Here’s the round up of the news on REDD from last week, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). For those who can’t wait until Monday (or Tuesday) for their REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is usually updated daily: REDD in the news.
By Sarah Terry-Cobo, Carbon Watch, May 2010 | Are REDD projects capitalizing on forests that would have been left standing anyway? It is important to establish whether a landowner would have cut down the trees without any incentives to keep them standing, that is, the likelihood of “additionality.” For example, in his research of forests in Costa Rica (pdf), Duke University professor Alexander Pfaff saw instances in which farmers were paid not to cut down forests — even though they would not have cut them down anyway. Pfaff says, “If you weren’t going to clear the forest and I still pay you, [the project has] changed nothing.” To make it worthwhile for landowners to participate, the payment for an intact tract of land must be higher than what a landowner would make from cutting down the trees or replacing them with grazing fields or crops.
By Matthew Vree, Frontline, PBS, May 2010 | [R-M: short profiles of 10 forest carbon projects: Ulu Masen, Indonesia; Central Kalimantan Peatland Project, Indonesia; Ankeniheny-Zahamena-Mantadia Biodiversity Conservation Corridor and Restoration Project, Madagascar; Makira Forest Area Conservation Project, Madagascar; Noel Kempff Climate Action Project (NKCAP), Bolivia; Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project, Peru; Guaraquecaba Environmental Protection Area, Brazil; Juma Reserve REDD Project, Brazil; Protecting a Native Forest in Tasmania, Australia; Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), Guatemala.]
carbonowontok.org, May 2010 | WE asked 50 Brokers and End Users around the world what their questions and issues were with respect to considering PNG Forestry based duel verified Carbon Credits (VER’s / VCU’s) as their offset-of-choice. Here’s what they asked …… and what we answered. Q – In the absence of a UNFCCC agreement for REDD or REDD+, how does PNG intend to create it’s carbon credits? A – PNG is using the world-standard “Improved Forestry Management” (IFM) protocol as created by the Voluntary Carbon Standard under the Agriculture, Forestry, and Land Use (AFoLU), as well as the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) protocol for social benefit. Google “VCS”, and “CCBA” for specifics.
Environmental Defense Fund, May 2010 | Bringing efforts to stop deforestation into a global system and a soundly constructed global carbon market will provide greater transparency and protections at both local and national levels. Regulated markets demand the accurate, transparent monitoring and measurement that today’s satellite observing technology can deliver… Central to REDD’s success are the indigenous peoples who inhabit and protect much of the world’s tropical forested area. Their livelihoods and cultures are put at risk when forests are destroyed, so they have a great deal to gain from the REDD approach. In short, REDD is the best way to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation, contribute to sustainable livelihoods for indigenous peoples and conserve tropical biodiversity on a large scale. It must be implemented now, before the world’s remaining tropical forests go up in smoke.
FAO, May 2010 | Lessons learned for UN-REDD Programme processing a) Internal government approval processes are often lengthy, so opportunities to shorten the process through parallel processing of documents need to be explored. b) As Viet Nam was the first UN-REDD programme country to approach project signature, detailed discussions concerning principles and practices of implementation had not previously been discussed. This impacted the speed at which the Viet Nam documents could be processed; other countries will benefit from these discussions having taken place in the context of Viet Nam. c) The rapidly evolving REDD international negotiation and policy environment, and the desire of many development partners to support REDD readiness makes it very difficult for the JP document to remain up-to-date. At some point, an acceptance that new developments will not be reflected in the document, but can be addressed during the inception workshop needs to be reached.
novedadesera blog, May 2010 | Sustainable management of forests is critical to the World Bank Group’s mission because of forests’ contribution to the livelihoods of the poor, the potential they offer for economic development, and the essential global environmental services they provide. Since the World Bank Group adopted a more proactive engagement in forests, embodied in the 2002 Forest Strategy, the forest portfolio has grown steadily from just $53 million in FY04 to $678 million in FY09.
