REDD in the news: a round up of last week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). For those who can’t wait until Monday morning for last week’s REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated daily: “REDD in the news“.
Greenhouse Gas Management Institute, January 2010 | Many organizations are taking steps to better understand, manage, and track their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and several internationally acclaimed resources are available to specifically assist organizations with the essential step of preparing a GHG inventory. The important role for forests in GHG emissions management is widely recognized, but there are fewer resources to help organizations account for forest-related GHG emissions and removals in their GHG emission inventories. This course fills this need by providing comprehensive and detailed guidance on developing forest GHG inventories, which will help your organization.
By Chris Lang, WRM Bulletin, January 2010 | On 6 January 2010, Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesia’s Forestry Minister, revealed the government’s cunning plan for meeting its emissions target: 21 million hectares of “new forest”. “If the scenario described proceeds, if the planting proceeds, we can reach more than 26 percent,” Hasan told journalists in Jakarta. An area of 500,000 hectares is to be planted each year, at a cost of US$269 million. Of course, the 21 million hectares of “new forest” will not be forest at all. It will be plantations. That’s 20 million hectares of oil palm plantations, 10 million hectares of pulpwood plantations and 21 million hectares of carbon plantations. A total of 51 million hectares of proposed plantations.
WRM Bulletin 150, January 2010 | A briefing of the Indian organisation Campaign for Survival and Dignity reveals the key role played by the Indian government in pushing “REDD plus” at the expense of forest dwellers: “In fact, the government of India was one of a few countries who objected to including any binding requirement that people’s rights should be respected in the negotiating text. India has also been one of the only countries in the world pushing for inclusion of plantation activities in carbon trading under REDD (this is what makes it “REDD plus”).” According to the group, the government of India wants to include afforestation and plantation programmes in REDD plus, so that they are eligible for receiving money, and expects to earn “carbon credits” on the basis of carbon supposedly stored in forests. They say that “both these points are mentioned in the draft negotiating text of December 15th.
25 January 2010
Stabroek News, 25 January 2010 | Mr Lumumba and his business partner Mr Grantley Walrond importuned the President to grant them a mining licence for a potentially gold-rich property along the Mariwa River. Mr Lumumba’s McNeal Enterprises had been awarded a prospecting licence for this area since 1991 but a subsequent exploration agreement on the property with Mr Walrond’s Roraima Mining Company (RMC) failed to yield results and unpaid rentals led to a revocation of the permit. The property was then auctioned to Messrs Alphonso and Baboolall for $80M but this deal was challenged by RMC and never went through. It was in this state that Messrs Lumumba and Walrond subsequently petitioned the President last year for a mining permit and this was duly approved by President Jagdeo. . . Government’s MOU with the Kingdom of Norway for the US$250M forest protection deal places great stock on transparency and fairness in extractive industries. This deal would fall afoul of these rules right away.
baiganchoka.com, 25 January 2010 | Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud of Guyana needs to make public the actual reasons why he falsely accused Janet Bulkan of reviewing Guyana’s RPP and did not object to Suriname territorial map in Washington. World Bank sent Baiganchoka.com the list of participants at the meeting and janet Bulkan’s name was not on the list.
mongabay.com, 25 January 2010 | A new project aims to increase transparency in the forestry sector, an area long plagued by corruption and mismanagement. The Forest Sector Transparency Report Card, launched by Global Witness, an environmental NGO, assesses 70 transparency indicators, evaluating the public availability of land use maps, logging contracts, and other forestry-related information in Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia and Peru. The effort will eventually be expanded to other countries. The report card found forest sector transparency in the four countries to be “generally poor”, with the public often kept in the dark about logging and mining projects. It warns that lack of transparency in the sector could cause the U.N. REDD mechanism, a climate change mitigation scheme that would pay tropical countries to protect their forests, to founder. [The Forest Transparency Report is available here: http://bit.ly/cJIWSO]
By Michael Szabo, Reuters, 25 January 2010 | European carbon emissions from fossil fuels will rise by 5.9 percent this year as the economy recovers, but carbon prices will stay decoupled from short-term fundamentals, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said on Monday. The bank said due to the economic slowdown, which cut greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and industrial companies by 9.5 percent, the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme will see a surplus of 166 million tonnes of carbon permits in its second phase, or 33.2 million permits annually between 2008-2012.
