A 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 their REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated daily: REDD in the news. The highlight this week is a great article by Johann Hari in The Nation: “The Wrong Kind of Green“.
Panos London, March 2010 | A new video made by Panos London for the Climate Change Media Partnership gives an insight into the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism from the perspective of local people in Indonesia, with journalists, scientists and critics giving their opinions on the proposed scheme. [R-M: Includes interviews with farmers affected by the Harapan project in Sumatra, Indonesia.]
Foreign Policy Association: Job Board, March 2010 | Organization: Global Witness, Location: Guyana (Georgetown). Global Witness seeks a Policy Advisor to be located in Guyana on a short-term, extendable contract basis in support of our work on governance, monitoring and transparency in the forest sector, including initiatives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) that are currently underway in Guyana.
By Peter A Minang, Deborah Murphy, ASB Publications, 2010 | The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2010 has been referred to as both a success and failure, although almost everyone agrees that the result was far less than most had hoped for. The substantial outcome was the Copenhagen Accord. The accord does not impose binding emission targets or set a deadline for forming an internationally binding treaty, but progress was made in many areas, particularly relating to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD-Plus) and the role of reducing emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU). This paper analyses the COP15 outcomes on REDD-plus and AFOLU and assesses key areas for moving ahead with REDD implementation. [R-M: The report is available here: http://bit.ly/aqqsca]
UNFCCC Newsletter, March 2010 | Negotiations on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD) under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-LCA)continued at Copenhagen. Parties progressed in many sections of the negotiating text on REDD, in particular concerning the issue of safeguards. This includes respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as the protection of natural forests. Consensus was reached with regard to scope, i.e. the inclusion of all the activities reflected in the Bali Action Plan, such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and conserving and enhancing forest carbon stocks.
Final Agenda and Presentations from the COMIFAC Regional Workshop Monitoring Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in the Congo Basin, 2-4 February 2010, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.
CBD, Volume 8 – February 2010 | The aim of this e-Newsletter is to inform CBD National Focal Points and CBD partners about biodiversity aspects in relation to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-plus).
IISD, March 2010 | To provide developing countries with this support, IISD has partnered with the Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins, World Agroforesty Centre (ASB-ICRAF), to deliver a series of workshops that aim to increase understanding of the REDD negotiations. They also aim to provide information on actual experiences in the forestry sector that could be used to lay the technical and policy foundations for better REDD programs. In addition to bringing together negotiators and stakeholders from countries receiving support from UN-REDD and the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the workshops encourage South-South sharing of information.
CIFOR | This Forests and Climate Change Toolbox has been developed to build understanding and technical proficiency on issues of climate change and forests including mitigation, adaptation, carbon accounting and markets, and biofuels.
1 March 2010
The Press Association, 1 March 2010 | Anacondas, giant otters and the world’s largest bird of prey proved to be worth more than their weight in gold when dredging for the metal was banned in their forest home, conservationists have said. The ban on gold dredging in the unspoilt region of Guyana follows a campaign by Amerindian villagers, backed by scientists from the Zoological Society of London. PhD students Rob Pickles and Niall McCann travelled to the Rewa Head in the South American country to study giant otters and tapirs. The pair conducted an extensive assessment of the wildlife in the area and are working with conservationists in a bid to win international support for Guyana’s plan to turn its forests into the world’s largest carbon sink.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 1 March 2010 | Guyana has banned gold dredging in the Rewa Head region after an expedition turned up unspoiled wilderness and mind-boggling biodiversity. The researchers, in just six weeks, stumbled on the world’s largest snake (anaconda), spider (the aptly named goliath bird-eating spider), armadillo (the giant armadillo), anteater (the giant anteater), and otter (the giant otter), leading them to dub the area ‘the Land of the Giants’.
The Daily Star, 1 March 2010 | REDD mechanism is getting prominence in developing countries for mitigation effort. It is expected that a major share of developed countries’ financial support may flow towards this sector. “Brazil, Indonesia, India and other nations with forest resources may get a lion’s share from the REDD mechanism,” [State Minister for Environment and Forests Hasan Mahmud] said. However, Bangladesh may also get a share out of it in the future, “if we take appropriate enabling measures in this sector,” the minister added.
