This week’s round up of the 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.
Job Advert, closing date 30 April 2010 | In accordance with Decision 2/COP.13, the CCI-Forestry program in South-East Asia is demonstrating how REDD-plus projects can contribute to helping forest-dependent communities move out of poverty, to conserving tropical forests and degraded peat lands, and to ensuring real reductions in GHG emissions associated with land use, land cover changes and deforestation. The program is aligned with respective governments at national and sub-national levels and will contribute to the development of national REDD-plus policies, strategies and regulations in Indonesia and Cambodia by addressing the key technical and financial barriers of entry which currently limit the supply of good quality validated REDD-plus demonstration projects.
By Erik Jaques, CNBC Business, April 2010 | Not everyone is a cheerleader for [Dorjee] Sun’s methods though. Some environmental groups are concerned that carbon trading of rainforest credits will degenerate into a cheap offsetting ruse for business to continue polluting at home, and that it is simply another way of commodifying and exploiting the environment. Sun is not insensitive to these views, but remains adamant his company is a part of the solution. “The vast major of people think, ‘Wow, this is really innovative. Good on ya – let’s see you do it’,” he says. “To this point I’ve never seen anyone walk away going, ‘That guy’s an idiot and he’s just trying to ruin the world’.”… Ten forest-related projects are on the books, mostly in Indonesia, but the firm has also developed technology-based projects that qualify carbon credits in countries such as Mongolia and Bhutan.
12 April 2010
Guyana Chronicle editorial, 12 April 2010 | The Toshaos who are the head of our indigenous villages and are elected by the people of the respected communities, have made it categorical that their people have been widely consulted and sensitised to the principles of the LCDS and its modus operandi and they are fully supportive of it. Yet almost on a daily basis, no doubt being egged on by those cynics who have their axes to grind and their hidden agenda to foster, there is some allegation of non-consultation and that the LCDS would be harmful to the Amerindians. But this has been refuted and rejected by the genuine representatives of the Amerindian people. Chairperson of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Ms. Yvonne Pearson said: “Personally, I support the LCDS and I am speaking as a toshao and as a leader of my community.”
Stabroek News, 12 April 2010 | There is a “significant” level of illegality in Guyana’s forestry sector though it is lower than in several other major tropical timber producing countries in South America and around the world, according to a study commissioned by Norway’s Ministry of the Environment. The study, ‘Forest Law Enforcement and Governance and Forest Practices in Guyana,’ was done by Iwokrama and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). It said that Guyana, like many less-developed countries, has limited financial resources, but has developed a forest legal system for the management of its forests, coupled with other basic governance requirements, such as forest monitoring and incipient mechanisms of public participation.
By Bill E. Diggs, Liberian Observer, 12 April 2010 | On Friday, April 3, 2010, several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and donor partners including the World Bank and the United Sates Agency for International Development (USAID) gathered at a workshop organized by the Action Against Climate Change (AACC) Liberia. It was organized under the theme, Building Capacity within Civil Society to Participate in Policy Dialogue on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Liberia. The Government of Liberia is now developing a Readiness Plan (R-PP) and the purpose of the workshop was to create space for NGOs, Government, private sector and other stakeholders to discuss and develop a list of priority issues that should be addressed in the R-PP.
By Alhassan Imoru, Rural Media Network, 12 April 2010 | Experts are skeptical as to how fast and easy it will be to implement REDD-Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation-in a country like Ghana, where REDD is essentially an issue of forest governance… Based on a detailed case study of the causes of deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana, the experts question whether REDD will be that fast and easy. “What we warn against are reforms pushed and financed by donors with their usual eagerness to show quick results,” the experts say. According to them, “such attempts are doomed to fail just like donor-driven attempts to reform forest fees, timber rights allocation and harvesting regulations.”
Jakarta Post, 12 April 2010 | Pelalawan Police in Riau province said they found indications of arson in a fire that gutted Greenpeace Indonesia’s camp in a peatland forest in Semenanjung Kampar in Teluk Kampar district. “We questioned witnesses and investigated the scene and found indications of arsons, probably by those who dislike Greenpeace,” Pelalawan Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Arie Rachman was quoted as saying Sunday by Antara news agency… Greenpeace activists had arrived at the area to support some local residents who were protesting a planned expansion of an industrial forest concession (HTI). They claimed the HTI holder wanted to convert peatland. “Locals opposed to Greenpeace said Greenpeace hampered them from earning an income,” Arie said. “Locals supporting Greenpeace said they wanted to protect the peatland because if the peatland was converted, it would kill their livelihoods as fishermen.”
13 April 2010
Survival International, 13 April 2010 | Indigenous people in the Malaysian part of Borneo have won a second major court victory this year in their battle to stop palm oil plantations taking over their land. A Kayan tribal community won a 12-year legal case at the end of March, when the High Court of Sarawak recognized their rights to their land. The court also nullified the leases that the Sarawak state government had issued to palm oil company IOI on their land, declaring that the leases were illegal.
