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REDD in the news: 21-27 October 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.

21 October 2013

‘Absolutely’ a link between climate change and wildfires, U.N. climate chief Figueres tells Amanpour

By Mick Krever, CNN, 21 October 2013 | There is “absolutely” a link between climate change and wildfires, U.N. Climate Chief Christiana Figueres told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday. Wildfires are raging in a ring around Sydney, Australia, as that country experiences its hottest year on record. “The World Meteorological Organization has not established a direct link between this wildfire and climate change – yet,” Figueres said. “But what is absolutely clear is the science is telling us that there are increasing heat waves in Asia, Europe, and Australia; that there these will continue; that they will continue in their intensity and in their frequency.” Australia’s new prime minister, Tony Abbott, has expressed deep scepticism about climate change, once even calling it “absolute c**p” (he has since walked those remarks back). Abbott is trying to get rid of Australia’s carbon tax and has dissolved its climate change commission.

Separated at Birth? COD Aid and REDD

By Frances Seymour, Center For Global Development, 21 October 2013 | The evolutionary paths of the two concepts appear to have followed similar trajectories. COD Aid builds on but is different from various other “results-based” aid instruments by focusing on payment for performance at the national level, thereby incentivizing removal of policy barriers and extra-sectoral constraints. REDD+ builds on previous “payments for environmental services” schemes, and was initiated with project-level “demonstration activities,” but proponents recognized early on that unless it was successful in catalyzing transformational change across sectors, deforestation would continue.

Environmental service incentives in the state of Acre, Brazil: Lessons for policies, programmes and strategies for jurisdiction-wide REDD

WWF, 21 October 2013 | The Brazilian state of Acre in the Amazon — home to the Sky Rainforest Rescue project — is considered a leader in the field of REDD+ at the state-level. Acre’s law that created the Environmental Service Incentives System (SISA in Portuguese), sets out a framework for valuing a range of ecosystem services. Its REDD+ programme, ISA Carbon, is the most developed component of the SISA to date. This WWF report analyzes the design and construction of ISA Carbon and identifies strengths and challenges. It aims to provide insights for the further development and implementation of SISA as well as identifying relevant lessons for the design of other national and subnational REDD+ mechanisms around the world.

Defective EU carbon trading scheme is adding billions to UK energy costs

By Iain McKie, City A.M., 21 October 2013 | You may never have heard of it, but a European scheme, designed to achieve carbon emissions targets that have already been met, is adding billions to consumer energy bills. This year and every year until 2020, the UK government will auction hundreds of millions of carbon credits – called European Union Allowances (EUAs) – into the market for use by power companies. At current prices of around €5 per credit, this should net the Treasury about €1bn (£845m) a year. The EUAs are the main “currency” of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), borne out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and designed to help us monitor and reduce our carbon emissions to hit various targets.

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin says has hired 400 workers

Stabroek News, 21 October 2013 | Nine months after it advertised for 700 workers, Bai Shan Lin says it has hired some 400 persons and they have been deployed in the different areas of the company’s forest and wood processing operations around the country. This is according to an official of the company last week. He said that the company hopes to hire an additional 200 employees before the end of the year. “We have not hired all of the 700 persons as yet. Only about 400 of them,” the official told Stabroek News. He said that some of the persons hired have been deployed to the company’s operations in Kwakwani, Linden, in Georgetown, in Ogle, in Itaballi and along the Waini River in Region 1. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Building REDD for People and Nature: from lessons learned across Indonesia, Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo to a new vision for REDD

WWF, 21 October 2013 | This report reflects on lessons learned from three years of work building and testing capacities to reduce forest carbon emissions across nearly 15.5 million hectares of the world’s most important tropical forests – an area larger than the size of England – and links these to a new vision for REDD+. Forests play an integral role in the survival of people and the planet. More than 1.6 billion people around the world are directly dependent on forests for fuel, housing and nourishment. Forests are also carbon stores – holding more carbon than found in the entire atmosphere. Forest loss accounts for up to 20% of annual global carbon emissions – more than that emitted by all the automobiles, trucks, trains, planes and ship worldwide. It is imperative, therefore, that forests must be conserved if we are to ensure the long-term livelihood of people and the planet.

