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REDD in the news: 18-24 May 2009

REDD in the news: 18-24 May 2009

Controversy about REDD in Indonesia (again) this week. Greenpeace criticised the government’s decree on REDD. Reuters reported that it will be at least six months before investors know the tax rules on REDD.

Forest Watch Indonesia argued that forest land tenure will be the main problem in implementing REDD in Indonesia. APP announced plans to convert the buffer zone of a national park to industrial tree plantations.

In the USA, the Waxman-Markey bill was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Gar Lipow criticised the bill on Grist. A coalition of NGOs, including Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Action Network released a statement describing it as a “missed opportunity” which will benefit Big Business. Meanwhile several other US NGOs, including Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy formed a coalition with Big Business.

18 May 2009
Missing strategy from Minister and GFC
By Mahadeo Kowlessar, letter to Kaieteur News.
Detailed letter about the timber industry in Guyana and the government’s failure to regulate it.

The Minister should also clarify his concern about low output per ha. Higher output could be interpreted by loggers as further encouragement to over-harvest preferred timbers. The higher output should be qualified by reference to species-specific yield limits and post-harvest minimum stocking (as required by section 2.3 on page 8 of the GFC Code of Practice) and minimum inter-stump distance of 10 metres (section 5.1.3 on page 42 of the Code). Continued failure to do so will signal to those who might consider REDD (carbon management) funding for Guyana that the GFC continues to lack strategic competence and is wasteful of the standing forest in Guyana.

Norway to cooperate with Indonesia on energy and climate: Envoy
By Veeramalla Anjaiah, Jakarta Post.
Interview with Norway’s new Ambassador to Indonesia, Eivind S. Homme. Mentions oil deals between StatoilHydro and PT Pertamina. StatoilHydro has stakes in two oil and gas blocks in the Makassar Strait under production sharing contracts.

To address climate issues Norway and Indonesia recently participated in a bilateral energy dialogue in Oslo.

“Norway is financing the UN REDD program, one of the pilot projects on climate change, in Indonesia,” Homme said.

The Norwegian government will appoint a new counselor to its embassy in Jakarta to deal specifically with climate and forestry issues.

20 May 2009
NGO Job Vacancy: Transparency International – Researcher
Job advert at Transparency International.
Two research posts advertised for Transparency International’s Forest Governance Integrity (FGI) Programme.

The programme activities of a regional FGI Centre in Indonesia and FGI Chapters in China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the areas of research, analysis, monitoring, awareness-raising and advocacy aim to complement all the existing efforts that contribute to curbing corruption and improving forest law enforcement and governance.

The outcomes of FGI programme will provide added value for achieving the expected outcomes of avoided deforestation (REDD).

Indonesia says forest-CO2 revenue rules months away
By Sunanda Creagh, Reuters.
Earlier this month, Indonesia became the first country to enact regulations on REDD investments. A finance ministry official says it will be at least six months before investors learn “what portion of revenue will be shared with the Indonesian government”.

“We are still considering what kind of tax should be implemented on the carbon credits,” Noeroso L. Wahyudi, a senior research officer from the Finance Ministry.

“We are not sure how long it will take because it’s not just the Finance Ministry but also the Forestry Department that is writing the rules. It could be possible within six months or possibly a bit longer.”

Wahyudi said the government had not decided whether carbon credit revenue would be taxed as income or as a commodity, or if it would be taxed at all.
[ . . . ]
A forestry ministry spokesman did not return calls.

Green groups, corporations call for forest conservation to counter global warming
The Big NGO Sell Out continues in the USA. Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Mercy Corp, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Wildlife Conservation Society and the Woods Hole Research Center get into bed with American Electric Power, Duke Energy, El Paso Corporation, Marriot International, PG&E Corporation and the Walt Disney Company. The NGOs appear to have forgotten that reducing emissions is also critical to solving climate change.

“To prevent the most dangerous impacts of climate change, we must conserve the world’s tropical forests,” said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International.
[ . . . ]
“Strong protections for tropical forests are critical to solving climate change,” added Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.

21 May 2009

Missed Opportunity as Climate Bill Moves out of House Committee
Friends of the Earth et al, Press release.
A group of US NGOs released a statement in response to the passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

As passed through the Energy & Commerce Committee, the American Clean Energy and Security Act sets targets for reducing pollution that are far weaker than science says is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. The targets are far less ambitious than what is achievable with already existing technology. They are further undermined by massive loopholes that could allow the most polluting industries to avoid real emission reductions until 2027. Rather than provide relief and support to consumers, the bill showers polluting industries with hundreds of billions of dollars in free allowances and direct subsidies that will slow renewable energy development and lock in a new generation of dirty coal-fired power plants.

