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REDD in the news: 13-19 April 2009

REDD in the news: 13-19 April 2009

Several articles about the US Waxman-Markey bill and REDD, this week.

Elsewhere, The New Nation reports on the Bangladesh negotiating team’s achievements in Bonn. Rhett Butler writes on Mongabay about satellites and conservation. The Katoomba Group produces the “Cuiabá Declaration”. Forest Carbon Portal publishes an interesting article by Zachary Wells about REDD in Africa. Wildlife Works Carbon starts up a REDD project in Kenya. The Jakarta Globe argues that forests are key to carbon trading as does Reuters in an article about the Amazon. The next day, the Jakarta Globe reports Indonesia’s forestry minister saying REDD is wrong for Indonesia. reports on UN-REDD. Rainforest Portal comments on REDD, logging and old-growth forests. A IUFRO report warns of the impacts of climate change on forests. The Guyana Chronicle reports on a meeting of Indigenous leaders in Georgetown.

13 April 2009

Climate change meet in Bonn: Bangladesh calls for right to survival
The New Nation reports on the Bangladesh negotiating team’s contribution to the climate change meeting in Bonn last week.

Bangladesh mainly focused on the issues of Adaptation, Shared Vision, Finance and Technology Transfer under Long term Cooperative Action (LCA) and Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and Emission Reduction by the developed countries under Kyoto Protocol.

However, the Bangladesh delegation highlighted the adaptation issues saying Bangladesh direly and immediately require easy access to adaptation technologies where Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) should not be a barrier to allow it and other developing countries to get such technologies.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Shaping Financing to Prevent Deforestation
Blog post on Solve Climate gives an overview of REDD and the US Waxman-Markey bill. Also includes a quotation via Associated Press from Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF’s global climate initiative: “The initial stages need to be funded by public mechanisms, not tradable credits.”

The U.S. climate legislation proposed by Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey would make REDD a key piece of its offsetting strategy. It would do this through three major sources of funding: offsets, a supplemental pollution reduction program, and strategic reserve auctions.

The bill also contains measures aimed at protecting groups who may become vulnerable from deforestation prevention, namely by being expelled from their land, and increasing awareness about the consequences of deforestation in countries where it is the most rampant.

How satellites are used in conservation
Article by Rhett Butler on Mongabay – a longer version of his article previously published on Yale environment360 (on 26 March 2009).

Presently optical sensing can do a reasonably good job distinguishing between cleared forest and natural forest—assuming cloud cover is minimal, a big assumption in the tropics. It does less well identifying and distinguishing between recovering forests, selectively logged forest, tree plantations, and degraded forests. New active sensing technologies, like cloud-penetrating radar and LIDAR, may change this. Some of these technologies may allow scientists to directly measure biomass in dense forests—currently many sensing technologies are limited by their tendency to “saturate” at a threshold well below the actual biomass in such forests.

Brazilian Stakeholders Urge Feds to go REDD
Article by Ecosystem Marketplace’s Steve Zwick on Forest Carbon Portal about the Cuiabá Declaration which was drawn up at the 14th Katoomba Meeting in Brazil. Predictably, since it comes from the Katoomba Group, the declaration is pro-carbon trading.

Two days later, delegates from these disparate and often contentious groups were hammering out the fine points of the two-page document, which urges Brazil’s federal government to reverse its opposition to direct payments from abroad to people and entities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), and to involve more stakeholders in the process of forming climate-change policy.

14 April 2009

Rainforest conservation gains in U.S. and U.N. climate proposals
Article on Mongabay about REDD in the US Waxman-Markey bill and in the climate negotiations in Bonn. The relevant text from the Waxman-Markey bill is appended to the article.

Under the draft bill, up to five percent of emission allowances issued by the Environmental Protection Agency could be used to provide incentives to reduce deforestation in developing countries between 2012 and 2025.
[ . . . ]
Meanwhile a document released by the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) following last week’s meeting in Bonn, Germany also set a preliminary five percent allowance for REDD under a future emissions-reductions compliance regime.