By Laurie Goering, Reuters AlertNet, 25 January 2010 | Ensuring that forests and the carbon they store are protected, and that the people who live in them benefit from the protection programmes, has just got more complicated. This is the result of an unusual last-minute climate change accord at Copenhagen that recognised forest protection as key to reducing global carbon emissions but provided little guidance on how to go about it, according to experts at Forests, Governance and Climate Change, a conference held at Chatham House on Friday. . . . Liberia, for instance, recently rejected a proposal to put its remaining forests into a nascent REDD programme and has resumed logging, according to Philip Shearman, who heads a forest satellite monitoring program through the University of PNG. . . . . PNG similarly has said it plans to protect only inaccessible forests in the nation’s rugged mountain interior under REDD, while allowing logging in more accessible areas, Shearman said.
By David Niebauer, Cleantech Blog, 25 January 2010 | When a global market for carbon finally emerges, tropical forest offsets will be part of the mix. There are many many details still to be worked out, but the barriers no longer seem insurmountable. As methodologies are refined through use and stakeholder action, I believe forest offsets will come to be accepted carbon reduction instruments, as beneficial for the planet as offsets generated from other sources, such as conversions to renewable energy or less carbon-intensive industrial practices. At the end of the day, it is about living sustainably on the planet. And without the “lungs of the planet”, as the world’s tropical forests are often called, that goal will never be achieved.
ScienceDaily, 25 January 2010 | The simple formula we’ve learned in recent years — forests remove the greenhouse gas CO2 from the atmosphere; therefore forests prevent global warming — may not be quite as simple as we thought. Forests can directly absorb and retain heat, and, in at least one type of forest, these effects may be strong enough to cancel out a good part of the benefit in lowered CO2. This is a conclusion of a paper that will be published on January 22, in Science by scientists in the Weizmann Institute’s Faculty of Chemistry.
The Guardian, 25 January 2010 | The UK is one of the least forested countries in Europe. Although the amount of woodland cover has increased substantially since its nadir after the First World War, growth has slackened in recent years. The growing maturity of UK woodlands means that carbon sequestration is falling rapidly. An independent assessment commissioned by the Forestry Commission has proposed one way forward: a million new hectares devoted to woodland, generating a reduction of up to 15% of the UK emissions in 2050. . . . Is a million new woodland hectares possible? Easily. About 4m hectares are given over to rough pastureland in England alone. [R-M: the report is available here: [R-M: the report is available here: http://bit.ly/690hhy]
Brunei.fm, 25 January 2010 | Zimbabwe’s Forestry Commission is weighing the economic benefits of maintaining forests to qualify for investment under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, says the commission’s Information and Communication Manager, Abedinigo Marufu. He told New Ziana here over the weekend that the commission was still considering signing up to the facility, intended to promote projects that mitigate climate change. “Right now we are carrying out a cost-benefit analysis so that we can assess the benefits of the carbon credit scheme,” he added.
By Zafar Iqbal, Environment News Service, 25 January 2010 | Yousaf Butt, a timber worker in the Neelum Valley at the Line of Control in Kashmir, is worried about his job because of government plans to enforce a ban on the cutting of trees. Butt and his colleagues fear the decision will shut down operations of their employer, Azad Kashmir Logging and Saw Mills, AKLAS, a semi-government firm that extracts timber from Pakistani Kashmir and supplies the wood to companies across Pakistan. “Jungle is everything for us. My wife brings fodder and fuel wood and children collect mushrooms from nearby forest,” says Butt. He is not aware of the environmental consequences of tree felling in his area, nor do his bosses consider the great loss caused by the depletion of forests.
26 January 2010
Guyana Chronicle, 26 January 2010 | The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (Taamog) fully supports the Government’s of Guyana position on the removal of Dr Janet Bulkan from the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Taamog is convinced that Dr Bulkan cannot be a fair assessor on the Panel because of her spate of criticisms against Guyana’s Forestry Sector, the Guyana Forestry Commission, (GFC) and its officials, as well as the Minister with responsibility for the Forestry Sector and the President of Guyana whom she accuses of carrying out clandestine activities.
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 26 January 2010 | In “THE END OF THE HINTERLAND: Forests, Conflict and Climate Change”, the Washington-based Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) warns that without clear rules to address land tenure and forests rights issues, REDD could increase conflict by boosting the perceived value of forest land. Forest communities — which have much to gain under a well-designed and well-implemented mechanism — are particularly at risk. “Forest lands are booming in value for the production of food, fuel, fiber and now carbon,” write the authors of the report. “While the era of the hinterland is ending, the future of forest areas is not yet clear. There will be unparalleled national and global attention and investment in forests in 2010—but who will drive the agenda and who will make the decisions?”
baiganchoka.com, 26 January 2010 | In a press release late 1/25/2010 the World Bank decided to terminate its Technical Advisory Panel(TAP) under its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility division. . . . While i find this decision by the world Bank to be very disturbing, the release below clearly specifies that services from the entire TAP panel will no longer be necessary, hence, Bulkan was not singled out neither did the move come in response to the Agriculture Minister’s letter to the bank.