Misunderstanding the Value of Forest Carbon
By Dave Sag, Carbon Footprints.
Dave Sag is a founder and Executive Director of Carbon Planet, a “global carbon management company”. In this blog post Sag disagrees with Greenpeace’s report which states that trading forest carbon would crash carbon markets. In any case, Sag argues, a low carbon price doesn’t matter.

The whole point of the carbon trading scheme is a fixed amount of emissions reduction at the lowest possible price. Complaining that REDD will collapse the price of carbon firstly underestimates the complexity of creating REDD credits, and secondly misses the whole point of emissions trading. The world does not have the luxury of waiting for new energy sources to be built, we have to cut emissions now as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Of course I am not advocating cesation [sic] of new energy projects, and indeed under the CDM and Gold Standard VER schemes emissions are being reduced via investments in new technology, and that’s a very good thing. But the fastest road to global emissions reduction is the preservation of what remains of the world’s forests; especially tropical rainforests.

Forest-carbon scheme gaining favour in climate talks
By David Fogarty, Reuters.
Interview with Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat.

De Boer was confident a broad outline of a REDD scheme would be agreed and said it did not make sense to work towards a Copenhagen agreement without it.

“Forest countries like Indonesia, where deforestation is taking place on a massive scale, are never going to be able to stop that deforestation unless they manage to offer poor people an economic alternative.

“People don’t cut down trees because they think trees are ugly. People cut down trees because there’s an economic advantage to doing that.”

REDD & biodiversity e-Newletter
The CBD Secretariat’s newsletter on biodiversity aspects in relation to REDD.

UN-REDD Programme: Engagement of Indigenous Peoples and Civil Society

There is wide recognition that REDD will succeed only with the full participation and ownership of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities. This is especially relevant at the local level, where land and other natural resource management decisions are ultimately made. The UN-REDD Programme engagement strategy for the full participation of Indigenous Peoples and Civil Society Organisations has been developed to guide national and international activities. The approach is driven by three basic principles: active representation, outreach and consultations, and the establishment of a CSO Advisory Group.

Waxman-Markey bill would do more for climate without cap-and-trade provision
By Gar Lipow, Grist.
Lipow points out the weaknesses of the Waxman-Markey bill.

The bill’s use of offsets is another disaster.
[ . . . ]
Offsets under Waxman-Markey are supposed to be permanent, but permanence in a dynamic system like a farm or forest is really hard to measure—especially with possibilities of fires, floods, storms, and pest damage. Because biological sequestration is a long-term process not subject to precise measurement it is unsuitable for inclusion in either trading or emissions taxing systems. Control has to be based on the sign and rough scale of long term changes.

Chile’s Infor and World Bank in climate change mitigation talks
The Chilean Government forestry research agency, Infor, recently held a meeting on climate change mitigation with forestry experts from the World Bank.

An Infor statement said that the main idea of the meeting was analyse the possibilities of promoting forestry initiatives for mitigating the impacts of climate change and the potential for the application of utilising in Chile the mechanisms under the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD Programme).
[ . . . ]
Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture is analysing the presentation of a project focused on reducing emissions involving avoided degradation in natural forests. A REDD mechanism would be able to facilitate the reduction in the environmental pressure that is on the country’s native forests and would also help to promote the sustainable management of the resources.

22 May 2009
RI ready for REDD application to cut carbon
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post.
Two days after Reuters reported the a forest ministry spokesman did not return calls, Nur Masripatin, a senior Forestry Ministry official dealing with REDD, speaks to the Jakarta Post.

Project developers are required to submit proposals to the Forestry Ministry for approval.

Nur said the ministry would set up a REDD commission to assess all project proposals within 14 days before the minister could approve or reject the projects.

“Project developers who secure licenses should start the REDD project within 90 days at the latest after the approval,” she said.

Govt needs to settle tenure problems over forested land
Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post.
Interview with Wirednro Sumargo of Forest Watch Indonesia.

The government should use the impetus of carbon trading from the forestry sector to settle the country’s long-standing forestry problems, mainly concerned with tenure over land and trees, to avoid conflicts once emission reduction from deforestation and degradation is included in the new climate change regime, an activist said.

Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) said the tenure of forested land would become the main problem for Indonesia in implementing the REDD mechanism.

“The crucial work now is how to settle tenure problems over land and forest if Indonesia wants to get the benefits from the REDD mechanism,” FWI coordinator for public campaigns and policy dialogue Wirendro Sumargo told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

FWI said local communities living around the forest would become the victims if there are no clear regulations on the tenure of forested land.

