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REDD in the news: 20-26 April 2009

This week saw several articles on the debate on how to finance REDD (markets versus funds). Indigenous Peoples’ meetings in Alaska and Guyana were also covered.

REDD proponents and carbon traders were honoured: A chameleon in Tanzania was named after Dorjee Sun, the CEO of Carbon Conservation and UNEP named Erik Solheim and Kevin Conrad “Champions of the Earth”.

20 April 2009
Deforestation ‘lynchpin’ in global climate talks
Article looking at financing REDD: public funds versus a market-based approach.

The European Commission, on the other hand, has taken a cautious approach to forest carbon credits, arguing that the risk is too high. It says there are many unresolved issues concerning monitoring, verification and liability issues, which will have to be addressed before forest credits can be considered for inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). And even then, inclusion would not be feasible until 2020, it said.

Climate Debate Focuses on Deforestation
By Ben Block, Worldchanging.
Article discusses the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park project in Bolivia and funding for REDD and quotes various organisations’ views.

Despite the additional funding, Kate Horner, an international climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said REDD will likely fail unless countries properly address the crucial second phase, of reforming land tenure and other policies.

“Efforts to address deforestation have never been want of money. We’ve been throwing money at deforestation for years,” Horner said. “Addressing issues of rights and governance is at the heart of the problem.”

Getting Back to Our Roots: The Renewed Interest in Forestry Carbon Offsets
By Aimee Barnes, ClimateBiz.
Article based on a survey carried out by EcoSecurities,, Conservation International and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance.

Interestingly, the results of “The Forest Carbon Offsetting Survey 2009,” based on more than 140 organizations covering a wide variety of geographies and industrial sectors, showed that in 2008, many carbon buyers decided to buy forestry offsets for the first time. Respondents purchased at least 2.7 million carbon credits in 2008, with at least 850,000 credits — nearly a third — coming from forestry. As a result, interest in forestry offsets has significantly increased, as have expectations about the role the sector will play in combating climate change.

Carbon Markets Americas
GreenPower conferences.
Interview with Camilo Terranova of New Carbon Finance, Brazil.

What types of projects do you see being developed and which type do you think will grow in future?

Renewables, particularly hydro, wind and biomass form generally speaking the bulk of opportunities in the region. Once REDD mechanisms are defined, the forestry potential of the region could be finally unleashed, even though Brazil, where the largest forestry potential is found, does not favour market mechanisms for the protection of its forests. Though relying on the good will of governments and companies may well prove unsustainable, deforestation in Brazil seems to be much more a problem of adequate policies (carrot and sticks) than something that solely throwing money at it can solve.

World Changers: The 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners
By Siobhan O’Conner, Good magazine
Interviews with 2009 Goldman Prize winners, including Wanze Eduards and Hugo Jabini in Suriname.

What are you working on next?

We are working on the implementation of the judgment from the court victory. We are also working on a management plan of our land, looking for funds and technical assistance to set up one or more of our own protected area according to PES [Payments for Ecosystem Services] and REDD [Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation] methodology.

21 April 2009
The Complexities of Deforestation and Indigenous Rights: perspectives from Central Africa
By Jospeh Itongwa, On the Frontlines of Climate Change.
Itongwa is from the Shirika La Bambuti organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His article highlights concerns with REDD and notes potential opportunities.

On the other hand, the organization also recognizes that REDD could create some new opportunities. They believe that REDD should assist indigenous peoples with the protection of their traditional lands and the avoidance of their destruction. It should also enhance recognition of the indigenous practices that have maintained the current state of forests. Finally, REDD should provide funding to the indigenous peoples of Kivu and the DRC to establish and manage community forests, as the core problem remains the insecurity of their rights to forests and traditional lands.

Two key questions need to be answered. Does REDD provide an effective response to the diverse sources of deforestation and forest degradation? Can REDD live up to the expectations that it has generated amongst indigenous groups world-wide?

Young, new forests can mop up carbon emissions
By Yoon Yeong-gyun, The Korea Herald.
Article describing South Korea’s involvement in afforestation and reforestation under the CDM and in REDD.

Notable projects are being carried out by the country in connection with such efforts for the Global Partnership for a Green Earth: the Korea-Mongolia Greenbelt Formation Project (2007-2016), the A/R CDM and REDD projects carried out jointly with Indonesia to develop its capability to cope with changes in the climate (2008-2012), the Project for Afforestation of Dry Areas in the Central Part of Myanmar, and cooperative projects jointly carried out with Latin American countries.

