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REDD in the news: 17-24 October 2008

REDD in the news: 17-24 October 2008

Last week, articles covered a report by the Rights and Resources Intiative, forest destruction in Indonesia and the UK, more on the Eliasch Review and a new climate trust fund in Indonesia. Meanwhile, The Guardian asks whether Canopy Capital’s activities in Guyana are really “win-win”.



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17 October 2008
Pay indigenous people to protect rainforests, conservation groups urge
Article in The Guardian based on a report by Jeffrey Hatcher of Rights and Resources Initiative. Hatcher’s report suggests that it would cost US$3.50per hectare to recognise forest people’s land, whereas the costs of protecting forests under REDD are around US$3,500 per hectare.

Norway’s Minister of Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim, said that efforts towards reduced emissions from deforestation in developing countries should be based on the rights of indigenous people to the forests they depend on for their livelihoods, and should provide tangible benefits to them consistent with their essential role in sustainable forest management.

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18 October 2008
Ignoring forest dwellers’ rights will be costly, report predicts
Nature also reports on Jeffrey Hatcher’s report for the Rights and Resources Initiative.

“The idea of the study is to put things in perspective,” says Jeffrey Hatcher, the report’s author and an analyst at the Rights and Resources Initiative, a coalition of conservation groups. “There is strong evidence that local people are good at forestry management. So even if REDD does not come about, if you at least recognize people’s rights you will get a good outcome and reduced emissions.”

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20 October 2008
Canopy Capital
Short interview with Andrew Mitchell of Canopy Capital in The Guardian.

The future cost of saving forests such as those of Guyana will dwarf the current bail-outs for the financial sector, says Mitchell. “This is not about markets versus donor funds, it’s about an emergency. The economic losses from degrading nature are three times the credit crunch,” he says.

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The ‘win-win’ solution failing the rainforests
Article by Oliver Balch in The Guardian looks briefly at Canopy Capital’s project in Iwokrama, Guyana, followed by comments from World Rainforest Movement, Global Forests Coalition and Greenpeace Brazil about problems with market based approaches to saving forests.

“The problems that have been caused by companies with their own rules cannot be solved by the same companies with the same rules,” says Ana Filippini, spokesperson for the World Rainforest Movement, a Uruguayan-based conservation group.

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Urgent action needed over Sumatran peat forest logging
Article in The Telegraph about the Tripa peat swamp in Sumatra, which is being destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations.

Irwandi Yusuf, the governor of Aceh called for a moratorium on all logging in Aceh in June 2007 but it is being largely ignored on the ground. . . . The simple truth is that the palm oil companies want to sell the timber from the large trees they fell when they clear the land. In fact there are vast areas of already cleared land in Tripa that have not even been planted with palm oil.

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21 October 2008
UK’s ancient woodland being lost ‘faster than Amazon’
John Vidal, writing in The Guardian, notes that deforestation doesn’t only happen in the tropics.

Ancient woodland in Britain is being felled at a rate even faster than the Amazon rainforest, according to new research today. It shows that almost half of all woods in the UK that are more than 400 years old have been lost in the past 80 years and more than 600 ancient woods are now threatened by new roads, electricity pylons, housing, and airport expansion.

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23 October 2008
Despite financial chaos, donors pledge $100M for rainforest conservation
Mongabay reports on the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility meeting in Washington DC, 20-22 October 2008. “Donors” pledged more than US$100 million to the scheme, including US$5 million from The Nature Conservancy which sits on the FCPF Participants Committee (along with 9 governments from the North and 10 from the South).

“It is heartening to know that despite the current financial situation, countries around the world understand that we cannot delay action on battling climate change,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. . . . “The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility will bring developed and industrialized countries together – along with forest communities, indigenous groups, the private sector and civil society – to establish a financial value for the carbon stored in standing forests.”

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Value a forest, cool a planet
Article in The Christian Science Monitor about the Eliasch Report. The article is in favour of putting a price on carbon (through a carbon tax) and notes some of the problems with carbon markets:

  • pricing credits properly when they are issued is difficult;
  • determining whether projects being awarded credits might have happened anyway is difficult; and
  • bringing forests into carbon markets could “wreak havoc with the carbon markets themselves, bringing down the value of the credits and ruining the market”.

Nonprofit groups have worked tirelessly for years to preserve forests. But their efforts alone will never solve such an immense problem. Some means of recognizing the true economic and environmental value of the world’s forests still must be found.

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24 October 2008
Govt to set up climate trust fund to woo donors
The Jakarta Post reports on a climate trust fund set up by the Indonesian Government to manage the billions of dollars it anticipates to mitigate climate change. The fund is to be managed by the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) and the Finance Ministry. So far, Japan has promised US$400 million, France US$200 million, Germany and Australia US$30 million each and the USA has promised US$2.8 million.

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  1. There’s something I don’t understand here: in one of the articles we’re told that rain forests can be protected for as little as $3.50 per hectare, but in another we’re told by Andrew Mitchell that it’s going to take masses of money, more even than has been spent on the recent global financial bail-out. Surely these can’t both be true?

    Or is it the case that it will cost loads of money because, under Andrew Mitchell’s plan, we’re also going to have to enrich Canopy Capitalists such as himself? Am I not right in thinking that all of Canopy Capital’s first rain forest money-spinning venture, Iwokrama in Guyana, is inhabited by indigenous people? And if it’ll only cost $3.50 per hectare if we pay them to look after it, then why doesn’t someone just do that?