Indonesia should improve its forest governance index: UNDP

Antara News, 21 October 2013 | Indonesia should improve its forest governance as its index is still low in order to achieve sustainable development and green growth, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) director said. “Indonesia`s Forest Governance Index is still low. There are rooms to improve it, even to implement the existing rules and regulations,” UNDP director for Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Haoliang Xu said during an interview here on Sunday evening. UNDP Indonesia, Ministry of Forestry, National REDD+ Task Force and National Development Planning Board (BAPPENAS) jointly conducted the participatory government assessment (PGA) to provide adequate monitoring instrument for forest and peat land protection in Indonesia.

Panel discussion on “landmark” Indonesia-EU timber trade pact

CIFOR Forests News Blog, 21 October 2013 | On 30 September, 2013, the government of Indonesia signed the Collaboration Agreement on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT-VPA) in Brussels. The long-awaited pact caps six years of negotiations over technical details of the plan, which aims to stem illegal logging by ensuring that only legally sourced timber products are imported by the European Union from Indonesia. The pact is “one of a number of initiatives that are being addressed at different scales to tackle some of the major forest governance problems and challenges in Indonesia,” says Andrew Wardell, Director of Forests and Governance Research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Wardell recently led a panel discussion with fellow CIFOR scientists about the agreement, which he called a “major achievement,” though he expressed concerns about caveats and weaknesses within the pact.

Mexico’s carbon credits scheme could hit steel jobs, industry sources warn

By Samuel Williams, BNamericas, 21 October 2013 | Proposals to introduce a system of carbon credit payments could result in job losses in Mexico’s steel sector, industry insiders have warned. The plans, included in the government’s proposed tax reforms in September, would see charges imposed on fossil fuel use, including about 70 pesos (US$5.40) per ton of coal, in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But bosses at Mexican steelmaker Altos Hornos de México (BMV: AHMSA) (Ahmsa) subsidiary Minera del Norte said the proposals would have a damaging effect on the steel industry, a major coal consumer, local daily El Universal reports. The charges would have a “negative” impact on the sector and jeopardize economic growth and job creation, the company executives were quoted as saying. Union leaders have also warned the carbon credits scheme would result in the loss of 400,000 jobs in the steel industry as companies are forced to shed staff, the report added.

U.S. carbon emissions hit lowest level since 1994

By Wendy Koch, USA Today, 21 October 2013 | In a bit of encouraging climate news, the U.S. government reported Monday that U.S. emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels were lower last year than at any time since 1994. Driven by efficiency gains, an unusually warm winter and a switch from coal to natural gas, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions actually declined 3.8% in 2012 even though the U.S. economy grew 2.8% that year, according to new data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy. This emissions decline was the largest in any year that had positive growth in per capita gross domestic product (GDP) — its economic output — and the only drop when GDP rose at least 2%. It reflects a generally downward U.S. trend, in which the nation’s CO2 emissions have fallen five out of the last seven years — and are now 12% below the 2007 peak.

22 October 2013

UN climate chief’s tears over future generations

By Matt McGrath, BBC News, 22 October 2013 | The head of the UN body tasked with delivering a global climate treaty broke down in tears at a meeting in London as she spoke about the impact of global warming on coming generations. Christiana Figueres told the BBC that the lack of an agreement was “condemning future generations before they are even born”. Ms Figueres said this was “completely unfair and immoral”. Despite the slow pace of negotiations, she said a deal can be done by 2015.

Q A: Scientist Terry Sunderland describes the “landscapes approach”

By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 October 2013 | BOGOR, Indonesia (22 October 2013) — A Global Landscapes Forum organized to coincide with upcoming international climate change talks in Warsaw will focus on taking a holistic approach to land-use management. In the following interview, Terry Sunderland, a principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) defines “landscape approach” — why we need one, and what scientists, non-governmental organizations and policymakers need to do to start implementing it. Q: What is a landscape approach? A: A landscape approach is essentially managing complex landscapes in an integrated fashion, in a holistic fashion, incorporating all the different land uses within those landscapes in a single management process.