Yeang Donal, May 2010 | Official in Oddar Meanchey province on Monday began relocating a group of 200 families living in a protected forest area near Samraong town, ending a standoff that led to a violent altercation between villagers and Forestry Department workers in March, officials said. Thon Nol, the governor of Samraong town, said 100 families would be moved to Bansay Reak commune, that 50 families would be moved to Konkriel commune, and that all would receive 30-by-40-metre plots of land. The other 50 families will be moved to an as-yet-unbuilt military base in Oddar Meanchey, Thon Nol added. He said officials hoped to move quickly in light of the fact that the rainy season is approaching.
Bretton Woods Project, April 2010 | Main NGO points: – The Bank’s role in the forestry sector has tended to support practices supporting deforestation and there is a danger of the same being embodied in the way Bank sets up REDD activities. – There are also concerns that forestry funds are being placed outside of the Forest Investment Program (FIP) and Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) which have not yet shown if they will be beneficial. However outside these funds, finance for forestry is likely to replicate deforestation and logging practices. Officials’ response: We agree that’s a clear concern, although in general there has been good progress on national REDD strategies, which should form part of broader low-carbon development strategies.
India, Submission to AWG-LCA, 2010 | There should be a comprehensive approach to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD) that includes conservation, afforestation and sustainable management of forests. REDD+ should be financed with public funds and a dependence on carbon markets should not be a stumbling block to mitigation and adaptation efforts in the forestry sector… Fast start funds for mitigation and forestry‐related activities should also not remain confined to REDD but should simultaneously cover the sustainable forest management and increase in forestry cover.
Australia, Submission to AWG-LCA, 2010 | In Australia’s view, the core elements of this framework are: … establishment of new mechanisms, including a sectoral market mechanism incorporating a REDD market mechanism, to assist developing country Parties to take mitigation actions that contribute a net mitigation benefit; … Substantive progress was made on REDD+ at Copenhagen. The text on REDD+ in Annex V of FCCC/CP/2010/2 reflects this progress and is a sound basis for future negotiations on REDD+. In order to operationalise a REDD+ mechanism under the UNFCCC, significant progress on carbon markets and the aspects of measurement, reporting and verification that relate to REDD+ will be necessary.
Forest Trends, May 2010 | Forest Trends, the United States Agency for International Development of the – USAID, the Support Unit of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon – ICAA, the Environmental Research Institute of Amazonia – IPAM, the Partnership for Conservation of the Amazon Basin – ACCA and the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law – SPDA, sponsored by the Moore Foundation, the United Nations Program for Development – UNDP and the Global Environment Facility – GEFAnd the collaboration of the World Agroforestry Centre – ICRAF and the National Service of Protected Areas of Peru SERNAP invite you to: Course Payment for Environmental Services and REDD for Community Leaders (24-27 May 2010). [R-M: this is a web translation of the original site.]
10 May 2010
Roy Cabonegro’s Green Political Opinions, 10 May 2010 | The main strategy for this campaign is by focusing on mobilizing local citizens groups, relevant national Civil Society Organizations (CSO) groups. With the local Partido Kalikasan (PK) groups in the lead, local and national development planning and implementation will make sure critical climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are implemented. To ensure impact we will be using the local and related national budget processes, and capacity building for REDD (Reduce Carbon Emission from deforestation and forest degradation) mechanism implementation as key “handles” or indicators of success for the project.
By Steve Zwick, 10 May 2010 | “On the climate-change side, they’ll be looking at REDD-plus,” says Gary Steindlegger, Manager of WWF International’s Forest Programme, referring to UNFCCC efforts to reach agreement on how to use market mechanisms to incentivize Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degratation (REDD), as well as well as for promoting forest conservation, enhancement of forest carbon stocks, and sustainable forest management (REDD-plus). “The key question is how to properly design REDD-plus so as to convince the respective decision-makers to adopt these properly-designed REDD-plus programs in their processes,” adds Steindlegger.
