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REDD in the news: 22-28 December 2008

There was no common theme to the news on REDD this week: China Dialogue critiques the Poznan talks; Nature Inc may make a programme about REDD for BBC TV; Caribbean Net News interviews Guyana’s President; Ricardo Bayon of Image Tree promotes carbon trading; the Indonesian government allows 13 mining companies to operate in protected forests; PNG produces a briefing on REDD; and COMESA wants to expand carbon markets “beyond REDD”.

22 December 2008
What happened at Poznan?
China Dialogue on Poznan: “it was surprising quite how little was achieved”.

Deforestation was another sticking point. The talks about Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) inched forward. But there was controversy, as a provisional agreement failed to mention indigenous rights, took no strong position on biodiversity and did not include peatlands, which are large carbon sinks. It is also still not clear whether “net” or “gross” emissions will be assessed: a “net” approach would make it possible for some countries to continue chopping down existing forests and replacing them by planting new trees. Such a process would lead to large-scale loss of habitat and biodiversity.

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REDD shift
Nature Inc is a BBC series about putting a price on nature. This post on the Producers’ Blog looks at REDD, and the possibility of making a future programme on REDD. Nature Inc. has been talking to Glenn Prickett, executive director of Conservation International who said that “it felt like he had been in preparation for the growth of this issue for the last 20 years and it was like the starter’s gun had just gone off.”

It is a very important time to be looking more deeply at REDD – something that has both the possibility to make a real difference to the global environment but also holds the prospect of accelerating its destruction. Paying communities to halt deforestation and manage their forests sustainably, whilst integrating the offsets generated by this into the global carbon trading market, could really help forests pay for themselves and safeguard their future. But if REDD ends up simply further institutionalising Western economism and the commoditisation of nature, marginalising local communities and businesses, then it will not only have negative effects on the environment but also further degrade cultural diversity and deepen poverty around the world.

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President says Guyana’s climate change position advanced significantly
Caribbean Net News speaks to President Bharrat Jagdeo about his views on the outcome of Poznan.

“I see some interesting proposals emerging from some European countries about setting aside a share of the proceeds from trading carbon, that is, from auctioning the permits, the emission permits and that that will come towards an adaptation fund and also to help to preserve forest and biodiversity. So, that’s a move forward in the thinking because our paper argued mainly for a market-based mechanism,” he told the media.

Jagdeo said he has no problem if funds come to forest countries from various sources but noted that what is important is for the countries to have incentives above or around what the forest costs the nation or its economic value.

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The Role of Forest Carbon in Emerging Ecomarkets Will be Significant, Says Environmental Economist Ricardo Bayon
Press Release based on Ricardo Bayon’s presentation at ImageTree Corporation’s Idea Leadership Series. Bayon is co-founder and partner of merchant bank EKO Asset Management Partners and a ounder and former managing director of Ecosystem Marketplace.

“Forest carbon has been ostracized by the world’s largest carbon markets – those in the European Union,” said Bayon, co-founder and partner of merchant bank EKO Asset Management Partners, which invests in new and emerging markets for such environmental commodities as carbon, water and biodiversity. “But that will change.”

U.S. carbon markets, which have been slower to emerge than those in the EU, have, however, embraced forestry, he said, noting that several states already have developed emissions cap-and-trade systems that rely on land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) projects to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Government more bark than bite
The Jakarta Post reports on the Indonesian Government’s failure to act against polluting companies.

The most controversial issue for forest protection is Government Regulation No. 2/2008 on non-tax revenue from forests, which allows 13 mining companies to operate in protected forests.

The regulation was issued just two months after Indonesia won international praise for successfully hosting the UN climate change conference in Bali, which adopted the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism.

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PNG joins support for REDD
The PNG National Broadcasting Corporation reports that PNG is joining a coalition of 53 forest nations supporting REDD.

A briefing paper prepared by PNG’s Office of Climate Change and Carbon Trading suggested if countries agreed not to cut down their natural forests, carbon could be traded at a global price of 25 Euro a tonne.

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23 December 2008
African Proposal Yet to Gain Foothold
Inter Press Service article looking at Africa’s plans to expand carbon trading mechanisms. Features interviews with Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project and the French ecology minister, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morize.

COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya explained that the African Climate Solution calls for the extension of carbon credit mechanisms beyond REDD.

“We are calling for global markets of carbon credits and the Clean Development Mechanism to include afforestation, reforestation, agro-forestry, re-vegetation of degraded lands, reduced soil tillage and sustainable agricultural practices.”

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