[Australia] UN climate chief says Direct Action ‘a lot more expensive’ than pricing carbon

By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 22 October 2013 | The Coalition government is set to pay a “high political price” for its Direct Action climate change plan, according to the United Nation’s climate chief. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said the government’s approach could be “a lot more expensive” than pricing carbon and called for rapid cuts in emissions to avoid the kind of “doom and gloom” represented by the New South Wales bushfires. “What the new government in Australia has not done is step away from its international commitment on climate change,” Figueres told CNN. “What they are struggling with is not what they are going to do but how are they going to get there. “They are going to have to pay a very high political price and a very high financial price because the route they are choosing to take to get to the same target agreed by the last government could be a lot more expensive for them, and for the population.”

Global climate spending falling further behind target – report

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 22 October 2013 | Global spending to combat climate change fell last year and remains far below the level needed to prevent its most dangerous effects, a report by the Climate Policy Initiative said on Tuesday. Investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and adaptation to climate change totalled $359 billion, $5 billion less than in 2011, as an economic slowdown hit state and private-sector budgets. The International Energy Agency estimated last year that $5 trillion of investment in clean energy alone was needed by 2020 to keep a rise in global temperatures to within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). Scientists say that threshold is the minimum required to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change, such as the melting of ice caps and catastrophic rises in sea level.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 October 2013 | Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace will unveil its most recent State of the Forest Carbon Markets report on November 6, 2013. The report, which details our latest findings on the state of forest carbon projects’ structure, standards, and finance, will be freely available on both the Ecosystem Marketplace and Forest Carbon Portal websites on and after this date. In 2012, the State of the Forest Carbon Markets report was Ecosystem Marketplace’s most widely-accessed research product. This year’s edition explores topics ranging from global market activity; to the time-cost of the project cycle; to the changing dynamics of forest finance. Supported by more data points and representing projects in more locations than ever before, we’re confident that our 2013 report will inform a broad range of policy, practitioner and investment discussions.

Amazon forest drying out because of changing climate

By Alex Kirby, Climate Times, 22 October 2013 | Researchers say the southern part of the Amazon rainforest is at a far higher risk of dieback than the models used in the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The research team, led by Professor Rong Fu of the University of Texas, say that this is because the forest is drying out much quicker than projected. If the damage is severe enough, they say the loss of rainforest could cause the release of large volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and could also disrupt plant and animal communities in one of the world’s most biodiversity-rich regions, as outlined in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

[Guyana] Gov’t, UNDP sign pact for US$10.7M Amerindian land titling project

Stabroek News, 22 October 2013 | The 7th annual National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting opened yesterday with the signing of a US$10.7 million agreement between government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Amerindian land titling and community demarcation. The agreement, which falls under the Guyana/Norway forest partnership, was signed by Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh and UNDP Country Representative to Guyana Khadija Musa at the International Conference Centre, which is the venue for the five-day meeting. According to Singh, the money would be used to advance the land titling initiative that is already underway. He revealed that to date 97 villages have been titled, while 77 others have had their lands demarcated. Under this new agreement, 13 communities are to be issued with titles, while 33 others are expected to be demarcated.

[Indonesia] Plantations Winnow Tigers Down to the Hundreds

By Thalif Deen, IPS, 22 October 2013 | The tiger population in the rainforests of Sumatra is vanishing at a staggering rate, reducing the number of the endangered species to as few as 400, warns Greenpeace International. The primary reason is the expansion of oil palm and pulpwood plantations, which are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the destruction of tiger habitat from 2009 to 2011, the most recent period for which official Indonesian government data are available. In a new study released Tuesday, Greenpeace says such destruction fragments the extensive tracts of rainforest over which tigers need to range in order to hunt… Asked whether the United Nations is engaged in the protection of tigers, Bustar Maitar, the Indonesian head of Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign and Global Forest Network, told IPS, “I don’t see much U.N. activity on forests. “The only thing I know is the UNPD manages a one-billion-dollar fund from the Norwegian government for … REDD.”