11 May 2010
By Mark Shapiro, Carbon Watch, 11 May 2010 | FRONTLINE/World journeys to the remote rainforests of Brazil, where several American companies have been on the hunt for an increasingly valuable new commodity — carbon. But investing in big tracts of forest in order to soak up the carbon they may have to account for in proposed energy legislation is not without its costs. [R-M: Video looking at two REDD-type projects: Guaraquecaba and Juma, both in Brazil.]
Forest Carbon Portal, 11 May 2010 | Community Forestry International (CFI), in partnership with Terra Global Capital (TGC), recently published a case study describing experiences emerging from the design and carbon development of one of the world’s first community-based REDD+ projects in Oddar Meanchey Province, Cambodia. This 67,783 hectare project involves 13 community forestry groups comprised of 58 villages. The project is expected to sequester 7.1 million metric tons of CO2 over thirty years, reducing poverty among ten thousand participating households. The project methodology and design are seeking validation under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA ) standards.
By Richard Black, BBC, 11 May 2010 | Into that scene comes The Hartwell Paper, a free-standing (and, according to its authors, free-thinking) alternative analysis not only of the prescription, but also of the malaise. Out goes the framing of climate change as an “environmental problem” that requires a global wrapping of sack-cloth and ashes to “solve”. Out goes an initial focus on carbon dioxide; out go carbon trading, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), REDD and all the other measures that give the Kyoto Protocol and its putative successor the appearance of having been designed by Escher on acid.
Jakarta Post, 11 May 2010 | UN climate adviser George Soros has agreed to a proposal made by Indonesia to establish a local agency that would manage international support for the country’s efforts to tackle climate change. The agency would be headed by senior government official Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Indonesia’s Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said after a meeting between Soros and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Monday. “The agency will manage local and international funds and monitor, report on and verify agreed projects,” Zulkifli said. In a press conference, Soros said Indonesia was justified in receiving international grants and loans in return for protecting its forests and peat land.
By Fitrian Ardiansyah (WWF), Jakarta Post, 11 May 2010 | The President’s September 2009 announcement the country would cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has placed Indonesia in the limelight. Many countries and multilateral organizations have been lining up to help Indonesia reach its objective. Australia, Norway, the UK, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, France and Denmark have promised to help Indonesia address climate change, notably in the forestry and energy sectors, as well as in activities involving land use. These countries, along with others, have also taken a growing interest in helping Indonesia, given it is home to the world’s third largest forest area and has substantially increased its energy demand… There are sizeable interests in supporting projects on the ground (e.g. community forestry, REDD demonstration/pilots and micro-financing for rural electricity).
12 May 2010
Radio Australia, 12 May 2010 | FRANCIS SEYMOUR: Most of the analyses that have been done suggest that the cost of avoiding much deforestation and forest degradation is significantly less than the cost of other emissions mitigation opportunities and they don’t require any new technologies. They’re basically ready to go and so they, in a sense, can help buy the world time… ANDREW MACINTOSH: With the emissions trading scheme now dead it looks like if the Government wants to get a REDD scheme up internationally that it’s going to have to be the primary funder of this, and by “it” it really turns into every taxpayer. So every taxpayer is basically paying for the pollution offsets for the polluters domestically and internationally.
By Anandi Sharan, Ars Notoria blog, 12 May 2010 | Added to this there are now experimental REDD projects. These are doubly disgusting because so far there is no forestry conservation allowed under the CDM – only afforestation and reforestation, and even these are limping along and the prices are very low. G77 and China have been arguing for 20 years that we would be willing to include forest conservation in carbon trading provided there were legally binding emission reduction targets in Annex 1 countries… All this is taking place just at a time in India, for example, when we got the Forest Rights Act passed and can now hand over 70 million hectares of forest land to forest dwellers and tribals. This will transform Indian class relations but we may not get there in time if all this global money floods in to destroy our forest by enterng into deals with the forest department mafia. There are thus many and multi-layered and intricate reasons why these deals are enormously damaging.