By Kathy Baylis, Center for Business and Public Policy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1 March 2010 | I spent a good chunk of last week working with US and Mexican colleagues, looking at data from a forest conservation program in Mexico… At first glance, one might think the program looks like a great success. The land inside the program area is much more heavily forested than the land outside, so a quick comparison of average forest cover argues that the program is working. At a second glance, the program looks like an abject failure. Comparing deforestation rates, we see more logging inside the core region than outside, so clearly the payments aren’t working. The real problem of course is twofold: first, the core land was selected to be in the program because it was more forested. Second, as other lands are deforested, the core zone becomes increasingly attractive to loggers, and it becomes harder and harder to keep the illegal loggers out.
Ramesh Jaura talks to UN Assistant Secretary General Luc Gnacadja, IDN, 1 March 2010 | Luc Gnacadja: Unfortunately – as in Copenhagen – whenever the potential that has now been clearly established by science, potential of the land and the soil not only to address adaptation but also to mitigate climate change is brought up in the context of the REDD programme (on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) or NAMAS (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Measures) there are a number of big players who bracket it. And I believe that the challenges in Copenhagen were mainly challenges of lack of trust between the players.
By Maria Bendana, Ecosystem Marketplace, 1 March 2010 | It’s been six weeks since Ecosystem Marketplace published State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2009: Taking Root & Branching Out, the first-ever survey of the global marketplace for carbon offsets that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promote more efficient land-use. Since then, coverage of these fascinating markets has gone mainstream in a big way – in part because the Copenhagen Accord reflected a consensus on the need to develop financing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) as well as for projects that enhance forest carbon stocks, promote conservation and support sustainable forest management (REDD+). Just over a week ago, Ecosystem Marketplace re-launched the Forest Carbon Portal (FCP), sparking more requests for a condensed summary of the report’s findings. In response to this demand, FCP Director Maria Bendana has compiled highlights from the report.
The Jakarta Globe, 1 March 2010 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a decree to allow mining, power plants and other projects deemed strategically important to take place in protected forests. The decree, which took effect on Feb. 1, is certain to anger environmental groups given that the country already has one of the fastest rates of deforestation in the world. “The use of forest areas for development activities can be done for unavoidable strategic purposes,” said the decree, which said key development projects included power plants, renewable energy, toll roads and train lines. The decree said open-pit and underground mining could take place in production forests, which is a forest area considered neglected or abandoned after trees have been cut. “In a protected forest, mining can be done through underground mining,” the decree said. The decree defined mining activities as including oil and gas, minerals, coal and geothermal.
Climate-L.org, 1 March 2010 | The UN-REDD Programme and the Viet Nam Department of Forestry have produced a study titled “Design of a REDD-Compliant Benefit Distribution System for Viet Nam,” which identifies constraints that need to be addressed in order to create such a system and outlines policy recommendations to address them. [R-M: The report is available here: http://bit.ly/cYw8lj]
EarthCollective, 1 March 2010 | Last but not least, Silvia Weel – one of Living Lands’ and EarthCollective’s founding members – has returned after taking six months out to pursue a job opportunity in Brazil. This time away was a valuable learning experience for Silvia and, amongst other activities, she had an opportunity to understand the dynamics of deforestation in the Amazon Forest first-hand as well as getting the chance to present the case for REDD (avoided deforestation) at the Copenhagen Climate Summit last December. Whilst Silvia’s former role with Living Lands was as geo-spatial analyst (with a focus on remote sensing), Silvia’s focus will now be oriented more toward wildlife management and conservation in close cooperation with local partners. “My time away was valuable and I learnt many new things including that the working environment here with Living Lands is special and something I am very grateful to again be a part of.”
2 March 2010
TVNZ, 2 March 2010 | ASX-listed m2m Corporation Ltd has dropped a $10 million merger with Carbon Planet and gone into business with a man accused of running a carbon “cargo cult” in Papua New Guinea. Former disqualified Australian horse trainer and Philippine cock-fighting syndicate operator Kirk Roberts, and his company Nupan, is now working for technology investment group m2m to develop carbon trading projects in PNG.