Avoided deforestation projects highly desirable for carbon offsets finds survey
Article about EcoSecurities et al’s survey of 140 corporate buyers of forestry offsets.

“It’s tremendously encouraging to see that companies are starting to recognize the benefits from forestry projects, not only in terms of the robustness of the carbon offsets, but also in creating sustainable co-benefits and helping to reduce the problem of climate change and deforestation,” said Pedro Moura Costa, President of EcoSecurities.

This week in review … REDD and the rights of Indigenous Peoples
By Elso Tsioumani, Traditional Knowledge Bulletin.
Comment about an article by Mrinalini Rai in Bretton Woods Project Update: “REDD and the rights of Indigenous Peoples“.

There is further concern about the possibility that the World Bank might succeed in positioning itself as the main financial broker for REDD and mitigation. It is however worth noting that the Bank has publicly committed to “revisiting” its Indigenous Peoples safeguard policy to ensure it is consistent with the standards set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

Earth’s tribes unite against climate threats
By Debora MacKenzieNew Scientist.
Report on the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change in Alaska.

This makes some post-Kyoto plans to pay for cuts in greenhouse emissions worrying. Forest dwellers such as the Dayak tribe of Borneo or the pygmies of Cameroon fear they will be dispossessed by forest developers rushing to grab carbon credits by cutting and replanting trees.

Other indigenous peoples are already being displaced as foreign companies grab “unoccupied” indigenous lands to plant biofuels or “carbon offset” trees to compensate for fossil fuel use elsewhere.

“We’re having the hardest time we’ve faced in 500 years,” says Dennis Martinez, an ecologist and O’odham (Pima) Indian at the meeting. He says indigenous peoples living off natural resources could be highly resilient to climate change – but not if their cultures are destroyed as the rest of the world tries to respond.

New Survey: Credit Buyers see REDD
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace.
Article about EcoSecurities et al’s survey of 140 corporate buyers of forestry offsets. Also an interview with Johannes Ebeling of EcoSecurities.

The overwhelming majority of potential buyers (91%) of forestry offsets consider avoided deforestation the most desirable forestry projects in regards to carbon results, while reforestation with native tree species came in a close second;
[ . . . ]
Benefits to local communities (89%) and the global scale of the problem (77%) have been the key motivational factors for adopting offsets from forest carbon projects.

New chameleon species named after carbon conservation pioneer
A newly discovered chameleon species from Tanzania has been named Kinyongia dorjeesuni, after the CEO of Carbon Conservation, Dorjee Sun.

Sun’s story is featured in The Burning Season, a documentary appearing next week at the Tribeca Film Festival. The Burning Season follows Sun in his quest to conserve a vast tract of rainforest in the Indonesian province of Aceh ahead of the 2007 U.N. climate meeting in Bali. Shortly after the conference, Sun landed a deal that could eventually generate more than $400 million in carbon finance. Benefits would extend to local communities and, more broadly, the planet.

“Forest carbon is the first link between financial markets and our earth’s infrastructure,” Sun told “REDD payments are good for the forests and forests are good for the planet.

22 April 2009
Indigenous peoples of Guiana Shield agree on action plan
By Clifford Stanley, Guyana Chronicle.
Report about a five day meeting of elected indigenous leaders of French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana in Georgetown.

Delegates also resolved to take steps for ensuring, that any Government decisions on issues which affect the ecological diversity of the rainforest are arrived at with the participation of leaders of the indigenous communities and in keeping with the principles of free prior and informed consent (FPIC).

The issues on which they want consultation include climate change and the action for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

UN DESA Climate Change Working Group Prepares Policy Briefs on Forests and Climate Change
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs has written two policy briefs on forests and climate change. Policy Brief 15 addresses finance for forests and climate change, and Policy Brief 16 addresses reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

Policy Brief 15, titled “Finance for Forests and Climate Change,” concludes that the “global climate change agreement should include actions on deforestation and forest degradation within the wider context of sustainable forest management.” It also suggests that: funding should be provided from various public and private sources including those mobilized through carbon trading; international action is urgently required to support developing countries in building capacity and preparing for forest carbon programmes; and negotiations on REDD and its financing have to be based on the broader and comprehensive framework of sustainable forest management.

