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REDD in the news: 26 January – 1 February 2015

REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

 
UNFF Launches Website to Support Financing for SFM
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), January 2015
The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) launched a website to support the ongoing Facilitative Process adopted to assist developing countries in identifying and accessing financing for sustainable forest management (SFM). The Facilitative Process is based on the tenants of a bottom-up approach that takes into account the multiple uses and values of forests as well as the range of ecosystem services they provide. The website highlights the three component projects of the Facilitative Process: the project on SFM financing in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Low Forest Cover Countries (LFCCs); another on financing in Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs); and the Climate Change Financing project aimed at applying climate change mitigation and adaptation funding to SFM.

26 January 2015

Forests for the Future
By Tony Juniper, Huffington Post, 26 January 2015
While for years we’ve become accustomed to believing that the clearance of the world’s tropical forests is a necessary price we must pay for progress and to generate the revenues needed to fight poverty, a meeting hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in London today will hear a quite different message: namely, that if we don’t keep the forests then it’s not only wildlife that will suffer, but human societies too, and not just those living in and around the forests, but right around the world… Crucial to the whole challenge will be the economics, and how, as HRH put it back in 2007 when he launched his influential Prince’s Rainforests Project, it will be possible ‘to make the forests worth more alive than dead’. Whichever way you look at it this is in large part about fixing flawed economic signals and structures and how best to free up the money available to do the job.

CO2OL Tropical Mix Successfully Earns Gold Standard Performance Certification
SCS Global Services press release, 26 January 2015
The climate protection project CO2OL Tropical Mix has successfully undergone the “Performance Certification” under the internationally recognized Gold Standard. As a result, and for the first time, verified carbon credits from a Gold Standard certified afforestation project are available for trading. The certification verifies that more than 209,000 tons CO2e of carbon dioxide has already been fixed within the project, rather than released into the atmosphere. The CO2OL Tropical Mix project plan was initially certified according to the strict criteria of the Gold Standard Land Use & Forests Programme since 2013. Now, CO2OL Tropical Mix has completed the next phase — a Performance Certification — conducted by the independent auditor SCS Global Services.

World’s largest palm oil trader commits to zero deforestation
By Oliver Balch, The Guardian, 26 January 2015
Let’s start with some good news. Wilmar International, the largest palm oil trader in the world, recently committed not to engage in deforestation. A year on from announcing the policy, the Singapore-based agribusiness was lauded in a report on deforestation-free supply chains (pdf) by the pro-transparency organisation CDP. On the face of it, the praise appears merited. Wilmar’s new policy (which also includes a ban on developing palm on peat areas) stands to save more than 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 – equivalent to the combined annual energy-related carbon emissions of Central and South America. That’s all supposing the company can deliver, of course. So can it?

Voices of REDD+: Whose land is it, anyway? Tenure snags progress in Brazil
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 January 2015
Unclear land tenure and political instability are the biggest challenges faced by a REDD+ initiative in Brazil’s Amapá state, according to the project’s proponents. Rebeca Lima is from Biofílica, a Brazilian company that invests in REDD+ and other forest conservation projects in Brazil, and works on the Jari/Amapá REDD+ Initiative, run in partnership a corporate group, Grupo Jari. The initiative—analyzed by CIFOR in a new book—is working with smallholders to develop more efficient land use practices and reduce deforestation. “Our biggest challenge is land tenure clarification,” Rebeca Lima said, on the sidelines of the recent UN climate change meeting in Peru. “It’s not only a problem we only have in Amapá but is an Amazon-wide issue.” “If land tenure’s not clear, we can’t distribute the benefits from the forest fairly—and without it, smallholders aren’t able to access rural credits.”

[Brazil] Voices of REDD+: in a vast Amazonian district, coalitions and carrots bring hard-won successes
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 January 2015
Márcio Stutzman, Amazon conservation manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Brazil program, discussed his experiences working on the Sustainable Landscapes Pilot Program in São Félix do Xingu at “REDD+ Emerging?”, an event organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on the sidelines of the UN climate change meeting in Lima in December. “Scale is a challenge—it’s a huge location, we’re talking about roughly 10 million hectares, and we’re also trying to integrate different actors that are active on the ground,” he said. That includes indigenous communities, small landholders, medium and large landholders, and companies—and they haven’t always gotten along.