REDD Ready with a Gender Perspective
Article by Zachary Wells on Forest Carbon Portal asking whether Africa is prepared for the arrival of REDD funds. “It is not a stretch,” notes Wells, “to imagine Africa’s forests being sold out from under its traditional users.”

To sum up, African states must finally address longstanding ambiguities surrounding traditional forest tenure and private ownership. Africa must also determine, as individual nations and as a collective continent, how to monitor and enforce forest protection. Every African nation with a desire to implement REDD must individually recognize and legislate customary tenure and private ownership as the only means to guarantee socioeconomic freedoms and effectively govern forests. All African forest stakeholders must simultaneously work towards improved extension of authority – traditional and public – over the continent’s vast and unmanaged hinterlands. It is unclear that any African state will have achieved the necessary elements by next year. It is even less clear that the makers of REDD will consider them prerequisites for participation or delay implementation to avoid trampling traditional rights and throwing capital to the wind.

15 April 2009

Wildlife Works and the Kenya Forest Service Announce East Africa’s First REDD Carbon Offset Project Under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS)
Press release from Wildlife Works Carbon about a REDD project in Rukinga, Kenya to be run with the Kenya Forest Service. “Wildlife Works Carbon is a new venture of Wildlife Works, Inc., a global leader in applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity,” states the press release.

Wildlife Works Carbon believes it is their role and indeed their responsibility to help local landowners in the developing world to monetize their incredible forest and biodiversity assets whether they are communities, ownership groups or private individuals. What’s more they are betting on the fact that the Global Voluntary Carbon marketplace is ready for carbon credits that the average consumer can relate to. “If you had a choice between carbon credits generated when a commercial factory pig farm reduces its toxic methane emissions, or carbon credits from a threatened natural forest that brings with them protection of elephants, lions, cheetah, giraffe and 54 other large mammal species which one would you prefer?” asks [Mike] Korchinsky [Founder and President of Wildlife Works].

Rainforests Key to Carbon Trading
Article in the Jakarta Globe quotes Frances J. Seymour as saying that Indonesia could earn at least US$1 billion a year in trading forest carbon.

EcoSecurities Indonesia alone has set sales targets for next year as high as 25 million tons worth of carbon credits. The carbon credit volume is valued at between $250 million and $300 million.

“The 25 million tons of carbon credits is just our target. If other companies or organizations develop these kinds of projects, the figure could be much higher,” said Agus Sari, country director for EcoSecurities Indonesia.

EcoSecurities is an international trader in carbon credits from greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. It established its Jakarta office in Septemer 2006.

16 April 2009

Indonesia says REDD unworkable
Indonesia’s forestry minister says REDD won’t work in Indonesia, reports the Jakarta Globe: “Minister M.S. Kaban says a simpler, cheaper and more practical system is needed in the disparate island chain.”

“Indonesia needs an alternative scheme for carbon trading and we must begin work on creating this now,” Kaban said. “We must find a simpler, less-expensive scheme that can save our forests while still benefiting the people,” the Jakarta Globe reports.

Kaban said the REDD initiative is positive overall but the expense and complexity associated with implementation made it unworkable in Indonesia. He supported continued development of the voluntary carbon market to promote avoided deforestation locally.

Kenya signs its first REDD deal to conserve forests
Mongabay reports on a REDD project by Wildlife Works Carbon and Kenya Forest Service aimed at protecting the 80,000 acre Rukinga forest reserve in southeast Kenya.

Wildlife Works Carbon says the project will create a wildlife corridor that links two of Kenya’s largest protected areas — Tsavo East and Tsavo West. The area had previously been under threat from overgrazing, poaching and deforestation.

Carbon deal seen key to Amazon preservation
Reuters reports Amazonas state governor, Eduardo Braga, as stating that deforestation in Amazonas “could fall to zero by 2020 if a global climate summit in Copenhagen in December adopts measures to put an economic value on preserving forests”.

Consultancy firm McKinsey presented a study at the World Economic Forum showing that deforestation in Brazil could be cut to zero at a cost of 17 billion reais ($7.8 billion), which it said was relatively cheap compared to the cost of reducing rich country emissions.

