This week’s round up of the last seven days’ 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 for last week’s REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated daily: “REDD in the news“.
A GreenPower Conferences Event, 10-11 June 2010 | Despite recent uncertainty, the forest carbon market has grown nearly fivefold since 2006. The market was worth million in the first half of 2009, .1 million in 2008, after rising to .5 million a year before and from .6 million in 2006, according to Ecosystem Marketplace. “At the end of 2009, the market for forest carbon stands in an uncertain position on the verge of potentially enormous growth,” the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2009 report said. “Amidst this scene of opportunity and risk, investors are still eyeing forest carbon, though many are waiting on more definite regulatory signals before taking a financial leap.”
1 February 2010
By Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, 1 February 2010 | Indonesia has lodged an official report on its emission reduction target to the UN on Sunday as doubts remain over the possibility of countries to reach an ambitious deal this year. In its seven-page report, Indonesia reaffirmed its pledge to cut emissions by 26 percent from current levels by 2020 to combat climate change. “We have met the deadline and confirmed our target in the report to the UN,” head of the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI), Rachmat Witoelar, told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. “Everything we promised in the report will be carried out.”
Climate-L.org, 1 February 2010 | Palm oil plantations, while highly lucrative economically, have replaced large swaths of tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia. The authors, Lian Pin Koh and Rhett A. Butler, note that since REDD carbon credits are currently limited to voluntary markets, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange, they are unlikely to compete financially with oil palm on most types of land. The authors add that if REDD is recognized as a legitimate activity for reducing carbon emissions, REDD credits would be compensated at higher prices through either a UN-sanctioned market mechanism or a global fund, potentially making forest protection an economically competitive land-use option.
xfm95.1, 1 February 2010 | The European Delegation in Ghana is working with the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources to curb the importation of illegally logged timber from the country to the European market. As a first step in this direction, the Government of Ghana and the European Union in November 2009, signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement on the export of timber and wood products from Ghana to the EU under a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade agreement.
By David Fogarty and Rob Taylor, Reuters, 1 February 2010 | Reviled by conservatives and rejected by swing voting senators, Australia’s plan for the world’s most comprehensive emissions scheme appears dead in 2010, hurting investment plans for businesses wanting carbon clarity. Investors and carbon traders say they face another year of uncertainty after political opponents last year twice blocked the laws in the Senate. A disappointing outcome from the Copenhagen climate talks and a stalled climate bill in the U.S. Senate have further dampened hopes of a breakthrough this year, they say. On Tuesday, the Australian government, facing re-election this year, will re-introduce its amended package of carbon trading laws into the upper house for a third go at passage.
By Stacy Feldman, 1 February 2010 | On the island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, 20,000 acres of deforested land are supposedly being converted to a plantation with millions of super carbon-absorbing trees. The company behind the scheme, Eco2 Forests, has been pitching its plan as a moneymaker for investors, with cash coming in almost immediately through the selling of carbon credits for the CO2 those trees would one day sequester. It’s already claiming conspicuous success in sprouting its special “Kiri” tree in faraway places. . . . The biggest announcement, though, was a “multi-million dollar carbon credit deal” with a Colorado company, which appears from public records and interviews to be operated by executives from Eco2. That connection raises serious questions about both firms — and more generally, of the transparency in the nascent forestry carbon market.
CNNMoney.com, 1 February 2010 | ECO2 Forests Inc., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire controlling interest in certain projects of Forest Guard Inc., a privately held company specializing in for profit Avoided Deforestation projects. Following the acquisition, ECO2 intends to realize revenue from the sale of carbon credits generated by the development stage and future projects of Forest Guard Inc. in Mexico and Brazil as well as from other targeted projects that the company is now reviewing.
By Damian Carrington, Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington, Juliette Jowit, Jonathan Watts, Alok Jha, James Randerson, David Smith, David Adam and Tom Hennigan, The Guardian, 1 February 2010 | In the tense run-up to the Copenhagen climate change summit in December, a senior British diplomat warned the Guardian: “We can go into extra time, but we can’t afford a replay.” At the end of the chaotic summit, that replay — in Mexico in November — was seen as a good result, given how close the entire show came to collapsing. But now, just six weeks since the summit reached its dramatic but disappointing conclusion, senior figures around the world do not even believe the rematch is likely to be played.