carbonpositive.net, 12 May 2010 | A new guidebook for forest carbon project developers and financiers aims to help kick-start the sector. “Bringing forest carbon projects to market” recognises a much under-utilised sector of carbon reduction effort and identifies opportunities for profitable forest carbon project development. The guide was authored by a team at French environmental consultants ONF International and funded by UN Environment Programme’s Department of Technology, Industry and Economics, the UNEP Risoe Centre, the French Development Agency (AFD), and the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund.
Jakarta Post, 12 May 2010 | Former forestry minister MS Kaban was “obstinate” in procuring a radio communication system for the ministry, a project allegedly riddled with graft – to the tune of Rp 730 billion (US$80.3 million), a court heard Tuesday. During the hearing, Yusuf Erwin Faishal, the former head of the House of Representative’s Commission IV overseeing forestry, took to the witness stand and told the Corruption Court that Kaban had pushed for the budget for the project to be approved. “[Kaban] was obstinate about expanding the procurement project. [The radio communication system] was needed to improve communication as a part of the ministry’s effort to fight illegal logging,” he said. The tender for the procurement project was won by PT Masaro Radiokom in 2007. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named the company’s owner, businessman Anggoro Widjojo, a suspect in the case.
13 May 2010
Reuters, 13 May 2010 | A compromise U.S. climate bill unveiled on Wednesday would allow polluters to offset up to 2 billion tons of their carbon dioxide emissions, under a proposed emissions trading scheme… The bill backed a U.N. scheme called reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) that could usher in a global trade in carbon offsets from forest preservation.
Reuters, 13 May 2010 | Forests have a growing value as a result of climate policies, but the complexity of carbon markets coupled with the effects of the financial crisis are deterring investment, investors and analysts said in London on Thursday… For managers of natural and virgin forests, new carbon markets to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) are emerging to pay owners not to chop down trees. But investors said they were deterred by the complexity of those new markets, and were wary of making investments in plantation forests for bio-energy. “We see potential in the REDD process, but from an investor perspective it’s difficult to make a convincing case right now,” said Marko Katila, a partner at Finland-based timber fund Dasos Capital, which raises money from institutional investors.
Daily News, 13 May 2010 | The Norwegian government has already allocated NOK 41.4 (approx. 7.8bn/-) through REDD initiative to support Tanzania’s preparedness to benefit from the initiative. One of the beneficiaries of the Norwegian support is Kilwa based Mpingo Conservation Project. MCP’s International Coordinator, Steve Ball told ‘Daily News’ recently that under REDD initiative, villagers in the country will get payment for not cutting down trees to meet their energy needs. ”Stopping deforestation would therefore make a big difference to our ability to avert catastrophic climate change, as well as have obvious other co-benefits for biodiversity conservation,” Mr. Ball said. It is expected that an international treaty for trading in carbon credits secured through REDD activities will come into force from 1st Jan 2013 when the existing Kyoto Protocol is due to expire.
By Heather McGray, World Resources Institute, 13 May 2010 | In the UNFCCC climate negotiations, “adaptation” refers to the changes communities and countries will need to make in order to prepare for and respond to the effects of a changing climate. These responses vary greatly, from increased flood protection, to new agricultural practices, to improved environmental monitoring, and entirely new water governance structures. Poor countries will need to adapt most of all, since limitations in their economic, technical, and human resources make them more vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change… Conspicuously absent in the Copenhagen Accord is the creation of a mechanism for supporting adaptation akin to those created for technology and REDD-plus. This could be a signal that adaptation may get less attention under the Copenhagen Accord than other issues and is less of a priority for the Parties who led in the Copenhagen Accord negotiations.
