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REDD in the news: 9-15 December 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.

9 December 2013

World Bank Approves Rules Unlocking $390 Million For Forest Conservation

By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 December 2013 | Less than a month after the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approved the seven decisions that comprise the “REDD Rulebook”, the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) today signed off on a new Methodological Framework for its Carbon Fund. Finalized during a meeting of Carbon Fund Participants in Paris, the new framework unshackles nearly $390 million already committed to REDD+ pilot programs in the developing world, and it could pave the way for millions more in pilot funding from donors… Lloyd Gamble, the Senior Forest Carbon Program Officer for WWF-US, says the new framework offers both an incentive to move forward and clarity on how to proceed.”Tropical forest nations can now move forward and engage in REDD+ with a clear understanding of what they need to deliver in order to receive valuable performance-based payments for the conservation of their tropical forests,” he says.

New technologies key to community monitoring for REDD

By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 December 2013 | In the birthplace of Arabica coffee — Ethiopia’s Kafa Biosphere Reserve — rangers are using Facebook to monitor and verify changes in their forests. In a joint study with the German nongovernmental organization Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) and scientists from Wageningen University, in collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), use remote sensing satellite data to observe the area from space in near real time. If they detect a change, they immediately notify the 30 rangers on the ground via a private Facebook group. “From space we just see something is happening — but we don’t really know what, or why,” said Martin Herold, a professor at Wageningen University and a CIFOR associate. “But the rangers can go and say, firstly, if there is a change or not, and secondly, what’s the driver, what’s behind it. And that’s information you cannot see from space,” he said.

The Montreal Protocol, a Little Treaty That Could

By Justin Gillis, The New York Times, 9 December 2013 | Here is a remarkable fact about global warming: It might be twice as bad right now were it not for a treaty negotiated by a conservative American president, for an entirely different purpose, based on motives no one has ever quite understood. That treaty is known, in shorthand, as the Montreal Protocol. Its formal purpose is to save the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, which protects the planet and its people from debilitating levels of cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation. The negotiations on behalf of the United States, in the 1980s, were carried out by the Reagan administration. And the treaty is turning out to be one of the more momentous steps Ronald Reagan took as president.

2nd Biotrade Congress to focus on potential of biodiversity products for forest preservation

UNCTAD, 9 December 2013 | Experts meeting in Geneva will discuss how the sale and trade of goods sustainably harvested from forests, if expanded, may preserve stands of timber as carbon “sinks” and thus mitigate climate change. They will debate this topic and review efforts to conserve biodiversity during the Second BioTrade Congress (11-13 December 2013)… The Second BioTrade Congress has the theme “Integrating REDD+ into BioTrade Strategies”.

Unilever, Wilmar International ink palm oil supply chain deal

By Jessica Shankleman, GreenBiz.com, 9 December 2013 | One of the world’s largest agri-businesses has pledged to end deforestation throughout its supply chain, in a move that represents a major step forward for companies seeking to source sustainable palm oil, soya beans and sugar. Wilmar International yesterday signed a deal with consumer goods giant Unilever, which has promised that 100 percent of the palm oil used in its supply chain would by fully traceable by the end of 2014. As Wilmar controls 45 percent of the world’s palm oil market, supplying other household brands such as Procter and Gamble, Mondelez and Reckitt Benckiser, it has faced huge pressure from NGOs and businesses to develop more environmentally and socially sustainable practices.

Economist champions carbon credits for ag lands

By John O’Connell, Capital Press, 9 December 2013 | An agricultural economist advocates for farmers and ranchers to receive credits with a monetary value for the carbon their acres absorb. The dean of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences sees a financial opportunity for farmers and ranchers in future federal climate change bills. Lowell Catlett encourages the agricultural community to participate – if and when discussions about cap-and-trade energy policies are resurrected – so that crops, healthy soils and range land receive credits for the carbon they sequester. Under cap-and-trade, polluters receive marketable credits, redeemable by other emitters of greenhouse gases, for reducing emissions. Catlett believes “offset” credits for carbon absorbed by agricultural lands should be sold through the same exchanges.

