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REDD in the news: 11-16 Oct 2008

REDD in the news: 11-16 Oct 2008A round up of media coverage of REDD over the past seven days.

It’s been a busy week. IUCN’s World Conservation Congress ended at the beginning of the week. During the Congress, The Forests Dialogue released its position on REDD. The Eliasch Report came out on Tuesday.

On Friday, the European Commission released its Communication on deforestation and how the European community plans to deal with it.

Click on the headlines to go to the articles.

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National Geographic, November 2008: Borneo’s Moment of Truth
An article about forests in Borneo – the impacts of logging, oil palm plantations, oil, gas, coal and gold mining.

“REDD, I would argue, is the one big prospect on the horizon,” Frances Seymour of CIFOR says. “Let’s be clear here: Why do people cut down trees? For the money. If you can give people the opportunity to make the same amount of money or more by leaving the trees standing, there’s your answer.”

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16 October 2008:
Carbon conservation schemes will fail without forest people
Mongabay reports on a meeting this week in Oslo hosted by the Rights and Resources Initiative and Rainforest Foundation Norway. The meeting is titled “Rights, Forests and Climate Change”.

“There are growing conflicts between indigenous peoples and both forestry companies and conservation organizations,” said Joji Carino, Director of TEBTEBBA, the Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education. “Imposed forest management initiatives are only viable if they respect the customary rights of forest peoples and ensure they have control about what happens on their lands. Indigenous peoples must be accepted as full and fair participants in all climate negotiations.”

There’s a great blog about the meeting – including presentations, press releases and background documents.

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The CBD Secretariat has launched an e-Newsletter on REDD. It is aimed at informing CBD National Focal Points and other interested recipients about the biodiversity aspects of REDD. The one-page newsletter is optimistic about REDD – one headline is “Win-win-win Projects: Climate, Biodiversity, and Livelihoods”.

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15 October 2008:
Rich nations ‘should pay poor ones billions a year to save rainforests’
The Times reports on the Eliasch Review.

“This scheme has the potential to cause even greater conflict over forests,” said Tom Pickens, of Friends of the Earth.

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Going Beyond Climate Change
Ramesh Jaura, writing for IPS, notes that IUCN’s new president, Ashok Khosla, is to:

set up a world commission in collaboration with WWF and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to investigate the deeper implications of ‘green carbon’ such as sequestration, REED (a mechanism for compensating countries for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) and biofuels.

The proposed commission would, like the World Commission on Dams, bring together people from different walks of life and of different viewpoints who are in a position to look at where the action on climate change and on biodiversity can take place in the most meaningful way.

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14 October 2008:
Forest plan may ‘fuel corruption’
BBC report on the release of the Eliasch review.

Simon Counsell of the Rainforest Foundation says: “We welcome a lot of the ideas in the review – but there is a nightmare scenario here in which we actually make things worse whilst patting ourselves on the back thinking we are making them better.

“We should not underestimate the scale of the challenge faced in some forest nations where governance is virtually non-existent.”

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UK government: rainforests are weapon against global warming
Mongabay article on the release of the Eliasch review.

Greenpeace, which has proposed its own non-market system for using forest conservation to slow climate change, and Friends of the Earth both blasted the proposal.

“Allowing forests to become a ‘get out of jail’ free card for the big polluters would be extremely bad news for the fight against climate change,” said Andy Tait, Greenpeace’s biodiversity of biodiversity, in a statement. “If Gordon Brown accepts these proposals he will give a green light to companies to use forest protection abroad as a cheap alternative to making the dramatic cuts in the industrial and energy sectors that we need here in the U.K.”

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13 October 2008:
Brown’s plan to save the rainforets
Roger Harrabin reporting for the BBC about the Eliasch Report.

The nightmare scenario, according to one analyst, is that we place undue confidence in protecting tropical rainforests in order to tackle climate change, lose sight of the imperative for a quick transition to a low-carbon economy in the rich world, trade off domestic emissions against putative “avoidance of deforestation”, but then find that tropical country governments are unable to reduce deforestation.
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One carbon trader told me: “Look, there are going to be some people scamming money out of this deal – but at least it is a deal… and it has to do more good than harm.”

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Time to invest in nature’s capital
Andrew Mitchell, of the Global Canopy Programme writes on the BBC’s Green Room webpage about why he thinks that carbon finance will save the forests.

A scheme to value forest ecosystem services in global markets could deliver financial flows at scale, in addition to those provided by carbon markets.

Some understandably fear turning natural capital into bonds or equities because the market can be a beast, but government funds sourced from taxation are unlikely to meet the $30-50bn annual bill for halting deforestation.

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