By Glenn Horowitz, Grist, 13 April 2010 | In case you didn’t have enough reasons to dislike the Taliban, The Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov looks at how they’re using revenue from illegal logging to finance attacks on U.S. troops… There is another option that could both save Afghanistan’s forests and put these eastern Afghan tribes on the side of the Americans: include financing to reduce illegal logging and incentivize international forest conservation in climate legislation (and pass the legislation). These financial incentives would make forests around the world worth more alive than dead — giving landowners and local communities strong cash-on-the-barrel reasons to keep their forests standing.
Durban Group for Climate Justice, 13 April 2010 | No REDD! No REDD Plus! Global Sign-On Campaign against Schemes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation… The REDD or “REDD-readiness” programmes in Southern countries that currently receive public funding do not constitute evidence that REDD will be pursued independently of carbon markets. On the contrary, such programmes are taxpayer-funded means for setting up the technical, legal and political infrastructure for the expanded market in forest carbon that will ultimately be demanded by big polluters in the US and elsewhere.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 13 April 2010 | Project developer Planting Empowerment earns carbon credits by leasing – rather than buying – degraded forest so that local owners can share more fully in the benefits of restoration. Maria Bendana speaks with co-founder Chris Meyer about the future of REDD, the challenges of small-scale restoration, and the benefits of leaving forests in local hands… After their Peace Corps service in Panama, Chris Meyer and a few colleagues saw an opportunity to offer socially and environmentally minded investors growth opportunities in sustainably-managed timber and carbon projects. The result is Planting Empowerment, one of a growing number of companies that earn money saving patches of the rainforest to earn money by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
By Janette Bulkan, letter to Stabroek News, 13 April 2010 | A number of letter writers to the daily newspapers seem to be confused about the protocol prepared by the International Institute for Environment and Development (Edinburgh, UK) for the consultations on the President’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. Displaying the protocol on the LCDS website is not the same as implementing it. Having a series of short presentations and question/answer sessions, one in each of 13 hinterland communities and 11 or more urban awareness sessions and 8 or more meetings with hinterland miners, is not the same as implementing a consultation on a proposal for a potential spend of US$1 billion. In other words, there are substantial differences between a consultation on a national strategy as laid out in the protocol, and the process actually followed by the Office of Climate Change (OCC) and the ministerial teams dispatched to convey the President’s vision for this spend.
mongabay.com, 13 April 2010 | A properly designed REDD mechanism is seen by many as a potentially cost-effective approach to simultaneously conserve forests, slow climate change, protect biodiversity, foster sustainable development, and maintain important ecological services provided by healthy forest ecosystems. But as highlighted in the latest statement, many concerns still remain, including financing to support the mechanism and provide sufficient economic incentives to stop deforestation.
14 April 2010
Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 14 April 2010 | The forestry ministry dropped its controversial initiative to classify oil palm plantations as forests after strong protests from environmental activists on fears that it would speed up deforestation… On Tuesday, Walhi welcomed the decision from the government to drop the plan. “The ministry’s decision to not include plantations in forest is correct, the most important thing now is the ministry should exclude the industrial forest concessions (HTI) as part of the forest,” Walhi’s forest campaign director, Teguh Surya… He said that the ministry should also audit the existing oil palm plantations which converted forest areas without permits. “Forestry Minister [Zulkilfli Hasan] should gather the courage to withdraw the licenses of oil palm plantations operating in forest areas,” he said. The Agriculture Ministry earlier said it planned to use 1.8 million hectares of land designated as industrial forests for oil palm plantations.
By Al Davies, Letter to the International Herald Tribune, 14 April 2010 | Regarding the news article “Loggers seek green lane into E.U.” (April 10): I am a citizen of the European Union currently working as an expedition leader in the jungle of Malaysian Borneo. I have seen first hand the destruction caused by legal logging activities here. All wood — legally or illegally harvested — in Malaysia comes from tropical rainforest; one of our planet’s most important and threatened ecosystems. Legal logging only means that the logging is government sanctioned. In general, it does not mean that the wood being harvested and exported comes from a sustainable source.
Amazon Watch press release, 14 April 2010 | Federal judge of Altamira (state of Pará) agreed with the Federal Public Ministry in one of the public civil suits dealing with irregularities in the venture of the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. The Federal Court ordered the suspension of the preliminary license for the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam and the cancellation of the auction, scheduled for next Tuesday (20/04). Judge Antonio Carlos de Almeida Campelo granted a preliminary injunction (urgent) seeing “danger of irreparable harm” considering the immanency of the auction.
By Rainforest Foundation UK, Reuters AlertNet, 14 April 2010 | Indigenous peoples and other NGOs are being excluded from key international climate meetings taking place this week that could determine the future of the world’s rainforests, say a network of 40 environmental and human rights organisations denouncing the lack of transparency and participation in the discussions
15 April 2010
By Peter Persaud, letter to Guyana Chronicle, 15 April 2010 | THE Guyanese people, particularly the Amerindian community must know that the APA sent a letter to the Peace, Gender, and Democracy Department of the Norwegian Agency for Development cooperation calling for, inter alia. The amendment of the present Amerindian Act 2006 “as a prior condition to any financing of further LCDS/REDD + Activities”… Mr. Editor, I wish to raise the following in relation to the APA’s letter to the Norwegian Agency for development and cooperation. (1) The APA’s letter is political, wicked, mischievous, damaging, misleading and presumptuous designed to deliberately bring to a halt the LCDS/REDD+ process in Guyana. The time has come for the APA to be placed under the microscope by the people of Guyana and more particularly the Amerindian community to determine its patriotism and its seriousness in promoting the development of indigenous peoples communities in Guyana.
By Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, 15 April 2010 | Indonesia will rewrite rules on how developers of forest preservation projects that earn valuable carbon credits must share their profits with the government and local communities, a finance ministry official said on Thursday… Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry released a decree last year under which REDD project developers would have to share between 20 and 70 percent of profits with local communities, depending on the type of forest, while between 10 and 50 percent of profits would be shared with the government. “We have asked for this decree to be revised because some articles in it should be discussed more intensively between the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Forestry,” said Noeroso L. Wahyudi, a senior Finance Ministry official. “We need to justify this formula so it can be implemented properly.”
16 April 2010
On the Level: Car Free Blog, 16 April 2010 | So last night at a cocktail party at 111 Minna for conference attendees put on by Brighter Planet, an offset company looking to open up west coast markets, I posed the question to Patty, the Executive Director of Brighter Planet who was on the panel… “given that the carbon trading and offsetting industry are increasingly in disrepute over a number of scandals and abuses, such as the multi-million euro carbon trade scam uncovered on Tuesday by the Spanish authorities and given that James Hansen, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric scientists is now saying that carbon trading and offsets ‘are designed to perpetuate business-as-usual and squander the precious time needed to prevent the crossing of disastrous ‘tipping points’.’ Given all that, what is Brighter Planet doing to transition away from the sale of offsets?”
Voice of Indonesia news, 16 April 2010 | Developing countries grouped in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have agreed to discuss several substances of climate change issues put in the Copenhagen Accord, an official said. Speaking to the press here on Thursday, Executive Chairman of the National Council for Climate Change (DNPI) Rachmat Witoelar said although almost all developing nations were opposed to the accord they had planned to discuss several substances of climate change issues in the accord. “The several issues include preventing the global temperature rise of 2 degree Celcius, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), adaptation and mitigation,” he said commenting on the results of the climate change talks held in Bonn, Germany on April 9-11.
By David Fogarty, Reuters, 16 April 2010 | A U.N.-backed forest preservation scheme could become too valuable and complex, raising the risk local communities, the very people seen as key to the scheme’s success, could be shut out, scientists say… That same demand could also undermine a major shift in the way forests have been managed in poorer nations, where cash-strapped national governments have given local communities and administrations more rights and powers to run their forests. Such “decentralized” management has been shown to boost forest carbon storage and result in better incomes in a number of developing nations, say Edward Webb and Jacob Phelps of the National University of Singapore. The scientists, along with co-author Arun Agrawal of the University of Michigan, in a study published in Friday’s issue of the Journal Science, looked at how the rush for REDD could affect local management and governance of forests.
Guyana Chronicle, 19 April 2010 | The University of Guyana, in collaboration with the British High Commission, hosted a panel discussion at the Regency Suites Hotel Wednesday, with specific emphasis on Climate Change -challenges and opportunities for Guyana. The panellists were Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud; Executive Director, Conservation International Guyana, Dr. David Singh; Chief Executive Officer (ag), Guyana Energy Agency, Mahender Sharma; People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) member Winston Murray; and Major General (retired), Joseph Singh.
17 April 2010
Guyana Chronicle, 17 April 2010 | The Office of Climate Change (OCC) has noted several recent attempts to mislead the public on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). There have been efforts by several members of the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee (MSSC), including Toshao Yvonne Pearson, Chairperson of the National Toshaos Council, and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Monitor, Ms Jocelyn Dow, to address the misconceptions about the LCDS.
18 April 2010
By Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 18 April 2010 | This heightened international contention is mirrored in Guyana, particularly with the boiling controversy among Amerindian stakeholders. I shall address this controversy directly, where appropriate, as my assessment of the LCDS proceeds. I hasten to note at this juncture that the global controversy between the United States and China must be resolved if the threat of global warming and climate change is to be successfully tackled by the international community. By the same token, I would argue, if the Amerindian communities are to avoid being shafted by the LCDS and its outcomes, they too must resolve their differences now and seek a unified way forward. I believe that like the global controversy, a successful way forward can only be forged on the basis of a clear and fully informed understanding of the central dynamic at work in the global climate problem.
By Will Hutton, The Observer, 18 April 2010 | The global financial crisis, it is now clear, was caused not just by the bankers’ colossal mismanagement. No, it was due also to the new financial complexity offering up the opportunity for widespread, systemic fraud. Friday’s announcement that the world’s most famous investment bank, Goldman Sachs, is to face civil charges for fraud brought by the American regulator is but the latest of a series of investigations that have been launched, arrests made and charges made against financial institutions around the world. Big Finance in the 21st century turns out to have been Big Fraud.