Policy Brief 16, titled “Forests: the Green and REDD of Climate Change,” suggests that financial resources expected to be allocated to forests for climate change programmes, including through REDD, should be mutually supportive of financing sustainable forest management. It suggests that extensive capacity building and training activities should be developed “to enhance the capacity of developing countries for transparent, inclusive and accountable forest governance.” It also highlights monitoring, reporting and verification to enable countries to apply methodologies for estimating and monitoring carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under REDD.

UNEP Announces the 2009 Champions of the Earth
UNEP press release.
Erik Solheim (Norwegian Environment Minister) and Kevin Conrad (of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations) are among the winners.

Erik Solheim said: “This award recognizes the need for policy leadership and concerted action on environment and development, with forests as a case in point. 17.4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from forest activities. It is therefore crucial that countries agree to include reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in a new global climate regime. This will help us keep within the 2 degrees target, thereby avoiding the most dangerous effects of climate change.”
[ . . . ]
Kevin Conrad said: “Beginning today, we are obligated to catalyze a new ‘Environmental Age’ to safeguard our future. Valuing the ecosystem services of tropical rainforests is a necessary first step. To take root, however, we will require more hard-headed economics and less soft-headed tree-hugging!”

Indigenous people serve as guardians of forest carbon, must be involved in climate solutions
Report on a press conference organised by The Nature Conservancy “in connection with” the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change in Alaska.

Johnson Cerda, a leader of the Quichua community in Ecuador and advisor for Conservation International’s Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program, agreed that indigenous communities have so far had a limited role in helping shape climate policy.

“Participation is the key element. We cannot only go there as observers. We have knowledge in conservation and based on that knowledge we should participate in these talks.”

Cerda said that reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), a proposed mechanism for compensating countries for protecting forests, could be a powerful tool for indigenous communities to protect themselves against climate impacts, but only if the rights of forest people were recognized.

“In REDD, there must be recognition of local and Indigenous knowledge,” Cerda said. “Why under REDD should forests be recognized and not the people have lived there for generations?”

23 April 2009
Indigenous leaders get assurances on forestry use, management
By Clifford Stanley, Guyana Chronicle.
Guyana’s Commissioner of Forest, James Singh, promises Amerindian leaders that “their communities will be allowed every possible opportunity make inputs on discussions about how the forests are managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

The REDD Secretariat will involve input and collaboration from agencies such as indigenous communities and their leaders and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and the National Climate Committee (NCC), members of which are indigenous peoples and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including other such indigenous groupings,” he explained.

Singh said the function of those agencies, together with the REDD Secretariat and the Government of Guyana will be to discuss, plan and implement on a national basis.

UNFF8 Highlights
Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
Report on the 8th session of the UN Forum on Forests in New York.

CLIMATE CHANGE: The EU called for further development of indicators and suggested joint activities with UNFCCC. The AFRICAN GROUP called for adequate and predictable funding and technology transfer, in particular for energy production. The US and NEW ZEALAND stressed the importance of science and research, and regional processes such as the Montreal Process. CHINA stressed technology transfer, and asked how UNFF should take into account the outcome of UNFCCC COP 15 on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

NIGER cautioned against excluding low forest cover countries (LFCCs) from REDD. CHILE called for mechanisms for developing countries to incorporate emissions reductions in their sustainable development plans. BRAZIL stressed that deforestation needs to be addressed as a socio-economic process. URUGUAY highlighted methodological and regulatory problems in implementing afforestation and reforestation programmes. LEBANON requested text on the causes of forest fires.

The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC called for transboundary cooperation in implementing reforestation programmes. NEW ZEALAND emphasized cross-sectoral links, in particular with agriculture. NEPAL noted the vulnerability of alpine ecosystems and impacts of glacier retreat on water availability. PAPUA NEW GUINEA proposed addressing links between SFM and carbon trade.

‘REDD’ is Part of the New Green In Run-up to Copenhagen Conference
By Mark Schrope, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media.
Article giving a broad overview of REDD.

In stark contrast to the effective shunning of REDD in Kyoto, by the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, the first major step toward establishing a Kyoto successor, REDD had become a major focus despite remaining concerns. Not surprisingly, money has been the simple motivator for this dramatic shift. Estimating the cost per ton of carbon emissions prevented for REDD for a cap and trade system is challenging, but there nonetheless is general agreement that REDD can be one of the least expensive options. At a more basic level, as various nations have worked to reduce emissions since Kyoto, it has become increasingly clear that serious atmospheric greenhouse gas reductions demands using every tool available.

