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I’m a GNU. How do you do? A REDD animal appears in Paris with a promise of US$5 billion

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On the first day of the UN climate negotiations in Paris, the governments of Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom pledged US$5 billion for REDD, between 2015 and 2020. The GNU countries say they “have signaled they will increasingly target results-based finance for countries who deliver verified REDD+ emission reductions”.

A press release from the Norwegian government states that the US$5 billion is “conditional upon continued leadership and ambitious action from forest countries and the private sector to protect, conserve and restore forests”.

Of course the press release doesn’t mention which countries have so far provided leadership on reducing deforestation or in which forest countries we have seen “ambitious action”.

WWF is encouraged, as are Unilever and Marks & Spencer

The Norwegian government’s press release includes a statement from Peter Graham the leader of WWF’s Global Forest and Climate Programme.

“We are encouraged by the joint statement by leaders at the start of the Paris conference, acknowledging the critical role of forests in combatting climate change.”

Of course Graham didn’t point out that COP21 is a climate meeting and that forestry and other land use accounts for 11% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according to the IPCC’s most recent report (click the graph for a larger version – forestry and other land use is orange):

Unilever and Marks & Spencer also feature in Norway’s press release. Of course neither of them made any mention of the need to stop emissions from fossil fuels in order to stand a chance of addressing climate change.

None of this should surprise us. Here’s a table showing how many times certain words appear in the COP21 negotiating text:

Oil 0
Coal 0
Fossil fuels 0
Forest 25
Deforestation 3
REDD 19

REDD is “politically and technically demanding”

A statement from the GNU countries explains that the three countries stand ready to:

  • Increase our annual support for REDD+ if countries come forward with ambitious and high quality proposals, with an aim to provide $1 billion per year by 2020, or to provide over $5 billion in the period 2015-2020, including a significant increase in pay-for-performance finance if countries demonstrate measured, reported and verified emission reductions;
  • Scale up support and technical assistance for countries to build capacity, improve governance, address land tenure, strengthen sustainable land-use, and promote the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in programmes that reduce deforestation and forest degradation;
  • Partner with the private sector to transform supply chains to become deforestation-free, and leverage hundreds of billions of private investment in forests and agriculture.

This talk of increasing finance to REDD, scaling up support and technical assistance and partnering with corporations is followed by an admission that so far,

implementing sustainable land-use strategies at scale, and achieving significant emission reductions, continues to be politically and technically demanding.

“Continues to be politically and technically demanding” is a euphemism for “still isn’t happening”, at least not on planet earth.

Pledges, pledges and more pledges

An annex to the GNU statement includes a list of support from the GNU countries since the New York Declaration in September 2014:

  • Germany and the UK have pledged over US$100 million to the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL). Programmes are “being established” in Zambia, Ethiopia and Colombia, and Indonesia’s is anticipated in 2016.
  • The UK “provided” US$71.4 million to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. This money did not appear in the FCPF’s 2014 Annual Report, but the report does include US$76.6 million pledged funding from the UK (click on the image for a larger version):
     
  • Germany and Norway signed a new agreement with Ecuador, for US$50 million through the REDD Early Movers programme.
  • Germany pledged US$114 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund.
  • Norway intends to provide around US$150 million to follow up its new partnership with Liberia.
  • Norway has pledged US$40 million to “support the achievement of REDD+ milestones” in Peru, and US$200 million after 2017 for verified emission reductions.

Note how often the word “pledged” appears in that list.

In Paris, the GNU countries will make yet more pledges:

  • Germany, Norway, and the UK pledge US$339 million to the FCPF Carbon Fund – aimed at supporting “circa five new large-scale emissions reductions programs”.
  • Norway will continue to support Brazil’s Amazon Fund at around current levels up to 2020, if Brazil continues to meet its ambitions. (In the last three years Norway has handed over an average of about US$112 million to the Amazon Fund.)
  • Germany, Norway and the UK will give Colombia over US$100 million in payments for verified emissions reductions through the REDD Early Movers programme.

REDD offsets: “The last thing the world needs now”

Meanwhile, also on the first day of COP21, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced that Norway is keen to include rainforests in future emissions markets, so that Norway can claim to be “carbon neutral”.

An article in Dagsavisen (in Norwegian – I used Google translate), Brazil’s chief negotiator on forests, Everton Lucero, is quoted as rejecting Solberg’s suggestion:

“Our position is very clear. Rainforest conservation in REDD+ is results-based financial support for development and conservation of forests. It has nothing to do with carbon offsets. It is not something to consider at all.”

Dagsavisen also quotes Nils Hermann Ranum of the Rainforest Foundation Norway. Ranum refered to Norway’s good reputation in forestry negotiations, and said that,

“It was particularly unfortunate that it was Norway who went out and said they want carbon credits from forests. To create a carbon market for forests does not make sense.
 
“To limit the temperature rise on Earth by 2 degrees, you have to cut emissions from coal, oil and gas and simultaneously stop deforestation. Doing forest conservation in a carbon mechanism, will replace reductions of emissions from forest conservation with emissions from fossil fuels. It is the last thing world needs now.”

 


Full Disclosure: Rainforest Foundation Norway has funded REDD-Monitor. Click here for all of REDD-Monitor’s funding sources.

