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REDD in the news: 6-12 April 2009

The UN negotiations in Bonn dominated the news. Ecosystem Marketplace and Global Canopy Programme are optimistic about what happened in Bonn but the New York Times notes that little actually came out the negotiations.

Prince Charles held a meeting with G20 leaders. Two scientists respond to an article in The Guardian about the threat of climate change destroying the Amazon rainforest. International Food Policy Research Institute focusses on agriculture and climate change.

7 April 2009
A teaching moment at the G20 summit
Post on Grist about the G20 summit and a meeting called by Prince Charles to discuss action to protect rainforests.

The Prince called together representatives of all the G20 countries—including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—to urge them to take action to protect rainforests. And he, at least, said what needed saying.

“As important and concerning as the global financial crisis is,” he told them, “its challenges and consequences will pale into insignificance when compared with the scale and extent of human misery and suffering, social and economic, if our actions to tackle climate change are too little or too late, or both.”

UNFCCC Secretariat Releases Addendum on Ideas and Proposals on the Elements Contained in Paragraphs 1 of the Bali Action Plan
More submissions from parties on paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan (which includes REDD). The most recent submission (from Belize, the Central Africa Republic, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Vanuatu and Viet Nam) is available here and previous submissions can be downloaded here.

Amazon Experts Cautious on Climate Threat
Post on the New York Times‘ Dot Earth blog about a response by two scientists to an article in The Guardian which stated that the Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change.

Forest dieback is a possibility that should not be ignored, and the probability increases with increasing air temperatures; but it is not inevitable. What is clear is that climate change magnifies the threat from advancing agricultural development, as a drier Amazon will burn more easily.

8 April 2009
REDD signal turns amber
Charlie Parker, Policy Analyst, Global Canopy Programme summarises what happened in Bonn regarding REDD.

There was progress this week on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) as Parties met at two focus groups to discuss mitigation and financing mechanisms in relation to REDD, but it remains to be seen whether it will be enough. Several Parties requested last week for the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) to establish a separate REDD negotiation track that would specifically discuss “policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to REDD”. This request led to a REDD focus group under the mitigation contact group on Saturday followed by a focus group under the delivery contact group to discuss REDD financing mechanisms. Whilst this is a step in the right direction, REDD proponents are still in a holding pattern as they wait expectantly for a separate REDD negotiation to be established for the remaining AWG-LCA meetings this year. The Chair is expected to announce his decision on this issue before the next meeting of the AWG-LCA in June.

REDD Turns Amber in Bonn and Brazil
Ecosystem Marketplace on the UN negotiations in Bonn. At the end of the article is an interview with Johannes Ebeling of EcoSecurities.

REDD has become one of the more controversial greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, and the conference opened with Greenpeace presenting its usual counter-REDD argument: namely, that allowing forestry offsets into a post-Kyoto accord would flood the regulated market with cheap offsets, thus reducing the incentives for industrial emitters to reduce their emissions. It’s a controversial argument and, we would argue, a weak one (some studies show that the cost of REDD projects will increase over time, and that there are plenty of less expensive industrial-reduction alternatives, for example, while others argue that the problem can easily be solved by simply pushing for deeper cuts than the current 20% by 2020 and then include forestry – arguments we will be examining in the weeks ahead).

AWG-LCA 5 and AWG-KP 7 Highlights: Tuesday, 7 April 2009
IISD’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the negotiations in Bonn.

TECHNOLOGY AND FINANCE: Discussions focused on financing for adaptation and for “REDD+,” which covers REDD and conservation.
[ . . . ]
On REDD+, Brazil underscored environmental integrity. Highlighting the need for a financial and institutional framework, NORWAY, with many parties, underscored a results-based, multi-phase approach, with an initial readiness phase supported by funds, followed by a performance-verified phase with market involvement. PANAMA proposed a flexible approach to financing via funds or markets, or both, and suggested a technical paper on options for replenishing sources for a hypothetical REDD+ fund.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA, supported by many parties emphasized the need to integrate multiple revenue streams and organize them to facilitate a step-wise process, with scaled-up and unconditional ODA and earmarked market-linked funding. He highlighted the need to ensure carbon market stability, possibly through setting aside a percentage of AAUs.
[ . . . ]
The ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP stressed governance and recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights.

Bonn climate talks create better atmosphere, but few results
New York Times article on the Bonn negotiations.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), some positive momentum has gotten under way on deforestation — or, more precisely, on “reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries,” also known as the REDD scheme.

EDF said that during the Bonn talks, several nations — including Colombia, India and Norway — called for a special session to be held to discuss how to compensate developing countries for protecting forest as part of a new global climate deal. A majority of nations stated that various approaches ought to be considered for compensating forest nations; many said that financing through carbon markets would be needed.

9 April 2009
Rain Forest Credits May Be Used for 5% of UN Climate Compliance
Bloomberg article on the possibility that LULUCF credits, including REDD, could be used for 5% of compliance with UN emissions-reduction requirements.

Use of credits tied to deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, known as REDD, and other land-use change “shall not exceed 1 percent of base-year emissions of that party, times five,” according to a document dated yesterday on the Web site of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The word “five” was bracketed, indicating a final decision had not been made on the limit.

Global Climate Talks Must Address Agriculture article based on a press release by International Food Policy Research Institute. Another example of blaming the poor for deforestation.

The formal inclusion of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) in the current negotiations is a result of a new appreciation of the importance of this source of GHGs and initial findings of low-cost opportunities to reduce them. Significant challenges remain, however. What are the best ways to dissuade poor people from cutting down trees and converting other lands to unsustainable agricultural practices and to encourage them to adopt technologies and management strategies that mitigate carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions? The tasks ahead include identifying and supporting the most appropriate approaches in farmers’ fields and monitoring their implementation.

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