Braga said any conservation scheme needed to make economic sense for local communities to keep trees standing rather than cut them down. The Bolsa Floresta was successful because it increased per capita income by around 30 percent, he said.

Countries funded to plan forest protection article about US$18 million in funding from UN-REDD to DR Congo, Indonesia, PNG, Tanzania and Vietnam.

Tanzania will receive US$4 million of the funding, says Niklas Hagelberg, programme officer in the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation at UNEP.

The Tanzanian REDD programme will be led by the Forestry and Beekeeping Division. Hagelberg says Tanzania will prepare itself for REDD by ensuring a national governance framework and strong institutional capacity. They also need a system for capturing information — such as forest loss, carbon emissions and land use assessment — to feed into a REDD process.

REDD Must Only Support Willing Protection of Old Forests
Post on Rainforest Portal by Dr. Glen Barry of Ecological Internet. EI “cautiously supports” REDD, “as long as it does not pay for first time logging of primary forests”.

Insofar as the carbon market can pay for this protection and restoration; without allowing over-developed countries to continue polluting, threaten indigenous and local land rights, while supporting community based ecoforestry uses of standing forests, they are worthy of support. If carbon monies pay for non-existent “sustainable management” and other industrial development of primary forests, replacing them with plantations and much diminished secondary forests (both in terms of biodiversity and carbon), it will facilitate the biosphere’s continued decline. Old forest destruction must end to sustain Earth.

Waxman-Markey and REDD
Post on CleanTech.Org about the Waxman-Markey bill and REDD.

The bill would permit 2 billion tons of CO2e reductions to come from offsets, one half of which could be generated from international sources. The number (2 billion), while presumably not arbitrary, could be increased or decreased upon the President’s recommendation, allowing for adjustments due to market factors or where the cap is ultimately set. Of these international offsets, reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) credits are specifically mentioned and permitted. A conversion would be applied of 1.25 offset credits in lieu of an emission allowance – the discount apparently designed to ensure that real reductions are achieved from the offsetting activity, and that the credits are accounted for in a conservative manner. The use of offsets will be increased and phased in such that a covered entity could satisfy 15% of its emission reduction obligation using offsets in 2012, progressively increasing to 33% by 2050. Certain relatively strict criteria would be applied to REDD credits, including agreements between the US and the developing country from which credits would be generated, monitoring and measurement capacity, and establishment of national deforestation baselines. The bill takes a “sector” approach, or country by country, as opposed to a strictly project-by-project approach.

17 April 2009
IUFRO Press Release
Press Release from the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) about a new report titled “Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment Report“. The report found that “The critical role of forests as massive “sinks” for absorbing greenhouse gases is “at risk of being lost entirely” to climate change-induced environmental stresses that threaten to damage and even decimate forests worldwide”

“We normally think of forests as putting the brakes on global warming, but in fact over the next few decades, damage induced by climate change could cause forests to release huge quantities of carbon and create a situation in which they do more to accelerate warming than to slow it down,” said Risto Seppälä, a professor at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) and Immediate Past President of IUFRO, who chaired the expert panel that produced the report.

Indigenous leaders working on climate change action plan
Article in the Guyana Chronicle about a five-day meeting in Georgetown, Guyana to discuss forests and the threats of mining, climate change, mega-developmental projects and REDD. Indigenous leaders from French Guiana, Surinam and Guyana took part along with several NGO and UN representatives.

President of APA [Amerindian Peoples Association of Guyana], Mr. Tony James said he expects the outcome to have a major impact on the struggle to win popular support for the objectives, because the participants are all drawn from the grassroots level and will be able to educate their communities on the issues on return home.

“We are concerned about no information at the grassroots level. Many communities do not have radios or television sets and do not know what is going on with respect to these issues. What we have done is to bring the grassroots leaders together, to get the seriousness of the situation down to the level of communities, so we can strengthen our capacities to be part of the decision making process on issues which impact on our way of life,” he explained.

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