Global Witness recently produced a short film on industrial logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The film raises an interesting conundrum. “The World Bank and other international donor agencies claim to support the protection of forests and the people that live in them. Yet many donors continue to support industrial logging.”
“We believe that the current situation demonstrates more than ever the need to pursue other paths beyond REDD+.” This is from this month’s issue of the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin, which focusses on REDD. The first article in the Bulletin asks “Can REDD+ be ‘fixed’?”, the answer to which is somewhat given away by the next article: “The ‘sins’ of the REDD+ approach”.
Earlier this month, Ecosystem Restoration Associates, a Canadian carbon trading company, announced a REDD-type project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The company described the project as, “the first Forest Conservation Concession Contract awarded by the government of the DRC.”
Many of the countries hoping to implement REDD are riddled with corruption, illegal logging and a failure to respect land rights and indigenous peoples’ rights. The forestry ministries in these countries are often among the most corrupt institutions in the government.
McKinsey & Co. is one of main promoters of the myth that REDD will be cheap. In 2009, Carter Bales, an emeritus director at McKinsey said that, “You can do this forestry work without technology risk, without hard infrastructure costs, there are some soft infrastructure costs in terms of readiness for these countries, and at very low cost relative to other abatement options.”
Yesterday, Greenpeace released a report titled, “Bad Influence: How McKinsey-inspired plans lead to rainforest destruction.” The report highlights how advice from McKinsey & Co., one of the world’s top consulting firms, will result in an increase in the destructive logging it is, in theory at least, supposed to prevent.
McKinsey & Company has benefited from a series of consultancies, advising governments about REDD. But a new report from Rainforest Foundation UK uses examples from McKinsey’s REDD advice in Indonesia, Guyana and the Democratic Republic of Congo to demonstrate that the advice McKinsey gives is based on flawed analysis and misleading for decision-makers.
In August 2010, Reuters reported that Shift2Neutral had “signed a deal aimed at protecting tropical forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as boosting renewable energy there.” Now, according to a letter dated 1 October 2010, from DR Congo’s Minister of Environment, José E. B. Endundo, the deal is “illegal” and “void”.
The Australian carbon trading company Shift2Neutral aims to become “the leading neutraliser of carbon emissions in the world”. The company appeared to come closer realising its aim this week when Reuters reported that Shift2Neutral “signed a deal aimed at protecting tropical forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as boosting renewable energy there”.
The Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) for the Democratic Republic of Congo is to be considered at the UN-REDD Policy Board meeting 17-19 March and at the FCPF 5th Participants Committee meeting 22-25 March. Global Witness, Greenpeace, FERN, Rainforest Foundation Norway and Rainforest Foundation UK have produced a joint statement about DR Congo’s R-PP.
At the October 20-22, 2008 meeting of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in Washington DC, the facility’s board approved funding for an additional ten countries to develop plans for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).
A growing number of forestry, conservation and remote sensing experts are questioning the role in the REDD debate being played by the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Centre (WHRC).
A Canadian company called ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd is looking to sell carbon offsets from REDD projects. The company already sells carbon offsets to Shell, which Shell uses to ensure that it can continue drilling for oil. According to the press release below, the president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, Carter Roberts supports this.