[Indonesia] In Choosing Sides, We Are All the KPK
The Jakarta Globe, 26 January 2015
Indonesia now is in grave danger of being known as a corrupt country controlled by thieves for a long time to come. To say the archipelago is in crisis is an understatement to describe our current state of chaos as the National Police and ruling coalition continue to attack the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and its leaders, while President Joko Widodo stands on the sidelines in silence. We are about to witness a historic moment similar to the jarring reform movement of 1998. Whether we continue on our path toward a better nation or go backward to once again be controlled by thugs remains to be seen. For the past 12 years, the Indonesian people have witnessed the KPK’s transformation into the country’s single most credible law enforcer. Joko, as the “people’s president,” should also know this; the choice between supporting the antigraft body or the police — regarded as among the nation’s most corrupt institutions — is a no-brainer.

27 January 2015

Financial pledges for REDD slow to be disbursed, finds report
mongabay.com, 27 January 2015
Only a small fraction of the $7.3 billion pledged under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD ) program has actually been disbursed, find a new report that tracked REDD finance in seven countries. The REDD eXpenditures Tracking Initiative (REDDX) initiative, led by Forest Trends, analyzed REDD financial flows between 2009 and 2012 in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania and Vietnam. It found that less than a third of $1.2 billion committed in those countries had been disbursed by the end of 2012. However both commitments and disbursements grew steadily on a year-by-year basis during the study period. Nearly 80 percent of funds came from bilateral government donors, mostly from the governments of Norway and Germany which accounted for 91 percent of these contributions.

Certification incentives for reducing illegal logging in Brazil may miss their mark
By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 January 2015
In Brazil’s Amazon forest, incentives such as certification of timber products are less effective than fines and other sanctions aimed at curbing illegal logging and clearing of forests, according to a new study. “Certification and other incentives for legal timber operations tend to work better when they involve value chains that are well developed and have good links to the markets,” said Pablo Pacheco, a senior scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and one of the authors of the study, which examined the topic in Brazil. “But a significant number of smallholders and communities are not well integrated to those value chains, so there is no incentive for them to embrace certification.”

Why is so little attention paid to Madagascar and its incredible wildlife?
By Alison Clausen, The Guardian, 27 January 2015
Using a mechanism that both generates financing for conservation and mitigates climate change, Madagascar has been a forerunner in developing projects to sell carbon credits. The credits are financial instruments bought by governments or industry to offset their emissions, with each credit representing one tonne of carbon dioxide not emitted into the atmosphere. In 2013, the World Conservation Society-supported Makira Carbon Project supplied the first credits to be sold by the Malgasy government on the voluntary carbon market in Africa. Unfortunately this is not enough. Madagascar is slowly emerging from a five-year political standoff and remains one of the poorest countries in the world. That reality translates into stiff competition for dedicated development assistance monies. The country’s protected area network needs about US$25m per year to function effectively.

[USA] Grant applications sought for carbon credits
By Jane Fyksen, agriview.com, 27 January 2015
Applications are being accepted for up to $20 million in grants to facilitate the creation of new, innovative markets for carbon credits. The markets will provide additional revenue sources for producers, to address natural-resource-conservation challenges. The grants are part of the Conservation Innovation Grant program, authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill… For 2015, about half of the $20 million is available for environmental markets and conservation-finance projects that engage agricultural producers. In past years, the Conservation Innovation Grant program has helped fund the development of the basic infrastructure of these markets. This year, USDA, through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is seeking applications for projects that will build on these efforts by maturing and scaling markets, and accelerating efforts to leverage private capital and investment in private-lands conservation.

28 January 2015

The wisdom of the crowd: Your top 20 questions for forestry and landscapes
By Gillian Petrovsky, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 28 January 2015
The T20Q project involved a two-stage process—‘crowd-sourcing’ questions considered to have high priority for research and policy by anyone with an interest in forestry and landscapes, followed by a return to the crowd to rank those questions. The crowd defined itself; there were no barriers to participation except access to the Internet and an ability to read French, English, Indonesian or Spanish. These barriers are not insignificant for many people, and I will return to the language issue later. Suffice to say that all the partners in the Evidence-Based Forestry (EBF) initiative regularly communicate with and invite participation in their activities online; therefore T20Q made the decision to survey participants wholly via the Internet, and used a variety of social media to reach this global online community.

Roads are encroaching deeper into the Amazon rainforest, study says
By Dan Collins, The Guardian, 28 January 2015
Oil and gas roads are encroaching deeper into the western Amazon, one of the world’s last wildernesses and biodiversity hotspots, according to a new study. Roads across Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and western Brazil could open up a ‘Pandora’s box’ of negative environmental impacts and trigger new deforestation fronts, the study published in Environmental Research Letters finds. “The hydrocarbon frontier keeps pushing deeper into the Amazon and there needs to be a strategic plan for how future development takes place in regards to roads,” said the report’s lead author, Matt Finer, of the Amazon Conservation Association. “We pay particular attention to access roads because they are a well-documented primary driver of deforestation and forest degradation.”