EU to Approve Change to Emissions Program

By Sean Carney, Wall Street Journal, 9 December 2013 | European Union lawmakers are set Tuesday to approve a long-sought fix to the bloc’s struggling system for trading carbon-emission rights as Germany and other nations have recently indicated support for the plan to make it more expensive to pollute. The Emissions Trading System was designed to put a price on greenhouse-gas pollution by utilities as the bloc seeks to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 20% by 2020 versus 1990. But because of an initial oversupply of the emission rights and Europe’s economic slowdown, a surplus… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[USA] Ex-Clinton Aide Expected to Join Obama

By Jackie Calmes, New York Times, 9 December 2013 | President Obama, after a rocky year that leaves him at the lowest ebb of his presidency, is bringing into his White House circle the longtime Democratic strategist John D. Podesta, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. Mr. Podesta, who has agreed to serve as counselor for a year, led Mr. Obama’s presidential transition in 2008 and has been an outside adviser since then. He also has occasionally criticized the administration, if gently, from his perch as the founder and former president of the Center for American Progress, a center-left public policy research group that has provided personnel and policy ideas to the administration.

10 December 2013

Carbon Market Framework Needed to Preserve Investment, CEPS Says

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 10 December 2013 | United Nations climate envoys must start coordinating data on how carbon markets cut greenhouse gases, or risk undermining investment in clean technologies, according to the Centre for European Policy Studies. Talks on linking carbon markets and emission-reduction programs from China to California and Quebec will continue in May after UN envoys failed to agree on a so-called framework for various approaches in Warsaw last month, according to Andrei Marcu, head of CEPS’s carbon market forum in Brussels. Marcu helped advise the Polish presidency at the UN negotiations. The biggest nations by population including India, the U.S. and Brazil are considering markets to help protect the climate, according to the Partnership for Market Readiness. The climate deal adopted Nov. 23 in the Polish capital set out steps toward the next agreement on reducing emissions blamed for increasing the Earth’s temperature.

[Australia] Cows to get carbon credits for not burping

By Caddie Brain, ABC Rural, 10 December 2013 | Beef producers may soon be able to claim carbon credits by changing the type of feed supplements used on their herds. By replacing urea supplements with nitrate salts, the amount of methane burped by cattle can be reduced by up to 20 per cent. Using a new methodology, producers could then claim credits on their herds’ reduced methane emissions through the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative. RAMP Carbon developed the methodology with Meat and Livestock Australia and the Australian Agricultural Company. Director Phil Cohn says it could have a big impact on overall agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. “The major component of Australia’s agricultural emissions actually comes from livestock as they digest their feed,” he said.

[Guyana] Persaud faces scrutiny over mining survey east of New River

Stabroek News, 10 December 2013 | Natural Resources Minister Robert Persaud yesterday came under intense scrutiny over permission granted to a Brazil company in November, 2012 to survey the south east of the country for minerals, an area that his ministry had said that no mining permits had been granted. The Permission of Geo-logical and Geophysical Survey (PGGS) to the Muri Brasil Ventures Ltd, while not a permit contains a clause which says that a maximum of 18 prospecting licences “shall be granted” for rare earth elements, bauxite, gold and diamonds and other minerals upon application. The PGGS was yesterday circulated to the media anonymously and appeared to have been sent to leading government officials and members of opposition parties. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

11 December 2013

Degradation: When is a forest no longer a forest?

By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 December 2013 | As countries ponder incentives to slow the degradation of their tropical forests, a huge, unanswered question looms: What exactly is a degraded forest? Programs that provide such incentives, such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), a U.N.-backed initiative, face the challenge of accurate measurements of deforestation and degradation. New criteria can help address that problem. “The difficulty is that what some people consider a degraded forest may not look degraded to others,” said Manuel Guariguata, a principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “There are hundreds of definitions of forest degradation, but they don’t clarify where the threshold lies for defining what is degraded and what is not.”