IISD, 13 May 2010 | The optimism that accompanied the first two days of negotiations started to fade away as delegates got “lost in translation” struggling to find compromise language for the recommendation on biodiversity and climate change. Similar difficulties surfaced in discussions on forest biodiversity, which got stuck on REDD and biodiversity safeguards. The timing of ongoing negotiations at CBD and UNFCCC may be one of the causes of the impasse, and lack of flexibility of some parties another. Some are hoping that the imminent release of the Chairs’ text for the UNFCCC Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action will bring some inspiration to CBD negotiators.
redd-plus.com, 13 May 2010 | The American Power Act (APA), a draft bill proposing a cap and trade system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was introduced yesterday in the US Senate by its two main sponsors, John Kerry (D) and Joseph Lieberman (I).The bill aims to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020 and by over 80% by 2050. A similar piece of climate and energy legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, better known as ‘Waxman-Markey’ after its sponsors, was approved by the House of Representatives in June of last year… Which brings us to the subject of REDD+ and what exactly this 987-page monster may ultimately mean for the world’s forests. To help readers make sense of this, I have prepared a list of APA’s top 10 implications for REDD. I will do my best to update this list as the bill is revised and, hopefully, is reconciled with Waxman-Markey, whose provisions would of course have their own set of implications for REDD+.
By Michael Szabo, Reuters, 13 May 2010 | A U.S. Senate climate bill, unveiled on Wednesday, has garnered general support from European carbon market players, though some have raised concerns over a few components of the proposed legislation. The draft bill, to be tabled by Democratic Senator John Kerry and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, would introduce a price collar to curb wild volatility and restricts participation by parts of the financial sector. “They want to avoid giving Wall Street a new market with which they can play,” said Alessandro Vitelli, a director at London-based carbon market analysts IDEAcarbon. The bill faces tough opposition from Republicans and even some Democrats, and as November’s midterm elections are likely to result in a further dilution of Democrats’ powers in Congress, its backers are keen to get it through quickly.
14 May 2010
By Matilda Lee, The Ecologist, 14 May 2010 | Oxford Economics Professor and former head of Development Research at the World Bank, Paul Collier on reconciling romantic environmentalism and mainstream economics to help poor countries… “The amount of money that could come into poor countries is staggering – it dwarfs aid and everything else. One of my nightmares is the idea that the world uses its power over these poor countries to inflict on them solutions that we are not prepared to take ourselves. If future carbon is going to be a problem then the right answer is to reduce our emissions, but we should do that by taxing the activities which use carbon. That would make coal much less valuable. A lot of the coal in low-income countries would be left in the ground. Oil, no – it’s too valuable.”
carbonpositive.net, 14 May 2010 | The big question mark for the forest carbon project development sector is what role there will be for project-based activity in international REDD activity, that is, efforts to halt tropical deforestation in developing countries by making carbon payments from the US and other developed nations. Instead of private sector and some NGOs working up REDD activity on a local project by project basis, as is occurring in the voluntary carbon market, the US Senate has been steering towards a system of paying offset credits only on the implementation of large national or regional programmes that tackle deforestation across the whole forest sector of a country or state. And, only if part of a government to government agreement with the US.
By Wally Menne, undercovercop.org, 14 May 2010 | How REDD could Impact on Biodiversity and the Rights of Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples… Will REDD lead to the erosion of human rights? Many believe forest peoples and forest dependant local communities will be dispossessed of their rights of access to and utilisation of forest resources. Although such utilisation is normally small-scale, there is a false perception that it contributes substantially to forest loss… Tree plantations are already being mischievously promoted as a type of ‘Forest’, which can be used to substitute for real forests. Although this clearly ignores the importance of biodiversity in forests, and the negative impacts of plantations on water resources, this misconception has been actively encouraged by the FAO, the UNFF, the UNFCCC, and the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) through the use of misleading definitions and terminology – e.g. ‘planted forests’.