2 February 2010
By Heather Allen, Switchboard, from NRDC, 2 February 2010 | The White House released a proposed budget for 2011 which includes $1.4 billion to helps provide needed investments in developing countries to address the impacts of global warming pollution, shift to a clean energy future, and reduce the loss of tropical rainforests. . . . he sustainable landscapes budget item is largely comprised of programs to reduce deforestation, but seeks to include the broader landscape including soils, and eventually agriculture. In this case many of the funds will be used to build capacity to enable effective REDD programs including monitoring and reporting of emissions, land tenure and governance and technical agricultural and forestry methods.
Clark Labs press release, 2 February 2010 | Google has contracted Clark Labs to develop an on-line prototype of the Land Change Modeler application to run on Google’s Earth Engine interface. This development complements the on-line forest monitoring applications of Carnegie Institution for Science (CLASlite) and IMAZON (SAD), demonstrated on Earth Engine at the COP 15 meeting in Copenhagen last month. The on-line prototype will contain much of the functionality of the land change modeling component of Clark Labs’ Land Change Modeler application, included within the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing software, as well as within its extension to ArcGIS. The system will allow users to analyze, model and predict deforestation and then to evaluate the amount of carbon involved.
By Peter Korugl, pngemmiyet.blogspot, 2 February 2010 | A remote area in Southern Highlands Province is now getting on the carbon trade band wagon as they see this as an opportunity to save their precious land and also make a honest living, thus, bringing in much needed services. . . . Jim was there at Undiapa with other members of his tribe to sign documents to create a carbon trading project in East Pangia. After much discussion with the promoter, Kirk Roberts of Nupan (PNG) Trading Corporation, independent scientists and landowner leaders, the chairmans of the Incorporated Land Groups (ILG) put their name to paper, committing their rainforest to carbon trade.
By Damakant Jayshi, IPS News, 2 February 2010 | “The community forestry is really gaining momentum to revert the deforested and degraded forests to greenery,” says Eak Rana, project coordinator of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme under ICIMOD. REDD is designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Rana cites a 1994 National Forest Inventory – a field survey of Nepal’s forests by the government with the help of its Finnish counterpart – which showed that from 1978 to 1994, the forest area of the Himalayan country had decreased at an annual rate of 1.66 percent. The conduct of a new survey, again as a collaboration between the governments of Nepal and Finland, is slated to begin July this year.
zunia.org, 2 February 2010 | This study reviews the financial costs of abating greenhouse gas emissions through reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). It is written from the perspective of an institutional investor seeking cost-effective climate mitigation options. A review of empirical data from Brazil and Indonesia suggests that REDD may, in many areas, provide a cost-effective climate mitigation option, with estimated costs lying in a range of US$ 2-10 per ton of CO2e. [R-M: The report – written by IUCN and Rio Tinto – can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/cFVTzl]
By Mark D. Jordahl, Wild Thoughts from Uganda, 2 February 2010 | In the post-Copenhagen discouragement, there have been signs of a drop in carbon offsetting markets. Regardless of one’s stance on climate change, there could be disastrous consequences for the Congo forests if carbon markets collapse. Carbon emissions trading, and REDD (Reduction in Emissions through Destruction and Degradation) in particular, give incredible incentive not to cut down trees. According to Maathai, the DRC alone could generate as much as $200 million per year on the carbon market.
3 February 2010
Kaieteur News, 3 February 2010 | The mining community is up in arms against the government’s proposals to institute some stricter guidelines over their industry. While the government has gone to some length to deny any linkages between their initiative and their championing of forest conservation on the world stage, the miners – and most commentators – are not convinced. Apart from the two initiatives being strongly correlated temporally, the conditionalities spelt out in the one concrete offer of aid to support the more “responsible” usage of our forests – from Norway – do make a strong case that the government’s sudden conversion to the ranks of the conservationists has been caused by the latter’s five-year US$250 million carrot.
By Modey Peters, 234next.com, 3 February 2010 | An international forestry monitoring group, Nature Conservation Resource Centre (NCRC) has completed an 11- day study tour of the carbon stock of forest projects in Cross River State in line with the state’s agitation for carbon credit facility by the UN, World Bank and the US. The state government said it stands a chance of getting N30 billion in carbon credit from international agencies for preserving its rainforest. After going round the state’s rainforest, officials of NCRC commended the government and people of the state for initiating a pragmatic forestry conservation programme to check forest deforestation. An official of the centre, John Mason, said the state’s attendance at the Katoomba meeting in Ghana, last year, and the task force put in place by the state to check deforestation, has attracted the attention of World Bank and United States government.