And just in case you’re still wondering where the headline came from:


 

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Leave a Reply

  1. Chris: You are confusing REDD with REDD carbon credits. The political leaders believe REDD is REDD and you treat REDD as if it is REDD carbon credits.

    You need to change your explanations as REDD = Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. Thus your website has become defunct as it basically shows you don’t support stopping deforestation.

    You should change your Website name to: REDD Carbon Credit Monitor . Org.

    As this is what you are really against, I really have to think that your supporters are big oil and coal as you treat the people who are attempting to help with such contempt.

  2. @peter zimmerman – I do support stopping deforestation. One of my key concerns with REDD is that it is not stopping deforestation.

    Could you re-read the article, please? Particularly this bit:

    On the first day of COP21, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced that Norway is keen to include rainforests in future emissions markets, so that Norway can claim to be “carbon neutral”.

    The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility aims to create REDD as a carbon trading mechanism. Price per ton of CO2 < US$5.

    Here’s a list of REDD-Monitor’s funders – as you can see big oil and coal is absent from the list.

  3. Why do developed countries think developing countries are stupid and need your misguided protection. This site makes no sense; we have actively been helped by REDD+; in the drought of last year the farming methods introduced by REDD+ ensured that there was a harvest when other areas of the country crops failed. I note you are getting paid with your impressive list of funders. You are doing more harm than good and you are self serving at our expense.

    Its just like the ivory row we look after are elephants, you come to shot them and have wonderful party stories BUT provide nothing (besides trophy fees) to the huge expense of looking after those elephants even for us to sell the ivory but that’s another issue

    Why not get your hands dirty and contribute to making REDD better rather than looking for its destruction without providing a solution.

    Didymus

  4. @Didymus – Thanks for this comment. It would be helpful if you could provide at least a few more details about the REDD project you mention. What’s the name of the project, and which country is it in? Has anything been written up about the drought resistant farming methods? If you could provide a link or two, that would be helpful.

    Just to clarify, the opinions on REDD-Monitor are mine, and I don’t represent any “developed countries”. Neither have I ever shot an elephant. Incidentally, aren’t some African countries in favour of an ivory trade ban? Does that make them “stupid” in your opinion?

    I wonder what you think of the No-REDD in Africa network?

    One of my key concerns with REDD is that it does not reduce deforestation (because it doesn’t address the drivers of deforestation) and it does not address climate change (because it allows continued burning of fossil fuels).

  5. Thank you for posting my comment and your swift reply to it. I will endeavour to do the same. Your response is interestingly defensive; when one is funded its doubtful there is complete objectivity and you bring a level of hypocrisy in that you are benefiting from this funding as do the unscrupulous dealers you rightly castigate only you take the moral high ground, that is to say without REDD would you have this income?

    I do not know you, therefore I could not have possibly suggested that you have shot an Elephant nor do I infer that you want you. What I said was clear you can not prescribe solutions, pass laws without even setting foot in that country. I doubt very much you have visited all the projects you lambaste, yet you do. Plus is one side of the story, I know very well that there are very positive sides to REDD+ not because I have a vested interest in a project I do not. I actually cut trees for a living. But because I have seen the good with my own eyes and now want to stop cutting trees for a living.

    I am, as am sure you are, up for open debate and challenging the status quo. However this site really makes no sense to me. REDD is implemented using rigorous standards Gold standard etc, there have to be boots on the ground to meet with communities and do studies, its not done in a vacuum as one of your blogs suggest and this is verified.

    Are there failings? Yes but since REDD was introduced in the 90s/2000s it has improved immensely. Surely this is a good thing, but you seem to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater…. hardly practical.

    Finally you make many observations on whose facts/accuracy I do not contest but you offer no alternatives. You mention that REDD does not stop deforestation which is correct but it does reduce. The project I refer to as my “road to Damascus” villagers stopped burning logs for cooking but started using twigs they are now much more concerned about the forest and its protection.

    If you lived 100s of km from away, no electrical power, access to gas or other cooking fuels would you realistically expect a community to stop 100% using wood as a fuel or would you expect them to reduce? Such an expectation of completely stopping is doomed to fail within any rural project.

    With regards to the other sites its just more of the same one-sided reporting like CNN or BBC when you get on the ground you will find a very different story not prefect but not as bad as you make out either. I am still very concerned about the funding aspect, the true motives and whose opinion are we hearing the blogger or the funder.

    Zimmerman points out how you confuse issues, here you are at it again, my point about stupid refers to developed countries opinion of developing countries, it has nothing to do with those who support a ban on ivory being stupid. Its really quite clear i don’t even see how you make the connection.

    I thank you. QED

  6. @Didymus – Thanks for this. One thing that leaps out at me from your comment: you write, “You mention that REDD does not stop deforestation which is correct but it does reduce.” Actually, what I wrote was,

    One of my key concerns with REDD is that it does not reduce deforestation (because it doesn’t address the drivers of deforestation) and it does not address climate change (because it allows continued burning of fossil fuels).

    If you follow the links, you’ll find that I’m backing up my arguments, not just making random statements.

    In my previous reponse to you, I asked you a question, which you declined to answer. Here’s the question again, and I look forward to your response:

    It would be helpful if you could provide at least a few more details about the REDD project you mention. What’s the name of the project, and which country is it in? Has anything been written up about the drought resistant farming methods? If you could provide a link or two, that would be helpful.