15 May 2010
Press release, Ecological Society of America, 13 May 2010 | While the U.S. and other world leaders consider options for offsetting carbon emissions, it is important to take into account the role forests play in the global carbon cycle, say scientists in a paper published in the spring edition of Issues in Ecology. Currently, the carbon stored in forests and harvested wood products offsets 12-19 percent of U.S. fossil fuel emissions—growth primarily the result of recovery from the large scale harvesting that occurred around 100 years ago… “Several strategies for offsetting carbon emissions have been proposed or are currently being implemented in the U.S.,” says Mike Ryan from the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and lead author of the paper. “Some of the important tradeoffs are worth mentioning because many people have viewed forests as a simple and uncomplicated partial solution to reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, and they are not.”
Kaieteur News, 15 May 2010 | President Bharrat Jagdeo used his speech at a ceremony his Ministers and friends organised to fete him on winning the UN’s highest environmental honour, to take a swipe at newspaper writers and at the Amerindian People’s Association (APA)… Huge billboards emblazoned with a photo of the President bearing the title “Champion of the Earth” has popped up around the country, and it is unclear who has funded these as well and whether permission was sought to erect them much the same when billboards popped up recently in support for a third term for the President… Jagdeo said that the APA was too busy to take part in the multi-stakeholder steering committee for those consultations. The President boasted that the consultations were unlike any other conducted anywhere in the world. “We made it clear that indigenous people’s rights would be respected and that there would be free, prior and informed consent,” Jagdeo stated.
By Khadija Sharife, Huffington Post, 15 May 2010 | All carbon is not created equal: One ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) generated in New York from several McDonalds burgers, for instance, clocking in at 16kg per 1kg of meat, is not the equivalent of one ton of CO2 emitted in a country like South Africa, where energy generated from coal allegedly provides basic services such as electricity. The difference, though blurred by mainstream media that reduces the discourse to the democratization of pollution impacts (strictly observed between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries) is that of extravagant carbon versus survival carbon. Thankfully, the developed nations that engage in the process of carbon-intensive industrialization declare that they have found an equitable solution so rational it has never been put to a vote: Carbon trading.
Jakarta Post, 15 May 2010 | Activists from environmental group Greenpeace have said that three ministers told them the government would stop issuing new permits to convert peatland. Greenpeace made the announcement after speaking with Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Agriculture Minister Suswono in separate closed-door meetings earlier this week. “Both have promised to halt new permits for peatland conversion, including in areas that are less than three meters deep,” Joko Arif, a Greenpeace forest campaigner, told The Jakarta Post on Friday. “We hope Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta will follow through on the issue of *producing a* regulation to protect peatland.” A current draft of a government regulation says peatlands less than three meters deep can be converted to become any of 10 possibilities, including, plantations, fish farms, residential areas or mining or transmigration areas.
16 May 2010
AFP, 16 May 2010 | Jaang is typical of the tribesmen who work for PT Belayan River Timber at its 97,500-hectare (241,000-acre) concession near Samarinda on southeastern Borneo. With assistance from the US-based Nature Conservancy (TNC), the company is seeking to have its timber products certified by the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as sustainably harvested. Key to its strategy is the adoption of a cable system to pull felled trees from the forest, rather than using bulldozers that cut a four-metre (12-foot) path of destruction wherever they go. FSC certification will enable Belayan River Timber to sell its products more easily in Europe and the United States, where import rules have recently been tightened to stem demand for cheap, illegal timber. But experts agree that certification alone is not going to stop Indonesia’s forests disappearing at a rate of about 300 football fields an hour, according to TNC estimates.
Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 16 May 2010 | There are already at last count over 200 different types of projects falling into this segment of the carbon market under the CDM. For readers’ convenience, these can be grouped into five very broad categories, as follows: 1) projects concerned with renewable energy (for example solar, wind, hydro and bio fuels alternative energy projects); 2) projects focusing on the abatement of methane gases; 3) projects concentrating on improved energy efficiency; 4) reforestation projects; and 5) fuel-switching ones.