[India] No deal on climate
Business Standard, 28 January 2015
India and the United States have taken some major strides forward during President Barack Obama’s visit here in furthering cooperation to combat climate change but without entering into any bilateral agreement on the lines of the recently concluded United States-China climate deal. India’s reluctance to delineate a specific time frame for its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to peak, as has been done in the United States-China deal, seems one of the reasons for not inking a formal agreement on this issue. In his final speech, President Obama, in fact, underlined this reluctance by calling on New Delhi to abandon it. India seems to be wary of making any bilateral commitment on emission cuts until it outlines its “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) at the United Nations, which has set June as the deadline for all countries to do so.

[UK] ‘World can cut carbon emissions and live well’
BBC News, 28 January 2015
Forests around the world will need to be expanded by 5-15% to limit global temperature rises to 2C. And crop yields must rise by 40-60%. These are just two predictions for 2050 of an online tool developed by the government to consider options for cutting carbon emissions. The Global Calculator uses data reviewed by international experts to look at scenarios for meeting the 2C target, which scientists say is needed to avoid dangerous climate change. Led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), the model of the world’s energy, land and food systems suggests living standards can be maintained, but only by making sweeping changes to agriculture, transport, food and fuel. There would need be hundreds of million electric cars on the road by 2050, and the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of electricity would need to fall by at least 90%.

[USA] Obama bans oil drilling in 9.8 million acres of Arctic ocean
By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 28 January 2015
US president Barack Obama has banned oil and gas drilling in 9.8 million acres of the Arctic ocean, while opening up vast new resources in the Gulf of Mexico. This means that parts of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska’s coast can no longer be considered for future oil and gas leases, though it does not revoke existing licenses such as those held by Shell. The five-year leasing plan means that nearly 80% of the undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources on the US Outer Continental Shelf are available to explore. “Even as we consider new places that may be appropriate to responsibly develop oil and gas, we can take meaningful steps to protect areas that matter most for our environment, our native communities, and our cultural identity,” said White House staff Mike Boots and Dan Utech in a blog.

29 January 2015

Shell determined to start Arctic oil drilling this summer
By Terry Macalister and Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 29 January 2015
Shell is determined to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer if it can win the permits and overcome legal objections, although the energy company accepts it will never win a battle with environmentalists over its reputation. The oil group said the project would cost $1bn (£660m) whether it proceeded with drilling or not, given the fleet of vessels and other logistics that needed to be kept on standby. Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, said he would be very disappointed if drilling in the far north did not take place. The project faces huge opposition from Greenpeace and other environmental groups that hoped the company would end its search for oil, which has so far been fruitless.

Climate finance eclipsed by fossil fuel subsidies
EurActiv, 29 January 2015
A large amount of private finance continues to flow into the fossil fuels sectors. These are profitable investments in the short term but they come at the expense of large-scale greenhouse gas emissions. Oxfam’s 2013 report Food, Fossil Fuels and Filthy Finance estimated that “$1.9 trillion of subsidies oil the wheels of the fossil fuel sector globally every year, including the costs of paying for its widespread damage”. The absence of strong political engagement on the subject is allowing investment in fossil fuels continue unchecked. The Oxfam report stresses that “$6 trillion will be spent on fossil fuel development and exploration in the next ten years.”

The science is clear: Forest loss behind Brazil’s drought
By Louis Verchot, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 January 2015
The role of tropical deforestation in global climate change has been the subject of much international discussion and debate in the media and in policy forums like the UN Climate Change Convention. However, the role of deforestation in local climate change has received much less attention. Now, with southern Brazil suffering from unprecedented drought, attention is turning toward more localized impacts of deforestation. Dr. Antonio Nobre, a scientist at the Brazilian National Space Research Institute, released a report, “The Future Climate of Amazonia,” that linked the current drought to deforestation in the Amazon Basin. Politicians are questioning these conclusions. What does the science say?

[Indonesia] BP REDD+ officially disbanded
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 29 January 2015
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has officially merged the National Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Agency (BP REDD+) with the Environment and Forestry Ministry, raising questions about the future of the country’s fight against global warming. Jokowi signed Presidential Decree No. 16/2015 on the structure of the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Jan. 21, 2015, disbanding the BP REDD+. “The task and function of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by BP REDD+ as stipulated in Presidential Decree No. 62/2013 will be integrated with the tasks and functions of the Environment and Forestry Ministry,” the decree said.