Greenpeace slams palm oil giant supplying Oreo and Gillette

AFP, 22 October 2013 | Oreo cookies and Gillette shaving cream are among products driving the destruction of Indonesia’s forests, Greenpeace said Tuesday, accusing agri giant Wilmar International for supplying “dirty palm oil” to make the grocery items. In its report “Licence to Kill”, Greenpeace said that Singapore-based Wilmar, the world’s biggest palm oil processor, was sourcing its oil from illegally cleared land and destroying the habitat of critically endangered Sumatran tigers. “Until Wilmar commits to a no-deforestation policy, their trade of palm oil to big household brands… makes consumers unwitting accomplices in the extinction of Indonesia’s 400 remaining Sumatran tigers,” head of Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign in Indonesia, Bustar Maitar, said. Wilmar supplies more than a third of the world’s palm oil, according to the company’s website, and its oil can be found in Oreo cookies, Gillette shaving cream and Clearasil face wash, among an array of grocery items…

[Indonesia] UKP4 Prepares Transition to REDD Management Agency

Tempo, 22 October 2013 | Head of the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, ensured work of the now defunct REDD+ Task Force, will be maintained by UKP4 until the new REDD+ Management Agency is formed. “Before the REDD+ Management Agency is completely formed, functions and duties of the Agency will be done by UKP4, in accordance with Presidential Decree number 62/2013,” Kuntoro said in Jakarta Tuesday according to a release Tempo received. “It is important to keep the momentum of all of the work that has been initiated by the REDD+ Task Force, including good governance, transparency and accountability, and participation in managing REDD+ in a multi-sector context.” In this transition period, UKP4 will hold a series of workshops on REDD+ implementation in Indonesia, inviting various stakeholders to discuss a range of situation on the ground and the challenges and opportunities for REDD+ implementation and continuation.

[USA] Finite Carbon and Norfolk Southern register Brosnan Forest carbon project

Norfolk Southern Corporation press release, 22 October 2013 | Finite Carbon and Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) today announced the successful development and registration of the Brosnan Forest Improved Forest Management carbon project. The project meets the Climate Action Reserve’s forest project protocol and resulted in more than 282,000 eligible carbon offset credits at initial registration. The project is being transitioned as an early action project for the California Air Resources Board greenhouse gas emissions trading program. Carbon offset credits are issued for projects that significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each credit represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide-equivalents avoided by the natural process of trees absorbing carbon dioxide. The credits can be sold to companies or individuals interested in offsetting their emissions.

23 October 2013

Australia, U.N. spar over wildfires and climate change

By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 23 October 2013 | Australia’s prime minister accused the U.N.’s climate change chief on Wednesday of “talking through her hat” when she drew a link between wildfires raging in his country and global warming. Firefighters were battling about 60 fires burning across New South Wales state, with strong winds fanning blazes in the Blue Mountains, a major commuter area of small towns west of Sydney. Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N.’s Bonn-based Climate Change Secretariat, told CNN earlier this week that there was “absolutely” a link between climate change and wildfires. She hinted at a possibility of linking the Australian fires to global warming, saying: “The World Meteorological Organization has not established a direct link between this wildfire and climate change yet.”

Illegal logging remains rampant in Brazil

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 23 October 2013 | Illegal logging remains pervasive in the Brazilian state of Pará, finds an assessment released Monday by Imazon. Analyzing satellite data and records from Pará’s environmental agency Sema, the Brazil-based NGO found that 78 percent of logging documented via satellite between August 2011 and July 2012 was illegal. Some 122,337 hectares of rainforest was logged during the period, a 151 percent rise over a year earlier, when 48,802 ha were illegally harvested. Illegal logging far outpaced legal logging in the state: the area illegally cut was three-and-a-half times larger than the 34,902 ha where sanctioned logging took place. 15 percent of illegal logging occurred in the municipality of Portel. Paragominas, the municipality that has been heralded for its progress in reducing deforestation since 2009, accounted for less than 4 percent of illegal logging.

