Since 2002, a moratorium on new industrial logging concessions has helped protect the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now the government of DRC wants to open up its forests to more logging. As much as 35% of the country’s forest could be threatened with destruction.
At a recent workshop in Sacramento, Environmental Defense Fund’s Steve Schwartzman was waving around copies of a letter in favour of California using REDD offsets in its cap and trade scheme. Following the letter was a list of NGO logos, including that of Greenpeace Brazil. But Greenpeace has consistently opposed REDD offsets in California. How did Greenpeace’s logo appear on a letter supporting REDD?
The Democratic Republic of Congo has the second largest area of rainforest in the world. Since 2002, a moratorium on new logging licences has been in place. The government is now threatening to re-open its forests to new logging concessions.
By signing the New York Declaration on Forests, which was announced this week during the UN Climate Summit, governments, companies, civil society and indigenous organisations have endorsed “a global timeline to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020, and [will] strive to end it by 2030”.
In February 2013, Greenpeace stopped campaigning against Asia Pulp and Paper in Indonesia. The reason was APP’s Forest Conservation Policy that promised to protect all areas of forest and peatlands in its suppliers’ concessions.
Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has extended the moratorium on new forest concessions for a further two years. Despite the flaws in the moratorium an extension is better than a return to business as usual. But the President has missed out on a chance to strengthen the moratorium.
Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of coal for power stations. The government is planning new infrastructure, including a US$2.8 billion railway, to help increase exports even further. How does this fit with the same government’s promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Obviously, it doesn’t.
In May 2012, Olam International announced a REDD project for “sustainable forest management” in the Republic of Congo. The project is a public-private partnership between Olam International’s subsidiary CIB (Congolaise Industrielle des Bois) and the Government of the Republic of Congo.