How big is Asia Pulp and Paper’s carbon footprint? The company is one of the biggest pulp and paper companies in the world. WWF estimates that the company has destroyed more than one million hectares of forest in Riau and Jambi provinces. Yet the company claims that its carbon footprint is “close to neutral” per ton of paper.
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”.
Yesterday, Asia Pulp and Paper and Carbon Conservation launched a REDD-type project on 15,640 hectares of peat forest on the Kampar peninsular, in Sumatra. “The Kampar Carbon Reserve is a gift from Indonesia to the world,” said Aida Greenbury, sustainability director for APP, in a press release. But the project raises serious questions about the credibility of REDD.
Three unrelated pieces of information. A couple of weeks ago, Interpol held an environmental crime conference. Last week, at a conference on carbon trading in Chicago, an attorney mentioned that several large energy companies are setting up a new US$1 billion REDD fund. Meanwhile, DNV, a carbon project validator, is accused of falsifying the date on a report in China.
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”.
On 14-15 July 2010, a meeting of the Interim REDD+ Partnership took place in Brasilia. The co-chairs of the Partnership sent an invitation dated 6 July 2010 (pdf file 48.1 KB) to an apparently randomly selected list of development and environment NGOs, businesses and research organisations. The email stated that there was space in the meeting for 12 organisations to send 2 people.
Two new Project Development Documents have recently been posted on the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) website, relating to REDD-type projects in Papua New Guinea: Kamula Doso Improved Forest Management Carbon Project and April Salumei Sustainable Forest Management Project.
Two press releases about Malaysia. The first is from the Bruno Manser Fund, publicising a video that shows how Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, was involved in vote buying for Robert Lau, the son of a timber tycoon. The second is from Carbon Planet, the Australian carbon trading company that got its fingers burnt in Papua New Guinea and is now starting to do business in Malaysia. Out of the frying pan, into the fire?
The description of Australia as “the lucky country” comes from a 1964 book by Donald Horne. The final chapter starts with the words, “Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.” It is a particularly appropriate way to describe how Australia has benefited from the international climate negotiations.
In the 1970s, Richard Sandor was one of the originators of interest rate derivatives. In the 1980s, he made a fortune at Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he developed “collateral mortgage obligations”. In the 1980s and 1990s he helped develop pollution trading. And as founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange, he’s been described as the “father of carbon trading”.
A month ago, I wrote to the UN-REDD team in Papua New Guinea to ask, among other things, what has happened to the programme’s budget of US$2,596 million. I am still waiting for a reply. Last week, I sent a reminder, along with a new question about the PNG government’s investigation into the Office of Climate Change, the key documents of which, it seems, have disappeared.
This article was published in the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin 151, February 2010. It is loosely based on a presentation I gave at a workshop in Bogor earlier this month, about local media and REDD. The workshop was organised by the Indonesian local media association ASTEKI and the Samdhana Institute.
On 4 December 2009, Guyana’s President, Bharrat Jagdeo, was interviewed on the BBC programme “Hard Talk“. At one stage, the presenter, Zeinab Badawi, asks Jagdeo about REDD. What Jagdeo doesn’t say in response is more interesting than what he does say. He doesn’t mention the logging companies already logging Guyana’s forests. He doesn’t mention mining. He doesn’t mention road-building. He doesn’t mention the risks of corruption.