A market framework recognized by the UN would allow member countries to pursue their own carbon-cutting programs, while providing a “large” pool of tradable emission-reduction credits, Dirk Forrister, president of the International Emissions Trading Association, said yesterday by phone. Prices in the pool may be lower than in individual markets, which would attract nations seeking to cut costs, he said. “The incentive to participate is that it’s wise to be part of a broad group of countries,” said Forrister, who helped advise former President Bill Clinton on climate protection.

If Abbott is elected, Australia’s natural wonders will gradually be rubbed away

By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 5 September 2013 | Abbott is following a familiar script – the 4 Ds of climate change inaction promoted by fossil fuel lovers the world over. Deny, then defer, then delay, then despair. His Direct Action program for reducing emissions is incapable of delivering the cuts it promises, absurdly underfunded and surrounded by a swarm of unanswered questions. Were it to become big enough to meet its promises, it would be far more expensive than a comparable carbon trading scheme, which Abbott has falsely claimed would incur "almost unimaginable" costs. But it won’t be big enough, because he refuses to set aside the money it requires. Direct Action is a program designed to create a semblance of policy, in the certain knowledge that it will fail to achieve its objectives.

[Canada] Carbon credit plans move ahead

By Andrew Mitchell, Pique Newsmagazine, 5 September 2013 | A bid to sell carbon credits in the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) is moving forward with a project validation process getting underway that’s expected to take between two and three months to complete. Ecotrust Canada, a charitable organization working to build a conservation-based economy, has been working with the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) for the past seven years and has committed to the project. It believes it’s the best possible way to ensure a healthy forest for the region and to create a revenue stream that supports low impact forest management into the future.

[Indonesia] Fire and haze in Riau: Looking beyond the hotspots

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 5 September 2013 | Another observation is that investments in oil palm planting is profitable enough to attract capital in large quantities, leading to the substantial land conversions we observe. In fact, we neither observed nor heard of any reason for land conversion other than palm oil production. The main sources of capital and the pattern of investments appear to have shifted to entrepreneurs that are neither large corporations nor local ‘smallholders’, as has also been observed by the World Agroforestry Centre. Clearly, we don’t have the full picture of these investment trends – who is behind them, to what extent the investments are legitimate, how they impact local stakeholders and the environment, or how the value chains of oil palm are operating in relation to laws on issues like land use and corruption.

South Africa Aims To Blend Carbon Tax With Offsets

By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 5 September 2013 | To tax or to trade? That is the question countries are asking as they look for ways to incentivize the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. South Africa has pitched a tent somewhere between the two camps by proposing a carbon tax to be implemented in 2015, but floating the idea of letting companies use carbon offsets to meet up to 10% of their carbon tax liability. During the 2009 Copenhagen climate change negotiations, the country announced it would voluntarily aim to reduce its GHG emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025 from business as usual. That triggered a series of consultations and research on the best ways to achieve those goals, with South Africa’s National Treasury department releasing a discussion paper specifically focused on the carbon tax option in December 2010.

6 September 2013

[Thailand] When can we go back!

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, 6 September 2013 | "It took over twenty years of hard work by Indigenous Peoples representatives to have a declaration affirming the collective rights of Indigenous peoples to be adopted by the United Nations. Most of the countries in Asia have adopted this United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Here is a story of Karen Indigenous Peoples in Thailand illustrating why we need this declaration and what can happen when the basic human rights of indigenous peoples are ignored."

7 September 2013

[Indonesia] Govt forms REDD agency

Jakarta Post, 7 September 2013 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a presidential decree on the establishment of a national agency on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). According to a press statement sent by the cabinet secretary’s office on Saturday, the establishment of the ministerial-level agency is part of the government’s commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020, or by 41 percent with the help of international entities, as stated by the president in 2009.

Indonesia finally establishes REDD+ agency to tackle deforestation

mongabay.com, 7 September 2013 | Indonesia has finally established an agency to implement the country’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) program. The REDD+ agency, established by a decree from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday, is a ministry-level body that will coordinate a national REDD+ strategy between various ministries that influence and control land use policy across the sprawling archipelago. The agency will also oversee monitoring, reporting, and verifying emissions reductions as required under a billion dollar agreement signed with Norway in 2010. Norway is compensating Indonesia on a performance-basis for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. The pact with Norway stipulated the creation of the agency, but the process has lagged behind schedule due to disagreements between various bureaucracies. Nonetheless, REDD+ has been slowly moving forward in pilot provinces, including Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo.

8 September 2013

[Guyana] Essequibo Coast, Wakenaam, Leguan, Bartica will not receive electricity from Amaila

Kaieteur News, 8 September 2013 | The Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, whenever it is completed and becomes operational, will not be supplying any electricity to Essequibo. At present the project seems dead but recently the government has been saying that it is only delayed for a year. The non-supply of electricity would be extended to villages along the coast between Supenaam and Charity, Bartica or the two largely populated islands —Wakenaam and Leguan. This was confirmed on Friday last by the Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL), Bharat Dindyal, when the top brass for the power company met with members of the public to discuss its performance over the past year and the first half of this year. According to Dindyal, it would have been too expensive to have a transmission line erected and strung to supply that county with electricity.

[Guyana] Work on Amaila road to continue

Stabroek News, 8 September 2013 | Minister of Works Robeson Benn said government will continue work on the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project road despite the collapse of the larger hydro project, since discontinuing it mid-step would mean all the investment would go to waste. He said government is prepared to bear the maintenance cost of the road once completed… [R-M: Subscription needed.]


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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