By Leigh Phillips, euobserver.com, 3 February 2010 | Emissions trading registries in a number of EU countries were shut down on Tuesday (2 February) as a result of a phishing scam tricking traders into giving away their emissions allowances. . . . Similar to online banking scams in which an email directs you to a website that is a copy of your own bank’s webpage, and then asks for your bank details, these criminals reproduced the sites of the German and Czech registries. The criminals sent emails last Thursday to firms in Europe, Japan and New Zealand, asking them to offer up their registration details. A handful of firms fell for the trap and ended up giving away their CO2 emissions allowances to the crooks, who will now be able to sell them on. Financial Times Deutschland on Wednesday reported that one firm had lost €1.5 million as a result.
By Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, 3 February 2010 | “We have sent a letter to the UN asking for an explanation on the mechanisms to apply for the climate change funding,” the Indonesian delegate to the climate talks, Wandojo Siswanto, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. . . . “But we still have no idea on where the funds will come from and what countries are eligible for the funding,” said Wandojo. . . . “The question is, are countries that did not sign the accord also eligible for the climate fund? “If that is the case, there is no extra incentive to join the Copenhagen accord,” he said.
By Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, 3 February 2010 | The government says it does not know how to apply for climate funds pledged by rich nations during the climate change summit in Copenhagen last December. One month after the summit the UN had not set up a mechanism to obtain the funds, Forestry Ministry official Wandojo Siswanto said Tuesday. “We have sent a letter to the UN asking for an explanation on the mechanism, but have not received any response,” said Wandojo, who was part of the Indonesian delegation to summit. A non-binding Copenhagen accord stipulates that rich nations would provide US$30 billion from 2010 to 2012 for the adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, to less developed countries, small developing states and Africa. The rich nations also promised to scale up the climate fund to $100 billion by 2020 for developing countries.
Vietnam News, 3 February 2010 | In an annual review meeting of the Forest Sector Support Partnership yesterday, Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi said that currently, 85 per cent of preserved forest area were located in regions which had high and average poverty rates. Therefore, the country should pay much more attention to forest plantations and protection as they not only helped mitigate climate change but also reduced the number of poor households in key forestry areas, he stressed.
4 February 2010
By Leigh Phillips, euobserver.com, 4 February 2010 | The European Commission and some EU member states hope to redefine palm oil plantations as “forests,” according to a leaked document from the EU executive. . . . “Continuously forested areas are defined as areas where trees have reached, or can reach, at least heights of five metres, making up a crown cover of more than 30 percent,” reads the jargon-filled document. “They would normally include forest, forest plantations and other tree plantations such as palm oil. Short rotation coppice [the practice of repeatedly cutting young tree stems down] may qualify if it fulfils the height and canopy cover criteria.” “This means, for example, that a change from forest to oil palm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the [sustainability criteria].”
5 February 2010
By Toni Johnson, Council on Foreign Relations, 5 February 2010 | [Interview with Joelle Chassard, Manager, World Bank Carbon Finance Unit] “We do hope if there is a legislation adopted by the U.S., it will include some sort of cap-and-trade scheme,” she says. “That will create a lot of demand for emissions-reducing projects in developing countries.”
By Marisa Meizlich, carbonpositive.net, 5 February 2010 | [T]he potential supply of offsets will be far below the expected demand. . . . This leaves a gap of hundreds of millions of tons. The de facto expectation is that forestry offsets, both domestic and international, will supply most of this demand in the future. This is certainly the hope of policy makers drafting the US bills, which place a huge reliance on credits generated from reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in the developing world. Domestically, bills list more than 30 project types for offset generation with a focus on forestry, land and agricultural management. But there are many unanswered questions regarding REDD credits: Projects or national level accounting? Public or private finance? Historical or project baselines? VCS or other methodologies? Buyers considering early market investment options are often left spending more time on policy analysis than on project due diligence.
By Rhett Butler, mongabay.com, 5 February 2010 | Horowitz says that forest conservation now figures prominently into U.S. climate legislation, offering an opportunity for the United States to take a leadership role on the issue, provided Congress can pass a climate bill. On this front, he is hopeful. Horowitz believes rainforest protection can make the bill palatable to a broader range of lawmakers by reducing the cost of emissions reduction and “buy[ing] us critically important time we need to make the transition to the clean energy economy of the future.”
By Ch. Narendra, MyNews.in, 5 February 2010 | A $100 million pledge from the Government of Japan has helped to secure the funding base and launch the operational phase of two new climate programs supporting forest management and renewable energy investments in developing countries. . . . Japan also pledged $60 million to the Forest Investment Program (FIP) whose other donors include Australia, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. . . . Both the SREP and FIP offer an unprecedented opportunity to low income countries to undertake pilot programs. The FIP supports countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) by financing investments to address the causes of deforestation and forest degradation.