Further Rainforest Clearing by Asia Pulp and Paper Threatens Sumatra’s Endangered Species and Contributes to Climate Change
By Australian Orangutan Project, Press release.
APP is planning to convert part of the buffer zone of the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park to monoculture industrial tree plantations. “This protective barrier contains much of the landscape’s biodiversity, as well as being the exclusive habitat for 65 members of the Critically Endangered Sumatran Elephant.”

Due to the massive Carbon Storage potential of this area, and the significant level of emissions reductions available through decreased deforestation, the Australian Orangutan Project (AOP) and its partner organisations are developing a REDD project in these important buffer areas, currently proposed for deforestation.

At present, there is a submission to the Australian Government seeking support for the project. With the support of the provincial Forestry Department, the Indonesian Federal Government has recently indicated, in principle, support for the concept. In addition, the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape also meets all the requirements for a potential second, joint Australian-Indonesian, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Demonstration Project.

Government’s Green Concern is Money, Not Saving Forests: Greenpeace
Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe.
Greenpeace Indonesia criticises the government’s decree on REDD.

“It’s all about selling and buying carbon without even discussing how to reduce our own emissions,” said Bustar Maistar, a Greenpeace forest campaigner. “It fails to touch the substance of the issue.”

He said the Forestry Ministry’s decree on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation failed to mention any target for reducing emissions, let alone how to achieve its goal.

“There is no clear mechanism about how to reduce the emissions, for instance by halting logging or forest conversion,” he said. “The decree is still too premature to be born because it does not address emission issues.”
[ . . . ]
Meanwhile, Fitrian Ardiansyah, program director for climate and energy for WWF-Indonesia, said the decree was a good starting point because it included registration procedures for REDD.

Tropical forests of value to everyone
By Rawle Lucas, Stabroek News.
Rawle Lucas is a Guyanese Accountant and Assistant Vice President of the Lending Services Division.

This risk of losing control over its resources is real since the administration has already begun engaging the resources of Guyana without a full conceptualization of the impact of REDD on the economic development of Guyana and future Guyanese populations. Guyanese need to be aware that their forest is valuable both as a source of economic wealth and a means of staving off global warming. It is one of four tropical forests that possess a vast and desired capacity to provide stability to the global ecosystem

UN Climate Negotiations: analysis of latest positions
By Oscar Reyes, América Latina en Movimiento.
“A new global climate treaty is shaping up to have carbon trading at its centre, creating new loopholes to avoid cleaning up the climate,” writes Oscar Reyes of the Transnational Institute.

On deforestation, various countries make proposals for REDD plus.
[ . . . ]
The best of these positions is from Bolivia which argues for this to be directly funded rather than tied to the carbon market. It says:

“1. A fund based mechanism allows for equitable distribution of funds.
2. It will not allow for off-set mechanisms.
3. Is more likely to ensure environmental integrity.
4. Is able to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities as there is no transfer of rights of carbon ownership to the market.
5. Ensures sovereignty and national as well as local control over REDD-plus activities. Where the REDD plus activities must be framed under the national laws and policies and to not affect the national interests.
6. Forest conservation can be funded, including adaptation activities related to forests.”

23 May 2009
Permanent Forum, Indigenous Groups, seek change in United Nations working methods to turn their concerns into driving force behind, not just object of, strategies
7th Space.
Report of a day-long meeting between indigenous representatives and officials from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

To a question on the UN-REDD programme, [Eve Crowley, Deptuy Director,Gender Equity and Rural Employment Division, FAO] said FAO’s role was of a technical nature – in measurement, assessment reporting and verification work, helping to establish a baseline on the status of forests over the last 30 years; and in conducting a best practices study. FAO’s participation was also seen in the draft operational guidelines used to engage indigenous communities, which focused on three areas: representation, transparency and access to information, and participation and inclusion.

UNPFII, IEN & REDD: Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples & U.N. credibility
By Sandra Cuffe, The Dominion.
Report on the first week of the 8th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

Last year, the theme of the UNPFII was climate change. Despite vocal opposition from the vast majority of the participating indigenous delegates, a document produced by the Permanent Forum chairs included support for a World Bank market-oriented carbon-trading initiative called REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. When their voices of opposition and protest were not going to be immediately permitted to be heard, the indigenous caucus and in particular a vocal contingent from the Americas began a loud chorus: “!La palabra! !La palabra!…” [‘We want to speak!’]
[ . . . ]
During the first week of this year’s 8th session, the allotted time ran out for indigenous delegates to read their 3-minute statements regarding human rights. It seems unlikely that further time will be granted so that the many delegates who were further down on the list will have the chance to formally and vocally register their concerns. However, last year’s “revolt” has clearly not be forgotten.

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