Last month saw the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum 2018, 10 years after REDD was included in the Bali Road Map, at the UN climate negotiations in December 2007. “The goal of the forum is to celebrate results and identify remaining challenges,” according to the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation’s website about the event.
Over the past ten years, Norway has handed out almost US$3 billion (NOK 23.5 billion) on stopping tropical deforestation. On 15 May 2018, the Office of the Auditor General completed its investigation into Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. The report is critical.
Norway has spent NOK 1 billion on saving the rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But deforestation in DRC is increasing rapidly. On 12 May 2018, Dagsrevyen, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s daily news programme reported on Norway’s failure to address deforestation in DRC.
In December 2007, Norway’s then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg launched Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). Stoltenberg announced that Norway would be handing out more than US$500 million a year “to prevent deforestation in developing countries”. Stoltenberg was convinced that stopping deforestation would be quick and cheap.
On 1 February 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s forests were dealt a double blow. First, DRC’s Minister of Environment, Amy Ambatobe, reinstated three illegal logging concessions covering an area of 6,500 square kilometres. Second, DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila, signed off on three oil exploration concessions covering a huge area of Mai Ndombe province, including part of the Salonga National Park.
The Kariba REDD+ Project covers an area of 784,987 hectares in four districts of northwestern Zimbabwe. The project started in July 2011, and aims to generate almost 52 million carbon credits from reduced deforestation over its 30-year project life. The project is certified under the VCS and Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard systems.
In November 2017, Fern published a report titled, “Unearned credit: Why aviation industry forest offsets are doomed to fail”. The report takes aim at the aviation industry’s planned carbon trading mechanism, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.
On 9 January 2018, Virgin Atlantic told the Phnom Penh Post that it had stopped buying carbon credits from the Oddar Meanchey REDD project in Cambodia. Virgin Atlantic’s decision followed the publication of a report by Fern that highlights the problems of offsetting emissions from the aviation sector. One of the case studies in the report was Oddar Meanchey.
Dorjee Sun is the CEO of Carbon Conservation, a company set up 10 years ago to run REDD projects. The company’s first REDD project was the Ulu Masen REDD project, in Aceh province on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Sun partnered with Aceh’s “green governor”, Yusuf Irwandi, and Flora and Fauna International, to run the carbon trading project.
Ten days ago, REDD-Monitor sent some questions to Hicham Daoudi, project manager of WWF’s REDD project in Mai Ndombe, Democratic Republic of Congo. The questions were a follow up to a post on REDD-Monitor that was based on a critical report about the REDD project, written by LICOCO, a Congolese NGO.
Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd was the name of a company incorporated in the Bahamas in October 1999. The company set up forestry projects and traded carbon credits. Its directors included Eric Bettelheim (Executive Chairman and General Counsel), Alan Bernstein (Chief Executive Officer), and Hugh van Cutsem (Director).
Two weeks ago, REDD-Monitor posted a letter from indigenous peoples in Acre, Brazil announcing their support for the work of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in Acre. The letter was part of an on-going discussion in Brazil about REDD in Brazil and its impacts on indigenous peoples.
REDD is at the centre of a tense discussion in Brazil’s indigenous community. Some indigenous people support REDD, others oppose it. Ecosystem Marketplace has jumped into fray, accusing the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in the state of Acre of “intentionally sabotaging a program that has enabled [indigenous peoples] to save their forests”.
For a REDD project to generate carbon credits, the project developer has to write a story about what would have happened without the project. This story, or baseline scenario, is crucial to REDD. As long as the actual deforestation is less than the deforestation in the baseline scenario, the REDD project can generate carbon credits.