[Brazil] 2014 World Cup to nearly double carbon emissions over 2010

By Joanna M. Foster, Grist, 11 December 2013 | The 2014 World Cup in Brazil will dump 2.72 million tons of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere, according to the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). To put that number into perspective, it’s equivalent to the CO2 produced by 560,000 cars in a year, or 136,000 American homes. And that’s over 1 million tons more CO2 than was emitted by the previous World Cup in 2010. Most of that heat-trapping gas, about 80 percent, will come from air travel as teams and spectators jet set around the world’s fifth biggest country in order to get to the 12 different stadiums where the 64 World Cup matches will be played.

EU Climate Change Committee makes progress on back-loading

European Commission, 11 December 2013 | Following the vote of the European Parliament yesterday, the EU Climate Change Committee today discussed the draft amendment of the Auctioning Regulation and a non-paper outlining several options for the time profile of back-loaded auction volumes. While no formal decisions have been taken today, most Member States called for a swift implementation and have expressed support for the variant of option b set out in the non-paper. Following the expected conclusion of the legislative process on the clarifying amendment of the EU ETS Directive by the Council on 16 December, the Commission intends to ask the Climate Change Committee to vote on the amendment of the Auctioning Regulation in January 2014. Regular updates on progress, including the date of the forthcoming vote, will be provided via this website.

EU vote attempts to drive up price of carbon-trading credits

GLOBE-Net , 11 December 2013 | The European Parliament voted Tuesday in favor of reinvigorating Europe’s carbon trading program despite the differences in the region over energy policy. The legislation will help to restore financial incentives for an industrial shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. Policy makers and industry leaders have vigorously debated the effectiveness of carbon trading due to a near collapse in carbon prices. The parliament rejected similar measures in April of this year. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “The price of emitting one metric ton of CO2 rose immediately after the vote to over €4.70 ($6.10), from under €4 before the vote, according to data from IntercontinentalExchange Inc. ICE +0.94%”.

Guyana to benefit from US$12M in agricultural grants

Guyana Times, 11 December 2013 | The Guyana government will soon benefit from two grants worth US$12 million from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI). This is according to Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, who told Guyana Times that the grants are worth US$6 million each and will provide support to two key areas in the local agricultural sector. One of the grants will look at the emerging problem of the red mite pest, which could decimate the local coconut industry. Dr Ramsammy said, in many parts of the world, this pest is causing major destruction. “It is not a big problem in Guyana at this time, but we have noticed that it is emerging as a much bigger problem throughout the Caribbean and so we can anticipate that unless we do something it will emerge as a big problem in Guyana.”

Norway ignores advice to divest from oil firm over Amazon tribe

By David Hill, The Guardian, 11 December 2013 | Norway’s Ministry of Finance is being urged to withdraw its investments from oil and gas company Repsol because of its operations in a region in the Peruvian Amazon inhabited by indigenous people who have no direct contact with outsiders, according to Norway’s largest commercial TV channel. The recommendation was made to the Ministry by the Council on Ethics within Norway’s ‘Government Pension Fund Global’ (GPFG) whose stated aim is to investigate if investment in certain companies meets the GPFG’s ethical guidelines, reported TV2 recently. Said a voiceover by reporter Kadafi Zaman: “The oil fund [the GPFG] has shares worth 1.7 billion Norwegian kroner in Spanish oil giant Repsol, a company that the Council of Ethics thinks Norway should withdraw from. Repsol is operating in the rainforest in Peru.”

[UK] The US and China must show leadership on climate change

By Nicolas Stern, The Guardian, 11 December 2013 | The world is approaching a watershed moment in its battle to limit the risks posed by global climate change, and international leadership from the United States is needed now more than ever before. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in September warned that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are already raising temperatures, melting glaciers and the polar ice caps, elevating sea levels and changing the strength and frequency of many extreme weather events. Without sharp reductions in emissions, global average temperature could be much more than 2C degrees above its pre-industrial level by the end of the century, beyond anything the Earth has seen for millions of years, and way outside the experience of modern Homo sapiens.

12 December 2013

Why COP 19 Rocked

By Christiana Figueres, Huffington Post, 12 December 2013 | Present global ambition to fight climate change is thoroughly insufficient and much remains to be done. However, the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw (COP 19) was a meeting that broke new ground, and we should not lose sight of what this meeting helped demonstrate to negotiators and the world. I am pleased that the conference achieved what it set out to do. Governments remain on track towards a new, universal climate agreement in 2015, communicating their respective contributions well in advance of the meeting in Paris that year. The required monitoring and reporting arrangements are ready for roll out in 2014. The Green Climate Fund will be ready for capitalization in the second half of 2014. And the rule book for preserving the world’s forests was agreed, as well as a way to address loss and damage caused by climate change impacts.