[Guyana] Budget cuts delay hinterland development

Kaieteur News, 23 October 2013 | The long standing issue of land titling in the hinterland regions could soon see a resolution with the inking of a US$10.7 Million contract by the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The signing took place during the Seventh Annual meeting of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) at Liliendaal on Monday. The five-day forum is the highest at which Amerindians’ concerns are ventilated. Among the topics that are usually discussed at the high level sessions are the progress of community development projects (CDPs), presidential grants, and land titling. This year’s conference is being held under the theme, ‘Culture of Good Governance for Sustained Village Economies.”

24 October 2013

IPCC’s ‘carbon budget’ will not drive Warsaw talks, says Christiana Figueres

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 24 October 2013 | A key finding of the UN climate panel’s latest report on climate change is too politically “difficult” to drive international climate talks in November, according to the UN’s climate chief. Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated how much carbon dioxide the world could emit in future without going over 2C of warming – and showed that, at current rates, this “budget” would be exhausted within 30 years. It effectively put a limit on the amount of CO2 that the human activities such as burning fossil fuels can produce, without risking what scientists regard as dangerous climate change. But Christiana Figueres, executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said carbon budgets were a good scientific exercise but said that they could not be the basis for negotiations. “I don’t think it’s possible,” she told the Guardian in an interview. “Politically it would be very difficult.”

Wall Street Demands Answers From Fossil Fuel Producers on ‘Unburnable’ Carbon

By Elizabeth Douglass, InsideClimate News, 24 October 2013 | A well-heeled coalition of investors is asking top fossil fuel companies to calculate the risks of plowing billions into new oil, gas and coal projects. They fear that carbon emission limits and slowing demand will turn them into bad investments that leave investors worse off. The requests, contained in letters sent to 45 companies last month, are part of an initiative aimed at persuading oil producers and others to rein in their quest to stockpile more carbon energy. They hope to do so by tapping into growing concerns that climate policies and market factors could prevent companies from selling all of their reserves of fossil fuels, which are still growing fast. Companies with large amounts of such “unburnable” carbon resources could see their stock prices slashed, clobbering the value of investment portfolios that hold the shares.

To The Atlantic: Don’t Let Conservation Finance Go The Way Of Obamacare And Climate Science

By Steve Zwick, The Huffington Post, 24 October 2013 | REDD+ has emerged as our most powerful tool for financing forest conservation, and forestry-based carbon offset purchases alone have financed the protection of over 26 million hectares in developing countries, according to data that we’ll be releasing in our next State of Forest Carbon Markets report. That’s larger than the entire forested area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the total land area of Ecuador… Yet left-wing ideologues hate REDD, and they hate it with the same visceral passion that the Tea Party hates Obamacare. They hate it because they think the profit motive got us into this climate mess, and there’s no room in their worldview for a market-based mechanism that succeeds where philanthropy and traditional policies have failed. Rather than subject their views to the pros and cons of rational debate, however, they’ve unleashed their own barrage of lies, half-truths, and innuendo…

Canada failing to meet 2020 emissions targets

By Kathleen Harris, CBC News, 24 October 2013 | Canada will fail to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reductions targets under the Copenhagen Accord even with more regulation of the oil and gas sector, according to a new report and internal government analysis obtained by CBC News. A report released today titled Canada’s Emissions Trends shows projections to 2020 with a significant and growing gap for targets even under variable economic growth and energy resource development scenarios. With current measures in place, emissions are now projected to be 734 megatonnes – 122 megatonnes higher than Canada’s target of 612 megatonnes under the international treaty signed in 2009, according to the Environment Canada report. But, the report notes “significant progress” and says emissions would have risen to 862 megatonnes if no action had been taken by consumers, businesses and governments since 2005.