Yeang Donal, 26 January 2010 | Community Forestry Carbon Offset is the first REDD pilot project that involving 13 community forestry sites located in the Northwestern part of Oddar Meanchey province. The area was covered with 75% of evergreen, semi-evergreen (mix deciduous) and deciduous forest types but due to demand for timber and agricultural and settlement land, forest cover has declined at an average rate of 2.1% per annum. Because of the high deforestation rate, the area was selected for REDD pilot project. This Community Forestry Carbon Offset project was launched in 2008 by Forestry Administration with the collaboration of Community Forestry International (CFI), PACT Cambodia and Terra Global Capital.
By Christoph Seidler, Spiegel Online, 26 January 2010 | But a run on the forest-protection projects could destroy the CO2 trading systems that are already operating in places like Europe. A flood of cheap emissions certificates from REDD projects could drive the price of emitting greenhouse gases way down. White and his colleagues fear that, as long as there are no uniform rules for the projects, the downpour of REDD-related funding might have problematic consequences. For example, they warn that the measures might lead to more corruption and to indigenous populations being deprived of their rights. For example, in the worst-case scenario, they fear that REDD funds could end up in the coffers of lumber companies that have managed to get their hands on forest licenses beforehand in some sort of shady way.
By Tom Goldtooth, ecosocialism canada, 26 January 2010 | We are highly suspicious of the tactics of the U.S. obstructing a Kyoto Protocol agreement, while at the same time aggressively pushing a forest carbon offset agreement called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. REDD and other carbon market initiatives are the main ingredients of climate mitigation. These forest carbon offset regimes have no safeguards to protect the land and forest rights of Indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities within developing countries. If implemented these initiatives could result in land grabs and exploitation of the forest rights of local communities.
By Ruth Williams, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 January 2010 | When Melbourne company Greenfleet won the right to display the Federal Government’s Greenhouse Friendly logo in early 2008, the non-profit tree-planting organisation was congratulated by the Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong. . . . But a year after Greenfleet was accredited, Senator Wong announced that the Greenhouse Friendly program would be dumped. It would be superseded by the Government’s centrepiece green policy, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and replaced by a new national carbon offset standard.
27 January 2010
Stabroek News letters, 27 January 2010 | The following letter was sent to Benoit Bosquet, Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist at the World Bank, with appendices and copied widely to representatives working at governmental, non-governmental and international levels. We are writing to request an explanation for the decision taken by the World Bank to terminate the contract of Dr Janette Bulkan as a member of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) for Suriname in the Forest Carbon Partner-ship Facility. Coming as it did at the end of December 2009, this decision appears to have been precipitated by the demand of the Government of Guyana that Dr Bulkan be removed from the roster of TAP experts on the ground of her alleged incompetence and lack of patriotism in relation to Guyana. We find this claim deeply concerning, unwarranted and unsubstantiated.
By E. Hugus, capenews.com, 27 January 2010 | Tracy Johns is a research associate and policy advisor at the Woods Hole Research Center . . . While her focus is on the global carbon credit market, provisions in the Waxman-Markey bill– passed last June by the House of Representatives– allow companies to purchase carbon “0ffsets” for their emissions by contibuting to reforestation efforts or rainforest conservation, both in the US and abroad, Ms. Johns said. This initiative could make the US the largest carbon trading market in the world, she added, since the European Union does not allow REDD credits. “As the legislative process moves forward, most of the bills being discussed include pretty strong pieces that wold allow a REDD to happen,” she said. “But the numbers President Obama has announced are far below our goals.”
Climate-L.org, 27 January 2010 | The Fourth Policy Board meeting of the UN-REDD Programme will include a field visit, which will provide an opportunity to explore current issues, challenges and concerns about REDD+ (reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, including conservation, sustainable forest management (SFM) and stock enhancement). Location: Nairobi, Kenya. 17-19 March 2010.
UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, Press Release, 27 January 2010 | A new round of offshore licensing will give a further boost to the UK’s offshore oil and gas industries, Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Hunt said today. Lord Hunt said: “This record-breaking 26th Round includes areas of the Continental Shelf not as yet explored, and will provide a new boost to activity in the basin. “The round will help to secure the future of the UK’s oil and gas industry which still provides three quarters of our energy needs and some 350,000 jobs. “Estimates suggest there are still around 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or possibly more, to be produced, and this latest licensing round will help ensure we realise this potential. “As we make the transition to a low carbon future, we must ensure we have secure energy supplies by making the best use of our indigenous energy resources in a safe and environmentally sound way.”
28 January 2010
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 28 January 2010 | Analysts in Europe and the United States are using high resolution satellite imagery to identify and track shipments of timber illegally logged from rainforest parks in Madagascar. The images could be used to help prosecute traders involved in trafficking and put pressure on companies using rosewood sourced from Madagascar.
carbontrader blog, 28 January 2010 | Nedbank announced today that its partnership with Wildlife Works Inc. to make available to the international market African carbon credits has proved extremely successful. The demand for carbon credits from the international business community is extremely strong.
In November 2009, Wildlife Works Inc. and Nedbank entered into a business arrangement whereby Nedbank acquired carbon credits from Wildlife Works Inc. for on-sale to the international and South African business community. More than 2,5 million tonnes of carbon was made available through the avoided deforestation of the Kasigau Corridor guaranteed until 2026.
NPR, 28 January 2010 | Veteran journalist Mark Schapiro has covered environmental and international stories for over 20 years. Today he joins Fresh Air to talk about the cap and trade carbon economy, how it works in Europe, and why the financial industry embraces it.
carbonpositive.net, 28 January 2010 | A forest carbon developer has claimed the first validation of a reforestation project to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), using the opportunity to argue for what it sees as the critical role for forest planting in a sector where attention is turning very much to avoided deforestation, or REDD. Green Resources is currently developing two reforestation projects in Tanzania, one at Mapanda and Uchindele to the VCS, and another at Idete under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). It’s been involved in forest carbon investment in eastern and southern Africa since 1997.
29 January 2010
By Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, 29 January 2010 | At least 20 percent of revenue from the forest carbon scheme should be transferred to indigenous people who play crucial roles in protecting the forest to avoid emission leakages, a minister said. State Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said that much revenue from the carbon trade was needed to ensure the sustainability of emission reduction in tackling climate change. “Giving indigenous people a fair share also acknowledges their rights,” Gusti said. . . . AMAN secretary-general Abdon Nababan welcomed Gusti’s statement. “But our main concern is not on the percentage of revenue. We want the government to acknowledge the rights of indigenous people,” Abdon told The Jakarta Post.
RFF Library Blog, 29 January 2010 | Deforestation releases substantial amounts of carbon dioxide, about 17% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Legislation has been proposed for U.S. targets to reduce GHG emissions. The two primary bills, H.R. 2454 and S. 1733, include provisions that would reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; these activities are referred to as REDD. Both bills would use allowances to build capacity in developing countries and supplement U.S. emissions reductions; both would allow offsets for U.S. industries; and both contain a reserve to stabilize carbon prices. The bills are generally similar on allowances for REDD activities, but significant differences exist. [R-M: Report available here: http://bit.ly/cX7SEu]
30 January 2010
Stabroek News, 30 January 2010 | “We have complied with all of the conditions for last year. The only outstanding thing now is the settlement of the trust fund mechanism through which the money will flow to Guyana,” President Bharrat Jagdeo told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. . . . However, before any money is disbursed Guyana was to have done several things including taking formal steps to establish independent forest monitoring by a credible, independent entity. Additionally, Guyana had to show evidence of entering a formal dialogue with the European Union with the intent of joining its Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) processes towards a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Government also has to show evidence of its decision to enter a formal dialogue with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) or an alternative mechanism agreed by Guyana and Norway to further the same aim as EITI. There were other requirements.
The Jakarta Post, 30 January 2010 | A team from the Center for East Asia Cooperation Studies (CEACoS) at the University of Indonesia, uncovered the military’s many roles in the illicit business from coordinating to monitoring and investing. The research covers the period between 1999 and 2006 in East Kalimantan, where illegal logging practices have been reportedly rampant. “[The military’s involvement in this practice] was structural; low-ranked soldiers to territorial commanders received a share,” CEACoS executive director Tirta N. Mursitama, head researcher, told the The Jakarta Post.
31 January 2010
Dr. Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 31 January 2010 | In this week’s column I shall wrap up the discussion over the past few weeks of the key lessons that should be learnt from the recent Copenhagen climate summit. This will lead into a discussion of carbon trading, carbon finance, offsetting and related matters, which lie at the heart of the LCDS and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Guyana and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway that I am in the process of evaluating.