Radical GHG emissions policies need radical social movements to back them

By Gabriel Levy, Climate Code Red, 12 December 2013 | Policies to counter global warming effectively “will only advance if accompanied by radical social movements”, socialist writer and activist Naomi Klein has told the Radical [greenhouse gas] Emissions Reduction conference in London. “Transformative policies… must be backed by transformative politics.” Advocates of radical action have to face the fact that pro-market ideology is dominant in mainstream political fora and that “we are the marginal ones”, Klein said yesterday, on a web link from Toronto, Canada. “It’s not that our ideas [about cutting greenhouse gas emissions] are not popular. But they are not powerful, not dominant. They are not winning.” The movement needs to “turn the popular into the powerful” by creating a “radical, enabling environment in which these policies can flourish”, she said.

UN Carbon Plan Won’t Reverse 99% Price Decline, New Energy Says

By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 12 December 2013 | Support for voluntary retirement of United Nations carbon credits at last month’s global climate talks is unlikely to dent a surplus that drove prices to record lows, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Envoys at the UN Conference of the Parties in Warsaw encouraged canceling Certified Emission Reductions, or CERs, while stopped short of simplifying the retirement process. About 4 million CERs have been voluntarily canceled by nations and companies, UN data show, compared with more than 1.4 billion created since 2005, according to New Energy Finance. Prices for the credits generated by projects that cut emissions in developing countries under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism plunged as much as 99 percent since 2008 as the global economic slowdown cut demand. Approval of CDM projects in 2013 has dropped 93 percent from a year earlier, UN data show, as the credit surplus discourages new investment.

[China] Guangdong may withhold free permits in China’s 4th emissions scheme: sources

By Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev, Reuters, 12 December 2013 | China’s Guangdong province has warned emitters that unless they bid for carbon permits in government auctions at a regulated minimum price, they will not receive any free permits under the nation’s fourth emissions trading scheme, sources said. China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is launching seven pilot carbon markets ahead of a nationwide scheme later this decade as a key measure to cut its emissions per unit of GDP to 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Emissions trading is new to China, and most observers expect a bumpy ride before the government finds a formula that works, but Guangdong’s strategy is unprecedented in carbon markets. The move could boost demand at auctions but undermine the market. The province will hold its first auction of 3 million carbon permits on Dec. 16 and launch secondary trading of CO2 allowances three days later…

[Fiji] Women in policy consultation

By Luke Rawalai, Fiji Times Online, 12 December 2013 | Women in the provinces of Bua and Macuata were part of the REDD-plus policy consultation with stakeholders at the Friendly North Inn last week. The consultation, facilitated by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs focused on addressing climate change through forest conservation. Speaking at the opening of the three-day workshop last Wednesday, Ministry permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela said: “Involving women in this forum is important as most of those attending the workshop during this last three days own forest reserves where they hail from.” Soqosoqo Vakamarama national president Adi Finau Tabakaucoro said they supported the initiative. The policy is aimed at reducing the 20 per cent of emissions related to forests through financial incentives.

UN forest programme reopens in Panama, learns lessons

By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 12 December 2013 | A U.N. programme aimed at protecting Panama’s forests has been reopened after it was suspended earlier this year due to disagreement between indigenous forest communities and the Central American nation’s government over how the scheme was being managed. This week the policy board of the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) Programme said progress had been made towards resolving the conflict in Panama. It approved an extension of its national initiative, which had been due to end this month, until June 2015. In March, the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) announced it was pulling out of the programme, accusing the government and U.N. agencies of not including indigenous groups in decision-making, nor offering enough funding to support their participation and to gain legal security for their land.