New Bank to Handle Costa Rica Carbon Credit Trading

The Costa Rican Times, 24 October 2013 | (Reuters Point Carbon) – Costa Rica has created a new financial institution to handle the expected trading of carbon credits among companies and public institutions that have joined the country’s aim to reach zero carbon emissions. The initiative, called BANCO2, will assist dealings with Costa Rica’s compensation units, known as UCCs, as well as with U.N.-issued carbon offsets and some types of voluntary markets credits. “The bank will be a tool to help the country meet its target to become carbon neutral, but could also attract other investors,” said Rene Castro, Costa Rica’s environment and energy minister, in an audio message distributed by the government on Tuesday. BANCO2 could also support local projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ghana’s Cocoa-Eco Project to receive support from IITA

By Kofi Adu Domfeh, Modern Ghana, 24 October 2013 | The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has expressed interest in supporting interventions to address the impact of climate variability and climate change on Ghana’s cocoa production. The Institute would partner with SNV Ghana to support cocoa farmers in how they can “best find a balance between intensification, adaptation and mitigation and identify short-and long-term risks and benefits” under the Cocoa-Eco Project, that SNV and the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union are implementing. This 30-month pilot project, covering ten cocoa growing districts, is aimed at limiting the encroachment of cocoa plantations into forest lands and conservation of biodiversity by creating environmental awareness among cocoa farmers, especially on issues of land degradation and deforestation.

[Guyana] Amerindians protest titling project without recognition of traditional lands

Stabroek News, 24 October 2013 | The government/UNDP agreement for the US$10.7M Amerindian land titling project came under protest yesterday by dozens of Amerindians led by the Amerindian People’s Association (APA), which says the recognition of the use of some traditional lands is still to be resolved. Amerindian protestors turned up at the Guyana International Conference Centre, which is the venue for the ongoing 7th annual National Toshaos Council (NTC) meeting, to protest the agreement while also lending support to toshaos seeking to have concerns adequately addressed. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] APA stages protest at National Toshaos Conference

Kaieteur News, 24 October 2013 | Members of the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) on Wednesday staged a protest at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) at Liliendaal. That is the venue hosting the Seventh meeting of the National Toshaos Council. The group appeared twice at the conference yesterday, voicing members’ concerns about the titling of land, and their fears that their Toshaos will be swindled by the government and that they will not discuss the issues at hand. The five-day session which kicked off on Monday is being held under the theme, “Culture of Good Governance for Sustained Village Economies.”

[Guyana] President announces bigger stipend for toshaos

Stabroek News, 24 October 2013 | President Donald Ramotar yesterday announced an increase in the stipend for toshaos of Amerindian villages. According to the Government Information Agency, President Ramotar, noting that the work of a Toshao is more about being in service to one’s community, said that Government has decided to raise the Toshaos from $20,000 to 30,000 per month. He said also that the Deputy Toshao will be given a stipend of $15,000 and that the senior councillors will also benefit from an increase from $15,000 to 20,000.

U.S. Rejects Rigid Rules as ‘Roadblock’ to Climate Treaty

By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 24 October 2013 | Rigid rules and internationally negotiated emissions targets may hinder efforts to draft a new climate treaty by 2015, the lead U.S. envoy said, calling for a more flexible approach for nations to set individual goals. “Rigidity is a potential roadblock,” U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern said today in a speech at the policy-analysis group Chatham House in London. While a “system of strict rules and compliance might sound good on paper, it would almost certainly depress the ambition of commitments and limit participation by countries.” … Stern said the only way to broaden participation is to ensure that any new deal is flexible enough to facilitate negotiations as countries determine for themselves what commitments they would make. At the same time, those pledges must be clearly defined and subject to international review “to promote ambition,” he said.

25 October 2013

On Landscapes – Part 1: Why are landscapes important?

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 October 2013 | The Global Landscapes Forum is less than a month away, and it is time to prepare for lively debates on the what, why and how of landscapes. The landscape concept has stirred up lots of interest over the past year, but there have also been questions about what is meant by a landscape and how a landscape approach would actually work. In a series of blogs over the coming days, I will recap some thoughts on landscapes that have emerged from my discussions with many different people. I am not aiming to be conclusive or even scientific in these blogs, but want to stimulate thoughts and comments ahead of the Forum.