REDD+ agency closed down ‘is not in accordance’ to Indonesia-Norway agreement
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Ekuatorial, 29 January 2015
Dissolving Indonesia’s agency on reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation, or REDD , into the Ministry of Environment and Forestry was ‘no doubt not in accordance’ to the country’s bilateral agreement with Norway made in 2010, said Heru Prasetyo, now former head of REDD agency, in Jakarta, on Thursday (29/1)… [A] presidential regulation was signed by President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo on the establishment of Ministry of Environment and Forestry which also revoked previous presidential decrees on REDD agency and the National Council on Climate Change. Both institutions will be ‘integrated’ into the Directorate General of Climate Change Control and will be directly responsible to the minister. “This is not in accordance with the LoI which stated that the [REDD ] agency must report directly to the president and not the minister,” said Prasetyo phrasing the regulation as ‘sudden death’ for the agency…

Jokowi Folds Emissions Agency BP REDD Into Forestry Ministry – The Jakarta Globe
By Basten Gokkon & Adelia Anjani Putri, Jakarta Globe, 29 January 2015
President Joko Widodo has disbanded Indonesia’s BP REDD+ agency, which was established in 2013 to help the country meet greenhouse gas emission targets from deforestation, and merged it with Ministry of Environment and Forestry… Norway’s ambassador to Indonesia Stig Traavik took a cautious tone when contacted on Thursday. He said it was natural for a new government to want to “manage things their own way” and Norway was open to some changes… William Sabandar, former deputy of operations at BP REDD+, was less affirmative about the decision. “This is how I see it as a former deputy of BP REDD+. What’s certain is that the presidential decree violates the agreement between the Indonesian government with the Norwegian government which is stated in the Letter of Intent in 2010.”

[Indonesia] Sumatran community takes charge to protect its forest, attracts REDD+ attention
By Loren Bell and Sapariah Saturi, mongabay.com, 29 January 2015
This widespread flooding renewed the villagers’ determination to protect the hills surrounding their communities. Finally, on December 2, 2013, the Forestry Department designated 1,336 hectares of the Korong Salisikan and Kuliek river watershed as “hutan nagari” or community forest. Armed with their newly recognized status as guardians of the forest, the residents quickly established regular patrol shifts to monitor the area and prevent outsiders from illegal logging—a constant threat regardless of what designations exist on paper. They work cooperatively to manage the forest using sustainable practices, ensuring the abundant resources can be handed off to their grandchildren. Less than a year after they took on management, the success of their program gained national attention. In August 2014, the head of Indonesia’s REDD+ management body visited the community forest.

[Kenya] Dean Puckett & Sengwer: Conservation vs Communities
By David Charles, davidcharles.info, 29 January 2015
Dean Puckett is a film-maker from the UK. His films Crisis of Civilisation (based on the book by Nafeez Ahmed) and Grasp the Nettle are Elevate favourites; you can see his promo stickers all over Forum Stadtpark and in the most unexpected of public toilets. He is currently working on two documentary films, one set amid house demolitions in the Kenyan mountain jungle and another set in a volunteer-run radio station in Totnes, Devon. They might sound very different, but they are bound together by Dean’s driving fascination: communities. “I’m fascinated by how human beings function in small communities,” Dean says. “It’s kind of anthropological,” he adds. “People open up to me. I remember, as a kid, people would just come up to my mum at the bus stop and open up to her. I’ve inherited that.”

How Norway’s guilt is saving the planet
By Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail, 29 January 2015
The problem with rich-world payments for poor-world forestry protection is that it doesn’t work well in countries where it is needed most, such as Brazil and Indonesia, whose vast forests are shrinking rapidly as cattle ranches and palm oil farms chew through the landscape. Those countries often consider international agreements an assault on their sovereignty. Programs similar to REDD helped slow forest destruction in Brazil for a while, but the rate is climbing again. In Indonesia, they have had a negligible effect. There, forests are disappearing at twice the Brazilian rate. A new global initiative to reduce deforestation, last year’s New York Declaration on Forests, was hobbled from the onset because it failed to secure signatures from the national governments of Brazil, China and India. The new Republican Congress in the United States probably would rather fund gay pride parades than authorize spending to fight climate change…

[UK] Unregulated scheme renews FCA legal battle
By Michelle Abrego, Citywire, 29 January 2015
An unregulated investment scheme has kicked off its battle to overturn a High Court decision which found it was operating unlawfully. In February 2014 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) won its case against 16 parties involved in two unregulated, alternative investment schemes, African Land and Reforestation Projects, also known as Capital Carbon Credits for operating unlawfully. Both schemes were promoted and sold by Capital Alternatives against which the regulator began its High Court battle in October 2013. Three parties involved with the original proceedings: African Land and its two directors Robert McKendrick and Alan Meadowcroft, have begun their appeal of this decision. African Land offered investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone.