Peru to receive US$50 million to conserve forests and improve livelihoods of those that depend on them

WWF, 12 December 2013 | Peru will benefit from US$50 million in funding from the Forest Investment Program (FIP) to support activities that will fight deforestation and forest degradation in the country and improve the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. The activities will take place at the national level as well as in the regions of San Martin, Loreto, Ucayali and the Amazonian headwater region of Madre de Dios, where WWF currently works to engage local communities and others in activities that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). WWF is pleased that Peru’s Forest Investment Plan was approved, and to have taken part in the process. This has included facilitating the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) and other stakeholders in the FIP development process, supporting the REDD+ Roundtable of Madre de Dios, and supporting Madre de Dios as one of the priority regions.

5 million Euros for Sierra Leone to become REDD ready

Sierra Express Media, 12 December 2013 | The 5th of December, 2013, marked the commencement of a two day inception workshop and the launching of a scheme called Reducing the Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation [REDD +] and capacity building project in Sierra Leone, a project that is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) and supported by the European Union (EU) through the Climate Change Alliance. The occasion which drew participants from various organizations was held at the Presidential Lounge of the National Stadium in Freetown. Giving an overview of the project, the Imprest Administrator REDD + Mr. Amos Kamara, maintained that the project came about after Sierra Leone ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2008. He further stated that the NSCC was tasked to develop a climate change policy and establish effective regulatory frameworks and procedures to support the future implementation of the project.

[USA] Wetlands Carbon Credits Could Swim Into California Market

By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 December 2013 | Carbon finance could soon play a critical role in the restoration of California’s wetlands, with a coalition of stakeholders developing a methodology that would allow wetlands restoration projects in the state to generate credits for both the voluntary carbon market and California’s cap-and-trade program. The new methodology would scientifically quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from the restoration of California deltaic and coastal wetlands. A number of organizations are involved in the effort, including the American Carbon Registry (ACR) and Tierra Resources, which developed a similar methodology to quantify GHG emissions reductions from restoring deltaic wetlands in the Mississippi Delta. The new methodology will integrate California data and restoration techniques. The ACR approval process for the methodology is expected to be completed in December 2014.

13 December 2013

Global community puts forests first with milestone decision: REDD a reality

WWF, 13 December 2013 | In a major victory for the world’s tropical forests, the more than 1.6 billion people that are dependent on them, and the Earth’s fragile climate, global leaders have agreed on a much anticipated package of elements that will unlock finance to reward tropical forest nations for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Delegates of the UN global climate meeting voted in favor of REDD+ at their November meeting in Warsaw. REDD+ will fight climate change by addressing 20 per cent of global carbon emissions – the total caused by forest loss, and more than that caused by all the cars, trains, planes and ships in the world. WWF has worked towards realizing REDD+ for many years, engaging both on the ground in the key tropical forest nations of Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Colombia, the Guyanas and Brazil, as well as at the global policy and finance levels.

Reforestation can’t offset massive fossil fuels emissions

By Bobbie Edwards, mongabay.com, 13 December 2013 | With the Australian, Japanese, and Canadian governments making an about-face on carbon-emissions reduction targets during the Warsaw climate summit, some experts are warning that the global need for solutions offsetting CO2 emissions is passing a “red line.” Land-based mitigation practices comprise one of the solutions on the table as a result of both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol; however, a paper published in Nature Climate Change by an international team led by Brendan Mackey, has raised the looming question of whether or not land-based practices can actually improve CO2 levels as much as hoped. In their paper, Mackey and colleagues question “to what extent [land-based mitigation] can be legitimately considered an ‘offset’ for fossil fuel CO2 emissions.”

‘Every little helps’ is a dangerous mantra for climate change

By Adam Corner, The Guardian, 13 December 2013 | To be clear: fewer plastic bags would be a small, good thing. But as a major two-day conference at the Royal Society headquarters in London this week made clear, “every little helps” is a dangerously misleading mantra when it comes to climate change. The Radical Plan meeting featured contributions from across the physical and social sciences, as well as civil society. The organisers – Professors Kevin Anderson and Corinne Le Quere of the Tyndall Centre – posed contributors a brutally simple question: what would need to happen if we were to do more than simply pay lip service to the idea of avoiding dangerous climate change? The answers were undeniably radical – and none mentioned re-using plastic bags. Scientists and engineers described the unprecedented scale of energy system change necessary to decarbonise rapidly. Social scientists argued for a transformation in the way we view ourselves, our consumption, and our role in society.

