Last year, emissions of carbon dioxide increased by 3.2% to 31.6 billion tonnes, according to figures released by the International Energy Agency. Fatih Birol, IEA’s chief economist told Reuters that, “[T]he trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (towards the end of this century), which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”
Consulting firm McKinsey has played a key role in pushing a version of REDD that underestimates the role of industrial logging and agriculture on forest destruction, while painting local communities as forest destroyers. McKinsey’s advice, if taken seriously, would have had serious implications for local livelihoods and would do little to reduce deforestation.
Earlier this week, Greenpeace activists blockaded a Chinese logging ship, the Fu Tian, that was exporting timber from Papua New Guinea. The ship was docked near the village of West Pomio, where villagers are protesting the operations of Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau and its subsidiary, Gilford Limited.
A new film produced by David Fedele documents the destruction caused by the logging industry in Sandaun Province, in Northwest Papua New Guinea. The film documents the social and environmental impacts of the logging. The Malaysian logging company, WTK Realty, makes large profits from the logging, but leaves serious problems for the local community.
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.
In the past 13 months, the government of Papua New Guinea has issued Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) covering an area of 2.6 million hectares of land. The area of land so far handed over as SABLs totals 5.6 million hectares. Earlier this month the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination wrote to PNG’s UN Ambassador, Robert Aisi, expressing its concern about the SABLs.
In a post just before Christmas, I mentioned that Kevin Conrad “was busy in Cancun on Papua New Guinea’s behalf watering down safeguards in the REDD text.” A comment explained exactly how Conrad weakened the safeguards. What is perhaps even more interesting is the way Conrad dealt with a request from a Papua New Guinea NGO not to weaken the safeguards.
This morning, REDD-Monitor received an email, apparently from Kirk Roberts of Nupan Trading Corporation Ltd. The email is signed “Kirk William Roberts For and on behalf of the people of PNG,” and attached to it is an letter from Roberts to Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea’s Special Envoy and Ambassador for Environment and Climate Change.
Last week, the UN-REDD policy board approved almost US$6.4 million for Papua New Guinea’s National Joint Programme. However, in a letter to the co-chairs of the UN-REDD Policy Board, the PNG Ecoforestry Forum lists 16 conditions aimed at improving the National Joint Programme (posted below).
Yesterday, Greenpeace presented the Papua New Guinea government with a Golden Chainsaw award “for asking for REDD money whilst continuing with rampant logging, failing to respect indigenous rights and denying NGO input into REDD discussions”. The award was accepted by Federica Bietta, who is representing the PNG government at the UN Convention on Biodiversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan.
Even the most optimistic observers could not help noticing that the REDD+ Partnership became totally dysfunctional during last week’s UN climate meeting in Tianjin, China. The meetings were spent arguing about the agenda and civil society participation. By the end of the week, little or no progress had been made. The only important decision taken was to cancel the Partnership’s next meeting.
A June 2009 confidential memorandum from the consulting firm McKinsey to the PNG government has been posted on the PNGExposed Blog. In the memo, McKinsey was asking the PNG government for US$2.2 million for four months work to produce a draft “National REDD and Climate Change Plan” before the Copenhagen meeting.
Papua New Guinea was one of the founders of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations that five years ago proposed “a novel economic model for reducing deforestation” at COP-11 in Montreal. But the country has seen a series of REDD related scandals and the problems, it seems, just won’t go away.
The Interim REDD+ Partnership started badly in March 2010, when it held a closed door meeting in Paris. Two months later, in Oslo, where the Partnership was officially formed, the Partnership appeared to be taking at least some notice of the views of civil society and indigenous peoples. But the members of the Partnership appear to be suffering from collective amnesia.