By David Fogarty and Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, 2 March 2010 | Indonesia and Australia launched a A$30 million project on Tuesday to fight deforestation in Sumatra as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost a planned forest-carbon trading scheme. The project, to target Sumatra’s Jambi province that has suffered rapid deforestation, is the second joint venture between the neighbouring countries keen to learn how to save forests by giving local communities incentives to keep the trees standing… According to a statement from Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, officials have yet to pin-point the exact location for the project but it is likely to cover a variety of forest concession types.
AFP, 2 March 2010 | Indonesia and Australia announced on Tuesday a multi-million dollar initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation on the Indonesian island of Sumatra… “The partnership in Jambi is a demonstration activity, which is a pilot project to show how you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in practice,” Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership coordinator Neil Scotland told AFP. “The first demonstration activity already takes place in Central Kalimantan (Borneo),” he said, adding that it was in line with the UN-REDD programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.
BusinessGreen.com, 02 Mar 2010 | Norway looks to have become the latest in a string of European countries to fall foul of complicated fraud involving EU carbon credits. Three people were charged late last week with alleged VAT fraud, while at least two firms are also under investigation over suspected fraudulent trading of EU emission allowances. The Norwegian government also announced it will emulate a number of other European governments by changing the rules governing VAT to tackle so-called carousel fraud. None of the companies or individuals under investigation were named by the government, but Reuters reported that tax officials believed the alleged fraud cost 127m Norwegian crowns (£14m). The news agency also quoted Oeyvind Bakken of Norway’s tax authority as saying that Oslo-based Green Plus Energy AS and Gct AS are the two firms being investigated. “We have a court order granting us control over the assets of these companies,” he said.
3 March 2010
By Nina Chsetney, Reuters, 3 March 2010 | Investors are becoming less convinced that a global carbon market, estimated to be worth about $2 trillion by the end of the decade, can be established as uncertainty over global climate policy persists. The absence of legally binding global climate deal and a federal emissions trading scheme in the United States are standing in the way of the market in global emissions trading growing to achieve yearly turnover of $2 trillion by 2020.
Michael Zammit Cutajar, carbonpositive.net, 3 March 2010 | Consequently, it may be argued that it is better NOT to set the Accord in legal concrete this year, but to wait for an opportunity to codify a more ambitious mitigation regime consistent with the objective – endorsed by the Accord – of holding the global temperature increase below 2°C… In this view, the aim for Cancún could be a set of decisions that would launch the new instruments of cooperation identified by the negotiations on “long-term cooperative action” and endorsed by the Accord – cooperation on adaptation, REDD-plus, capacity building, and technology development and transfer – while also strengthening mechanisms for transparency and accountability.
4 March 2010
By Ilya Gridneff, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 March 2010 | Nupan will generate about 10 million scientifically approved and verified carbon credits from 15 forestry projects in PNG in the first half of 2010, m2m said. ”Completion will allow m2m to recognise about $1 million in revenue in the first quarter of next year . Further trading from the 15 projects is anticipated to deliver in excess of $4 million revenue by December 2010 and positive earnings,” another statement said.
Giles Parkinson, The Australian, 4 March 2010 | Industry analyst Point Carbon this month forecast the global carbon market to grow by around one-third in 2010 to E121 billion. While this seems to point to strong growth that would be the envy of other commodities, it is well below estimates pre-Copenhagen. The missing ingredients from the business plans, apart from a binding international agreement, are the lack of progress on US legislation, which in theory at least could lift volumes 10-fold, and confusion and uncertainty around the future of other UN mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which focuses on abatement projects in developing countries, and REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), which focuses on forestry protection.