‘Landscapes approach’ could alleviate West Africa climate change woes – scientists

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 13 December 2013 | An integrated approach to land management ensuring sustainable policies could help agriculture-dependent West Africa cope with the looming effects of climate change, a panel of experts proposed. Climate change is already affecting the livelihoods of West African smallholder farmers who rely on rain-fed agricultural techniques, and it is expected to make food shortages more acute as the region’s population continues to grow, said panelists at an event at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), on the sidelines of the recent U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. Farmers in the region are trying to cope with irregular rainfall, flooding and degraded soil, and we must recognize the potential to reduce some of the effects of climate variability and change, said Robert Zougmoré, West Africa Regional Leader with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

[Guyana] Amerindians protest Ramjattan move to cut supplementary funding

Stabroek News, 13 December 2013 | Over 80 indigenous persons gathered opposite the Public Buildings yesterday to demonstrate against a move by AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan to slash $500M in supplementary funds sought for Amerindian communities for the remainder of the year but some of them said that they were promised increased stipends by the Amerindian Ministry for the protest. The move to cut the budget was made because the AFC believes that the funds would not be used for genuine Amerindian development, Ramjattan told Stabroek News. “It is not for genuine Amerindian projects but just to buy Amerindian votes,” he stated.

[Guyana] NCN, GINA, airport money cut again

Stabroek News, 13 December 2013 | The National Assembly last night approved three financial papers covering various categories of spending during last year but not before the combined Opposition excised a number of allocations, including for NCN, GINA and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion. Further, the Opposition blasted Government for bringing items on financial papers for consideration in the Committee of Supply with precious little information in terms of what the spending is for. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Nepal] UN emission reduction mechanism ties officials in knots

ekantipur.com, 13 December 2013 | Nepali officials are at a loss whether the much-talked about UN emission reduction mechanism, developed to provide money for sustainable forest management, would reflect the interests of the country and its local beneficiaries. Even after more than four years since the discussions on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD-plus), experts are not able to disseminate proper information to the actual beneficiaries, including the local forest communities. REDD-plus is a carbon emission reduction scheme for the developing countries like Nepal to get climate finance from the developed nations for their efforts in protecting forest from degradation and deforestation started at the national level.

Panama rainforest tribes settle dispute over UN REDD scheme

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 13 December 2013 | Panama’s government has resolved a bitter dispute over the alleged violation of indigenous people’s human rights, reviving a forest preservation scheme that was forcibly suspended earlier this year. The country’s US$5.8 million scheme to protect its forests can now resume, safeguarding one of the nation’s most valuable assets, which have steadily declined over the century. In 2010, Panama’s rainforests covered approximately 45% of the country, or 3,364,591 hectares, down from 70% cover in 1947. The reconciliation between the nation’s government and National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (Coonapip), was announced yesterday in Geneva, after a year-long conflict over the role of indigenous people in protecting the land’s native forests. Candido Mezua, who leads the seven groups of indigenous people who objected to the programme, said his faith had been restored in the system and in the government. “It is time to trust again,” he said.

14 December 2013

French carbon crook on run after bracelet fails

AFP, 14 December 2013 | A Frenchman convicted of carbon trading fraud that cost the state some 1.6 billion euros has gone on the run, a judicial source said Saturday, admitting that his electronic tracking bracelet had stopped working. Police have issued an arrest warrant for Michel Keslassy, 50, who was given a three-and-a-half year sentence in June for buying untaxed carbon credits abroad and adding on value-added tax (VAT) when he traded them in France. The VAT was never declared. A French court ordered Keslassy’s release from prison in November for health reasons on condition that he was monitored electronically using the bracelet. But after “a few days”, the device “stopped working”, the source said… Carried out in 2008-09, the carbon fraud was one of the biggest ever registered in France, authorities said, and cost Europe some 5.0 billion euros, according to the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol. Keslassy was fined 65.5 million euros – equal to the amount of unpaid VAT.