Fires make climate change worse – report
By Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters.
In research published in Science scientists report that fires spur climate change.

Smoke particles sent into the atmosphere by fires inhibit rainfall, which makes the land drier and encourages more fires to start, said study co-author Jennifer Balch of the University of Santa Barbara in California.

On a global scale, burning releases vast amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, making fires more likely in a warming world, Balch said in a video news briefing.

The report’s authors estimate that greenhouse emissions from the world’s fires equal about 50 percent of emissions that come from the burning of fossil fuels.

24 April 2009
Putting Bonn into perspective
By Andrei Marcu, Carbon Finance.
“Andrei Marcu is senior advisor, climate & emissions trading Canada at Bennett Jones, a Canadian law firm. Between 1999 and 2008, he was the president of the International Emissions Trading Association and serves on the Board of IETA and as chair of the Climate Change Committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He attended the Bonn meetings as a negotiator for Panama.”

We are entering a new world of NAMAs and REDD and sectoral trading, a world where the EU and its trading scheme will not be the only game in town and neither will the CDM, but where market mechanisms are being promoted by many as part of the solution – despite the wider questioning of markets in general.

100 questions to conserve global biodiversity
By Natural Environment Research Council, Checkbiotech.
Conservation experts from 24 organisations, including WWF, Conservation International and Birdlife International have drawn up 100 scientific questions that, if answered, would help conserve biodiversity. Two questions mention REDD:

42. Under what circumstances can afforestation, reforestation and reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) achieve benefits for biodiversity conservation, reduced emissions, and sustainable livelihoods?

43. How do different forms of forest governance influence biodiversity conservation outcomes and the implementation of REDD

Can “Sustainable” Palm Oil Slow Deforestation?
By Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute.
Third and final part of a Worldwatch series on palm oil development in Indonesia.

The Nature Conservancy, one of several conservation groups exploring the use of REDD, predicts that an international carbon price of roughly $6 per ton would make conserving Indonesia’s forests economically competitive with oil palm development.

“The strategy is to direct oil palm to areas already degraded,” said Greg Fishbein, director of the group’s conservation finance division. “The benefit of REDD is that you show up with a bunch of money.”
[ . . . ]
The carbon market offers the potential to expand RSPO criteria to a larger share of oil palm plantations. But the success of the REDD approach depends on how the funding, which is expected to be significant, would be allocated.

“If REDD is spent providing for jobs in old, deforested landscapes, it might be effective,” [Tim] Killeen [of Conservation International] said. “If REDD is spent by NGOs or consultants or governments on silly things that are not investments in productivity [and] not investments in people, [then] people will still cut down the forest.”

25 April 2009
Norway a leader in fighting climate change
By Didrik Tonseth, Korea Herald.
Article by the Norwegian ambassador to Korea (North and South).

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced Norway’s intention to fight deforestation at the 2007 Bali conference. Norway now contributes more than $460 million a year to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). These funds are earmarked to helping developing countries conserve their rainforests. The rainforest initiative is also designed to support national development processes and to maintain biodiversity and sustainable development.

Norway’s main goal is for REDD-type projects to be included in the new climate regime to be adopted in Copenhagen. Currently, forest planting is the only forest-related measure covered by the Kyoto Protocol. A REDD regime should result in measurable, reportable and verifiable emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

REDD should not only be considered a “Norwegian project.” My hope is that the rainforest initiative may encourage other industrialized nations to design their own REDD projects, which can help to achieve sustainable, low-carbon growth in developing countries.

Indigenous Peoples from around the World Outraged at the Rapid Escalation of Climate Change and Denounced False Solutions
Global Justice Ecology Project.
Press release from the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change.

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network‘s Executive Director, commented, “We want real solutions to climate chaos and not the false solutions like forest carbon offsets and other market based mechanisms that will benefit only those who are making money on those outrageous schemes ” He added, “For example one the solutions to mitigate climate change is an initiative by the World Bank to protect forests in developing countries through a carbon market regime called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation or REDD.” He concluded, “Don’t be fooled, REDD does nothing to address the underlying drivers of deforestation.”

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