People’s Daily Online, 4 March 2010 | Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed on Wednesday in Brasilia a memorandum of understanding on cooperation regarding climate change. Its purpose is “to strengthen and coordinate the efforts of the parties to address climate change effectively in the context of sustainable economic growth, reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says the document. It will also promote cooperation in increasing energy efficiency, renewable sources of energy, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). During the Copenhagen Conference (COP-15) last December, Brazil and the United States showed divergent positions, especially by the refusal of U.S. President Barack Obama to set more ambitious goals for fighting climate change.
By Yurfee B. Shaikalee, Liberian Observer, 4 March 2010 | “There are more than ten climate change conferences taking place in Kenya at the same time,” said Kenyan Environmental Secretary, Dr. Alice Kaudia. She was speaking at the opening of ‘REDD After Copenhagen −The way forward’, a REDD conference currently going on in Nairobi, Kenya. She spoke of the many ongoing efforts to address climate change since COP 15 and said that her country is glad to host so many climate change conferences at once. She pointed out that Africa stands to gain from REDD if the continent does its homework now in negotiating well before COP 16. Kaudia added that adaptation is a very critical issue, and that Africa must address it carefully. Liberia stands to benefit from the REDD initiative as the country is now in the REDD Readiness and Preparation Process (R−PP) and is preparing to submit her REDD proposal to the World Bank next month.
By: Ch. Narendra, MyNews.in, 4 March 2010 | On the margins of the annual Africa Carbon Forum, a new initiative to bring environmental and financial benefits to local communities in the impoverished highlands of Ethiopia was announced here today. The Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project is Africa’s first large-scale forestry project to be registered under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. It will bring both economic and social benefits to poor communities in Ethiopia as well as environmental benefits as the project will cut an estimated 880,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 30 years. World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello points to the Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project, developed by the international development agency World Vision in partnership with the World Bank, as a highly successful example of reforestation that alleviates poverty while also addressing climate change.
By Peter Gelling, New York Times, 4 March 2010 | For decades, the vast jungle interior that blankets the northern Indonesian province of Aceh provided a haven for thousands of rebel foot soldiers fighting a war of independence. Now, still marginalized and largely unemployed despite nearly five years of peace, many former separatists have fled back into the forest, this time to chop it down. “I spoke to an old rebel captain recently, and I asked him why he continued to illegally log Aceh’s forests,” said Mohammad Nur Djuli, head of the Aceh Reintegration Body, an organization set up by the provincial government in 2006 to help former combatants rejoin society. “He said, ‘O.K., you feed my 200 men and I’ll throw this chain saw into the river.’ What can I say to that?” A government program, called Aceh Green, hopes to provide an answer.
Orangutan Foundation International Blog, 4 March 2010 | Bill Law investigates the causes and consequences of the great global land grab, as richer nations and multinational corporations acquire vast tracts of land in developing countries. Bill weighs up the pros and cons of Indonesia’s palm oil revolution. The country leads the world in palm oil production and the world is hungry for it; check any food label and as likely as not palm oil will turn up as one of the ingredients. Low-cost, high-yield palm oil has transformed Indonesia creating wealth and a new middle class. But in the process, it has carved up huge swathes of rainforest: http://bit.ly/bi10bp
By Johann Hari, The Nation, 4 March 2010 | Some of the failing green groups can be reformed from within. The Sierra Club is a democratic organization, with the leadership appointed by its members. There are signs that members are beginning to put the organization right after the missteps of the past few years. Carl Pope is being replaced by Mike Brune, formerly of the Rainforest Action Network–a group much more aligned with the radical demands of the climate science. But other organizations–like Conservation International and TNC–seem incapable of internal reform and simply need to be shunned. They are not part of the environmental movement: they are polluter-funded leeches sucking on the flesh of environmentalism, leaving it weaker and depleted.
5 March 2010
It’s Getting Hot In Here, 5 March 2010 | [Comment from] David Scott – I am a member of the Sierra Club board of directors. My comments are my own… As for petitioning EPA to make a 350 ppm level legally binding, the author notes that we’re already at 390 ppm. Susan Solomon and others have documented that carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for centuries. I don’t question for one second that environmental groups need to tell the truth about the science — including Hansen’s urgent warnings about tipping points… The question is “By when?” If anyone has laid out a scientifically and politically feasible path to actually reducing levels to 350 ppm in the foreseeable future — a way to effect that drastic change in not only the US, but China — I have yet to see that. In the near term, holding levels to 450 ppm will take a herculean effort. I wish that weren’t true, but it is. I’d rather invest time and effort in getting actual cuts than in petitions that are dead on arrival.
