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REDD in the news: 4-10 May 2009

Australia’s decision to delay its emissions trading scheme dominated the climate news this week.

A statement from the EU-Japan summit “recognised the necessity of early actions on REDD”. UNFCCC has received several submissions for consideration at the upcoming Bonn meeting. Indonesia’s REDD rules need clarification, according to experts interviewed by Reuters. A new film, “The Burning Season”, features Dorjee Sun and the Ulu Masen project in Indonesia. New Zealand says it may endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

4 May 2009
A new target for reducing Australia’s carbon pollution
By Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change and Water, Press release.
Wong’s spin on Australia’s industry-friendly emissions trading scheme.

The Rudd Government has today committed to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution by 25 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 if the world agrees to an ambitious global deal to stabilise levels of CO2 equivalent at 450 parts per million or lower by mid century.

This new commitment follows extensive consultation with environment advocates on the best way to maximise Australia’s contribution to an ambitious outcome in international negotiations at Copenhagen this December.

If the world achieves this agreement, Australia will meet this 25 per cent target by harnessing the CPRS, the expanded Renewable Energy Target, and with substantial investment in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency and strategic investment in carbon capture and storage.

Up to 5 percentage points of this target could be met by purchasing international credits, such as avoided deforestation credits, using CPRS revenue no earlier than 2015.

Australia delays cap & trade, lifts 2020 target

The government says up to five percentage points of the 25 per cent target could be achieved through Government purchase of international offset credits, particularly REDD or avoided deforestation credits, using CPRS revenue from 2015.
[ . . . ]
The government will also increase free permit allocation by adding a “global recession buffer” in the early years. Industries eligible for 60 per cent of their permits issued free will receive a further 10 per cent, while energy intensive, trade exposed industries eligible for 90 per cent assistance will now receive an extra 5 per cent.

“We have listened to calls from the business community for a later, more gradual start to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and additional assistance to help manage the impacts of the global recession,” Rudd said.

The CPRS will still begin as originally scheduled in the forestry sector, where inclusion is on a voluntary basis. So reforestation activities can earn carbon credits for carbon stored from July 2010.

Joint Press Statement, 18th EU-Japan Summit, 4 May 2009, Prague
President of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, chaired the Summit “The European Union – Japan” on 4 May 2009.

Recognising the importance of reducing emissions of GHGs from sources and enhancing removals of GHGs by sinks, Summit leaders also recalled the importance of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing countries (REDD). The developing countries would be rewarded for emission reductions achieved by actions to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Summit leaders recognised the necessity of early actions on REDD and supported its inclusion in the framework beyond 2012, acknowledging the need for appropriate financial mechanisms to support developing countries in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and halting global forest loss. In this context, Summit leaders expressed particular concern for tropical deforestation.

Australia delays carbon emissions limits
By Peter Smith, Financial Times.

Australia will delay the introduction of its proposed emissions trading scheme by one year until mid-2011, bowing to industry demands for more relief amid a recession.

Australia delays emissions trading
By Amy Coopers, The Age.

Rudd pushed back the trading scheme start date and said a one-year fixed-price period for carbon pollution permits would apply until July 2012 to assist businesses hit hard by the credit crunch.

Rudd said that during the fixed-price phase, an unlimited number of permits would be issued to eligible companies at a price of 10 US dollars (seven US) per tonne.

He also said a “global recession buffer” would be provided for emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries, extending their pollution allowances for a “finite period”.

5 May 2009
Australia delays carbon trading scheme
The Guardian.
The recession is to blame, says prime minister Kevin Rudd. Nothing to do with industry lobbying, then.

“The worst global recession since the Great Depression means we must adapt our climate change measures but not abandon them,” Rudd said.

6 May 2009
Cows, Cars, and Politics: Environmental Finance in Brazil
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace.
Interview with Environmental Economist Carlos Eduardo Young of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s really amazing to get…the governors of the Brazilian Amazon, which represents more than half of the Brazilian territory, together with the ministry of the environment, to discuss inside a Katoomba Meeting for the first time a specific instrument for protecting the forest, which is REDD,” he added in a wide-ranging half-hour interview that covered everything from the structure of Brazil’s federation, the importance of global climate change laws to the Brazilian economy, and the adaptation of flexible mechanisms to biodiversity.

7 May 2009
Australia delay may stunt global carbon trading growth
By Michael Szabo, Reuters.

“It would have been the first functioning market of significant size outside Europe, so this will affect the overall momentum (of emissions trading) and in turn investor confidence,” said Emmanuel Fages, a carbon market analyst at France’s Societe Generale/orbeo.
[ . . . ]
[Australian Prime Minister, Kevin] Rudd, who had previously called any delay in cap-and-trade “reckless and irresponsible”, now said he believes his new plan is the most “sensible, rational, balanced response to a fundamental change in economic circumstances.”

UNFCCC Secretariat Receives AWG-LCA 6 Submissions
The UNFCCC has received submissions from parties for consideration at the AWG-LCA meeting in Bonn, 1.12 June 2009.

The submissions are: negotiating text for consideration from the US, Lesotho, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and the Czech Republic, on behalf on the European Community; an article for the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD)+ Mechanism from Papua New Guinea; impact of response measures from New Zealand; further proposals related to the contents of the final resolution of 15th session of Conference of Parties from Uzbekistan; coverage of greenhouse gases from Japan; submissions on nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMA), adaptation, international shipping and REDD from Norway; and ideas and proposals on the elements of paragraph 1 on the Bali Action Plan from Belarus.

A Submission on information relating to possible quantified emissions limitation and reduction objectives has also been received from Australia, Belarus, Canada, the European Community and its member States, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine. Panama, Paraguay and El Salvador have submitted a proposal for the preamble, shared vision mitigation, adaptation, technology, finance and REDD.

8 May 2009
Indonesia forest CO2 rules need finance clarity: experts
By David Fogarty, Reuters.
On 1 May 2009, Indonesia’s forestry ministery signed the regulations government the country’s REDD plans.

“What is clear is who can do a REDD project and where a REDD project can be carried out — who the REDD proponents are, who can be the national and international entities,” Jakarta-based lawyer Luke Devine told Reuters Friday.

“It’s a bit like a CDM scheme framework of pairing a national project developer with an international carbon buyer,” said Devine, head of the climate change practice at Baker & McKenzie member firm Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners.

The New Zealand Government says it may endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Radio New Zealand News.

Justice Minister Simon Power made the statement while defending New Zealand’s human rights record at a UN meeting in Geneva.

Mr Power told the meeting that Prime Minister John Key is keen to review the declaration, as long as New Zealand’s current framework for indigenous rights cannot be compromised.

The UN Human Rights Council is due to issue its findings on New Zealand’s human rights record on Monday.

New Zealand was one of only four countries that refused to sign the declaration in 2007.

Can carbon trading save Indonesia’s forests?
By Brett Israel, scienceline.
Article about the launch of Cathy Henkel’s film “The Burning Season” which was launched at this year’s Tribeca Flim Festival (22 April to 3 May 2009).

Carbon trading is one way to protect forests and help the locals earn a living, explained Henkel. As governments begin to put carbon emission limits on factories, those that exceed these limits must pay to offset their emissions, for example, by planting one tree for every two pounds of carbon emitted, or by protecting carbon-soaking forests, like those in Indonesia. If a large percentage of the payments go to the locals that live in the forests, then they have a financial incentive to not burn down their trees.

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