[USA] Carbon credits: Astoria sees forest through trees
By Derrick DePledge, The Daily Astorian, 29 January 2015
Astoria stands to receive new revenue, help combat climate change, through carbon credit project In an innovative trade-off, Astoria has agreed not to aggressively harvest timber in the Bear Creek watershed over the next decade in return for carbon credits that could help industrial polluters offset carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change. The city is partnering with The Climate Trust, a Portland nonprofit that would purchase the carbon credits. Utilities with fossil-fuel driven power plants pay the trust to find projects that offset pollution and meet the requirements of Oregon’s landmark emission standards law.

Zambia facing challenges in reducing deforestation
Lusaka Times, 29 January 2015
Government says Zambia is facing with a number of challenges in reducing deforestation which is caused by various factors. Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga said at the sensitisation workshop on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) for provincial and district stakeholders in Chipata on Tuesday that the forest resources continue to be under pressure both in quality and quantity. Dr Mulenga said in a speech read on his behalf by provincial local government officer Macleod Nyirenda that the pressure was caused by a combination of factors such as extensive practices of shifting cultivation and slash and burn which was increasing demand for wood based energy.

30 January 2015

The Hack That Warmed the World
By McKenzie Funk, Foreign Policy, 30 January 2015
“If I’d done the carbon thing myself,” claims Beddoes, who is now out of prison, back in the Midlands, and—he says—on the straight and narrow, “I coulda been on a bloody desert island.” The hacking was that lucrative, and that easy. “Everyone says, ‘I bet you had some high-tech software and a badass modified laptop,’” Beddoes brags, speaking of the U.N. hack. “No. I had a shitty little netbook I used to carry around with me. I just put the package together and passed it off.” As for carbon trading as a strategy to save the world, Beddoes remains skeptical. “Biggest scam on the planet!”

[Indonesia] After 10 years vying for protection, Kalimantan community granted legal rights to community forest
By Loren Bell and Yustinus S. Hardjanto, mongabay.com, 30 January 2015
According to Kole, the first community forest management group was established by the village on July 7, 2003. This organized body served to show the Environmental Ministry the villagers were serious about protecting their land, but official recognition would not come for several years. Finally, in 2013, the community effort gained government approval with the passing of Ministry of Forestry Decision #526. This ruling set aside 4,330 hectares of government production forest as Tane’ Ulen Setulang, officially giving the local people the right to manage the forest, as well as a legal standing to resist development.

31 January 2015

[Indonesia] Merging REDD+ into ministry should be more effective
By Pungky Widiaryanto, The Jakarta Post, 31 January 2015
Many stakeholders had supported the creation of BP REDD since it apparently both satisfied the LoI with Norway and succeeded in reducing deforestation in Indonesia. However, BP REDD ’s authority was unclear; its appearance as an ad hoc organization provoked conflicts with other ministries… On Jan. 21 President Jokowi signed Presidential Regulation No. 16/2015 in which BP REDD along with the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) are integrated into the Ministry of Environment and Forestry… Arguably, this new directorate general is intended to improve coordination in climate change issues. It makes sense that Minister Siti wants BP REDD under her authority given the tremendous amount of resources spent by the ministry and commitments to realize REDD strategies.

1 February 2015

The liberal attack on Naomi Klein and This Changes Everything
By John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark, Monthly Review, 1 February 2015
The front cover of Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything, is designed to look like a protest sign. It consists of the title alone in big block letters, with the emphasis on Changes. Both the author’s name and the subtitle are absent. It is only when we look at the spine of the book, turn it over, or open it to the title page that we see it is written by North America’s leading left climate intellectual-activist and that the subtitle is Capitalism vs. the Climate.[1] All of which is clearly meant to convey in no uncertain terms that climate change literally changes everything for today’s society. It threatens to turn the mythical human conquest of nature on its head, endangering present-day civilization and throwing doubt on the long-term survival of Homo sapiens.


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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