By Mustaqim Adamrah, Jakarta Post, 5 March 2010 | “There’s an EU directive. The Netherlands has promised to help us, firstly, to understand the EU directive and help us meet the criteria stipulated in the EU directive,” Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said Thursday following the 20th session of the mixed commission on bilateral economic cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands… Apart from the EU directive, Forestry Ministry head of research and development Tachrir Fathoni had earlier said his ministry was drafting a decree to allow oil palm plantations in the forest sector. He said the policy, believed not to lead to massive forest conversion, was part of Indonesia’s attempt to comply with international standards in mitigating climate change and to “anticipate” the implementation of the scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).
By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times, 5 March 2010 | The United States and Brazil signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to slash greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation, one of the main drivers of global climate change. The deal, signed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Brasilia on Wednesday, marks the first time the two countries have formally agreed to work together on deforestation. In the past, Brazilian leaders have been wary of foreign interference in the Amazon, Earth’s largest tropical forest. But climate scientists are raising loud alarms that the slashing and burning of forests, which cause about 15% of the emissions that are trapping heat in the atmosphere, threatens to dangerously disrupt the world’s climate.
Climate-L.org, 5 March 2010 | The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have published a policy brief summarizing the main findings of five workshops that aimed to promote a multi-sectoral dialogue among countries on improving forest law compliance. The brief highlights lessons learned from experiences on the ground and sets out the key elements of an approach to forest law compliance and governance that will ensure the optimal role of forests in mitigating climate change. [R-M: The report is available here: http://bit.ly/bXRkNZ]
6 March 2010
GHG Emissions Trading, 6 March 2010 | A forest fire burning near Dunedin is highlighting the risk of natural disasters to carbon which run into millions of dollars, Carbon News reports. Wenita Forest Products, which owns the 700ha of forest which has been burning most of the week, has registered under the Emissions Trading Scheme, but has not yet claimed credits. If it had, it would be liable for the carbon lost in the fire, according to Carbon News, the country’s specialist news service on the carbon markets.
7 March 2010
mongabay.com, 7 March 2010 | The agreement is significant because the two countries have been somewhat at odds over how a scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation would work. In the early stages, Brazil balked at the prospect of allowing rich, industrialized countries off the hook via REDD without reducing their own emissions, instead proposing an aid-based approach embodied in the $21 billion Amazon Fund, which was announced in 2008.
Kaieteur News, 7 March 2010 | At the request of Ban ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary General, President Bharrat Jagdeo will join his British, Ethiopian and Norwegian counterparts to mobilise US$100 billion in annual finance for developing countries’ efforts to combat climate change. The establishment of the advisory group builds on the Copenhagen Accord, which was agreed by most of the world’s countries at December’s climate change conference in the Danish capital. UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said that the group would take on “the task that I believe is the most important we face – combating climate change by ensuring that the poorest countries have the finance necessary to do so. “If we can resolve this problem then I believe many of the other challenges of climate change can also be solved.”
By Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 7 March 2010 | For the same assessment period as the global study (1990-2005), the FAO reports that Guyana has had no change in its net forest cover. More specifically, the LCDS reports that Guyana’s forest cover remains in excess of 15 million acres, roughly the same as in 1990. The LCDS goes on to attribute this to the systematic pursuit of sustainable forest management practices. From what I know of Guyana and what I have also read about its forests, I remain deeply sceptical of this claim. Rather I believe that this might well be an instance of the many weaknesses in the national data, from which the FAO’s global and regional estimates are compiled. Proof of this concern is seen in the varied indications of Guyana’s total forest cover. These can be found across specialist publications on the subject of Guyana’s forests, and just as frequently within the same publication, as is the case with the LCDS.