By John Ighodaro, Vanguards News Online, 5 February 2010 | The task force put in place by Cross River State government to address climate change has attracted the attention of the World Bank and United States government. Mr. John Mason of Nature Conservation and Resource Centre, NCRC, Ghana, who commended Cross River State for initiating a pragmatic forestry conservation programme to check forest deforestation, disclosed this in Calabar. He spoke when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Liyel Imoke at Government Lodge, Calabar.
Rainforest Rescue, 5 February 2010 | EU renewable energy legislation states that 10% of all road transport fuel in the EU will need to be “renewable” by 2020. Unfortunately this means biofuels, many of which are causing rainforest destruction and making climate change worse. Biodiesel from palm oil is one of the worst offenders. Palm oil plantations for food and fuel are the primary cause of rainforest destruction in Indonesia and Malaysia. Biodiesel from palm oil is extremely likely to produce higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional diesel, thereby making climate change worse not better. . . . The Commission says “This means…that a change from forest to oil palm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the criterion”.
farmlandgrab.org, 5 February 2010 | While foreign land acquisitions in Africa are no recent phenomenon, the last several decades have witnessed an unprecedented level of large-scale land acquisitions all over the continent; millions of hectares of land in Africa are increasingly claimed by and leased out to transnational entities, government businesses, multinational corporations, and international organisations. Sometimes referred to as “neo-colonialism” due to their resemblance to colonial land exploits, these acquisitions have been largely driven by a global “scramble” for food security and access to natural resources. Foreign actors gain access to land in part by employing discursive tools and media to portray African farmland as “unused” or “unproductive” while the local farmers are portrayed as “backwards”, underdeveloped, environmentally destructive, and desperately poor. [R-M: The conference is at Groningen University, Netherlands, 28-29 October 2010]
6 February 2010
By Paul Oates, The Masalai blog, 6 February 2010 | So called ‘Developed’ countries could well note a report in PNG’s The National. The PNG Environment and Conservation Secretary, Dr Wari Iamo says PNG will reduce it’s carbon emissions by 60% in 10 years and by 100% in 40 years. The methodology to achieve this reduction must surely be revolutionary. Exactly who is in charge of measuring PNG’s carbon emissions and how this would be done was not detailed however.
Solomon Star, 6 February 2010 | Gillian Duggin of the Environmental Defenders’ Office, Australia, will present on Climate Change and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and Submission Writing for Policy and Law Reform. The Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO) is an Australian community legal centre which specialises in environmental law. . . . “Increasing our understanding of some of the legal aspects of REDD is important if this scheme is to be introduced in the Solomon Islands,” says Mr Hou. “This training will help lawyers and other stakeholders better understand REDD, to make sure that its implementation in the Solomon Islands protects landowner rights and benefits the most disadvantaged people in our country.”
7 February 2010
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 7 February 2010 | from 2000-2005, rural population growth was not associated with forest loss, “indicating the importance of urban-based and international demands for agricultural products as drivers of deforestation.” . . . Accordingly, the authors argue that measures like the proposed REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) mechanism will need to go beyond sustainable development schemes for subsistence cultivators and the establishment of protected areas in rural landscapes to be effective in slowing forest loss. “We therefore suggest that policies to reduce deforestation among local, rural populations will not address the main cause of deforestation in the future. Rather, efforts need to focus on reducing deforestation for industrial-scale, export-oriented agricultural production, concomitant with efforts to increase yields in non-forested lands to satisfy demands for agricultural products.”
By Marc Gunther, marcgunther.com, 7 February 2010 | The coalition—called Avoided Deforestation Partners, a name that will never win a branding contest—is the brainchild of Jeff Horowitz, a 58-year-old architect and newcomer to the environmental movement who has quietly become an influential player as climate change legislation inches its way through a divided Congress. . . . Finally, a entire industry of project developers, carbon traders, verifiers and regulators has emerged to create and manage offsets. “There is profit all along that food chain,” Horowitz says, “and in my view that’s good.”
Rainforest Portal, 7 February 2010 | Local landowner initiated court case has shut down logging for two months. The PNG Forest Authority’s review of the granting of the right to log to notorious Rimbunan Hijau of Malaysia in Ramu River valley expected soon. Industry and corrupt government officials pulling out all stops to re-grant permit to this violent and corrupt criminal-enterprise. Massive cash payments and brutal violence – to intimidate communities resisting logging – is rife. Yet local protest to logging continues to intensify in Madang, as do calls to end all industrial primary rainforest logging in PNG.