Foreign-funded Guyana company granted right to Eighteen Prospecting Licences – in 2,200,000 acres of pristine territory

By Chris Ram, ChrisRam.net, 14 December 2013 | Whatever the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Mr. Robert Persaud MBA may or may not have said to the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament, one fact is clear: MURI BRASIL VENTURES INC. has been granted “the right to apply to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission for, and shall be granted (emphasis added) a maximum of eighteen Prospecting Licences for Rare Earth Elements, Bauxite, Limestone, Nephelene Syenite, Gold, Diamonds and Granite Stones.” This is the unambiguous language of Clause 3 of the recently disclosed Permission dated November 7, 2012 granted by Mr. Persaud to the Company under the Mining Act of Guyana. The only proviso to the clause is that the grant is subject to compliance with the Work Programme and satisfactory proof of financial resources and technical capability for each of the potential eighteen Prospecting Licences which the Government is compelled to issue.

[Spain] ‘Legal firm’ steals award from furious top lawyer

By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 14 December 2013 | Hulsmann & Miller’s two addresses are in Madrid and Malaga. The first turned out to be a hospital, while the second is a household appliances shop. And the website of this firm was set up just four weeks ago from an address in Paris. If you had sent your £1,500 before contacting me, you would have lost your money, just as you lost your investment with MH Carbon, which I warned about last February, before it collapsed. But probably the biggest victim of Hulsmann & Miller so far is one of the men pictured on a page of its website. He really is Fernando Vives, one of Spain’s top lawyers, and he received the award on behalf of his firm, Garrigues. When I tipped him off about Hulsmann & Miller using his photo, he was furious. ‘I have never consented to such use, which is consequently illegal,’ he told me a few days ago. And he added: ‘I plan to report this page to the police and the Madrid Bar to avoid further damage.’

15 December 2013

[Guyana] New River surveying permit covers 2.2 million acres, exposes border

Stabroek News, 15 December 2013 | With the grant to Muri Brasil Ventures Inc of the right to apply for as many as 18 prospecting licences for rare earth elements and other minerals in a pristine area that covers 2.2 million acres, chartered accountant Christopher Ram is warning that the country’s territorial integrity and national security could be compromised and he is urging President Donald Ramotar to scrap the agreement. Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud, who granted the Permission of Geological and Geophysical Survey (PGGS) to the company, should also be relieved of any ministerial duties, Ram argued yesterday in a post on the controversial award published on his blog, where he pointed to “several and dangerous implications”… [R-M” Subscription needed.]

[Guyana] New River Triangle

Stabroek News, 15 December 2013 | Last week the Stabroek News drew to public attention the fact that Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud had signed a Permission for Geological and Geophysical Survey (PGGS) in the New River Triangle in favour of a company called Muri Brasil Ventures Inc. This was after a copy of the PGGS and an anonymous letter had been circulated to the media and certain officials. The New River Triangle is to all intents and purposes one of the few remaining pristine forest areas in the country and is highly ecologically sensitive, which is why there has always been a kind of inchoate understanding on all sides that it should be environmentally protected. Even the ministry in earlier statements had indicated that no mining was contemplated there. It now transpires, however, that the PGGS was signed on November 7 last year, and as we reported on December 11 this year, the company involved will be looking for rare earths, bauxite, limestone, nepheline, syenite, gold, diamonds and granite stones.

Forests preservation: Pakistan upbeat about World Bank funding

By Aamir Saeed, Business Recorder, 15 December 2013 | As Pakistan pleads its case at Geneva for REDD funds, forest owners, government officials and experts on environment appeared hopeful to preserve forests. The REDD is about getting dollars for the carbon saved in forests by not cutting trees. The tons of carbon emitted from forests and agriculture in Pakistan is massive and for each ton saved the country can get an amount which may be $4-12 billion per annum. The two-member delegation in Geneva, to plead the case for Pakistan with World Bank, comprised Inspector General of Forests Syed Nasir Mehmood and Director Biodiversity Programme Naeem Ashraf Raja. Javed Ali Khan, a lead author of Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) being presented and defended before technical advisory panel of the World Bank, told Business Recorder Saturday that Pakistan’s proposed document is strong enough to win the funding.


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