Guyana faces huge cut in Norway $$

Stabroek News, 25 October 2013 | Guyana’s deforestation rate has jumped to 0.079% and the country stands to lose up to 45% of funds that it would have earned for 2012 under the Guyana-Norway forest protection partnership. “It would appear as if a very significant portion of the funds could be cut,” head of Conservation International- Guyana, Dr. David Singh told Stabroek News yesterday when contacted on the latest data. He emphasised that while he would not like to cause alarm, the latest figures are significant. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

26 October 2013

Landscapes debate could reinvigorate UN climate talks in Warsaw – negotiator

By Ann-Kathrin Neureuther, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 26 October 2013 | A dedicated Global Landscapes Forum to coincide with upcoming international climate change talks in Warsaw will highlight the benefits of taking a holistic approach to land-use management and could give the strategy a key role in efforts to curb global warming, an international climate negotiator has said. Negotiators are expected to broaden the scope of talks rather than solving some of the controversial details related to the verification of carbon emissions under the UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions caused by Deforestation and forest Degradation) scheme, which stalled during climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar, last year. The Twitter chat will be moderated by @GlobalLF “It’s very important to have Landscape Day for agenda-setting,” said Tony La Viña, a forestry expert who negotiates on behalf of the Philippines.

Indonesia under pressure to save forests

Bangkok Post, 26 October 2013 | At home and abroad, Indonesia is highlighting its progress in curbing the environmental destruction that has depleted forests and made the country a leading source of greenhouse gases. But environmentalists are unconvinced. They say pulp and palm oil plantations are still expanding at an alarming rate in Sumatran forests, despite efforts by the government and industry. That expansion has contributed to climate change and threatens endangered tigers and orangutans. More than 80% of Indonesia’s emissions are due to clearing of what is the world’s third-largest area of rainforest, after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. About half of Indonesia’s rainforest has already been destroyed. Greenpeace, which has conducted extensive research on deforestation in Indonesia, says government maps show the country lost 12,400 square kilometres of forest between 2009 and 2011.

27 October 2013

Causes of deforestation getting lost in REDD rhetoric – analysis

By Imogen badgery-Parker, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 October 2013 | Debates about REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) are skirting a fundamental issue by failing to discuss what actually causes deforestation in the first place, a media analysis has found. When governments, civil society and the private sector in six countries analyzed speak publicly about REDD+ — the U.N.-backed program that aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by creating incentives to keep trees standing — they often avoid talking about underlying problems. “We found that although there is a lot of discussion about international issues with REDD+, such as who should pay for what, actors don’t talk much about national issues,” said Monica Di Gregorio, a senior associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a lecturer at Britain’s University of Leeds.

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin building parking lot for GRA on Lamaha embankment

Stabroek News, 27 October 2013 | Bai Shan Lin is constructing a new car park for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on the Lamaha Street embankment east of Camp Street even as the Mayor and City Council remains unaware of the planned development. An official of Bai Shan Lin yesterday confirmed that his company, primarily involved in forest harvesting and sawmilling, is carrying out the work on behalf of the GRA. “We are doing the parking lot for the GRA. It will be finished maybe in two weeks’ time,” the Bai Shan Lin official said. Commissioner General of the GRA Khurshid Sattaur confirmed that the car park was being constructed for the GRA. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] Complex language inhibits oversight in forest protection programme – GHRA

Stabroek News, 27 October 2013 | The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) yesterday expressed concern about the “opaque language and complex processes” that surround Guyana’s forest protection programmes such as REDD+ saying these weaken accountability and democratic oversight. The human rights body called on government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on key environmental issues to make greater efforts to provide the vital information citizens need in a full, accessible and timely manner. Guyana’s rivers and forests hold the key to the survival of the society but Guyanese citizens know next to nothing about how wisely or efficiently these vital sectors are being managed, the GHRA said in a statement yesterday. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

NZ on track to miss targets by huge margin

Reuters Point Carbon, 27 October 2013 | New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise nearly 50 per cent by 2040, according to new government modelling, taking the country well off course to meet its commitment to cut emissions in half by mid-century. A report from the ministry of environment showed the country’s net emissions are expected to grow to nearly 90 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2040 from current levels of around 60 million, while the government target is to bring emissions down to 30 million tonnes by 2050. “The trend in net emissions is dominated by our projections of emissions and removals from forestry,” the report said. A large number of CO2-absorbing trees planted in the country in the 1990s are set to be harvested at the end of this decade, meaning overall emissions are likely to rise throughout the 2020s, it added.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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