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REDD in the news: 24-30 May 2010

REDD in the news: 24-30 May 2010

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 for their REDD news, REDD-Monitor’s news page is updated daily: REDD in the news.

India’s forests as carbon sinks

By Subrat Kumar Sahu,, May 2010 | A National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) position paper titled ‘Imaginary Sinks: India’s REDD Ambitions’ states: “This opportunity becomes a windfall with the advent of REDD, or the proposal that CDM projects should cover the Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation scenario, which means if a project reduces any emissions caused by deforestation and degradation of forests, it should get CDM status. India now contends that it should be given carbon credits for both its old and new forests.” Sensing an opportunity here, the country has an ambitious programme of raising 30 million hectares of new plantations on both ‘degraded’ lands and farmlands, unleashing a fresh burden on food security. All this leads to a torrent of questions. To list only a few …

GEF Sustainable Forest Management & REDD+ Investment Program

GEF, no date | Through its pilot SFM Program in GEF-4 (2007–2010), the GEF has taken early action in the REDD+ and LULUCF arenas by providing resources for pilot projects focusing on cross-sectoral cooperation. For the next funding cycle (GEF-5), and in line with the Copenhagen Accord that calls for “…substantial finance to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation…” the GEF will expand its support to actions reducing deforestation and provide up to $1 billion for the implementation of a dedicated SFM/REDD+ Program throughout the period 2010–2014… In 2007, the GEF launched the Tropical Forest Account … The $40 million initiative focused on the three regions of large and mainly intact tropical forests (Amazonia, the Congo Basin, and Papua New Guinea/Borneo) and gave rise to comprehensive projects and programs, such as the GEF Strategic Program for Sustainable Forest Management in the Congo Basin.

UN-REDD Newsletter 8

UN-REDD, May 2010 | This week, the Government of Norway will host the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, which will seek to establish an interim partnership arrangement for REDD+. Conference organizers have written, “This partnership would aim to ensure rapid implementation of a global coordinated effort to preserve the world’s tropical forests, in line with UNFCCC decisions.” The UN-REDD Programme supports this process, motivated by our own commitment to ensure country-led REDD+ initiatives around the world continue to be successful. Countries have called for a better, more streamlined approach to support their REDD+ strategies… and we have listened.

Workshop Forest Governance, Decentralisation and REDD in Latin America

CIFOR, May 2010 | August 30 ~ September 04, Mexico city, Mexico, Organised by: A country-led initiative by the governments of Mexico and Switzerland in support of the UN Forum on Forests and CIFOR. Regionally-focussed Mexico Workshop will serve as the Latin American chapter of ongoing series of discussions on decentralisation and forest governance. * The results from the Mexico Workshop are expected to directly feed into the ninth session of UNFF. Scheduled or early 2011 the session’s theme is ‘Forests for people, livelihoods and poverty eradication’.

Case Studies on Measuring and Assessing Forest Degradation

Forest Resources Assessment Working Paper 156, FAO, December 2009 | This working paper suggests that degradation is a form of (unsustainable) forest management and that measures to counter degradation, in particular Community Forest Management (CFM) lead not only to reduction in degradation but to forest enhancement as well. While reduced degradation is to be credited and rewarded under a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) mechanism, it may in fact be more important to measure and reward the increases in carbon stock due to the enhanced growth than the decreases in emissions due to reducing the degradation. Communities are well able to make measurements of changing stock using standard forest inventory methods and mapping techniques based on handheld Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

Business sector embraces forest carbon offsets

ENDS report 424, May 2010 | Forest carbon offsets appear to be gradually shedding their poor image on environmental integrity. European firms and carbon markets have warmed to the concept of forest carbon offsets and are already investing, according to a report published by carbon market specialists Ecosecurities on 4 May. But forest schemes have yet to be accepted in compliance markets and concerns over the environmental integrity of some investment portfolios still exist… Ecosecurities’ findings reflect these advances in negotiations on the monitoring, reporting, verification and sustainability of forest offset projects. These issues, along with the numbers of stakeholders involved, have held back expansion of REDD crediting schemes in the voluntary market. [R-M: Subscription required.]

24 May 2010

Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP

By Joe Stephens, Washington Post, 24 May 2010 | [T]he Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of its business partners. The Conservancy also has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years… Years ago, worried officials quietly assembled focus groups and found that most members saw a partnership with BP as “inappropriate.” The 2001 study, obtained by The Washington Post, found that many Conservancy members felt a relationship with an oil company was “inherently incompatible.” And to a minority of members, accepting cash from these types of companies was viewed as “the equivalent of a payoff.”

President to attend climate change and forest conference in Oslo

Antara News, 24 May 2010 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to attend an international conference on climate change and forests in Oslo, Norway, on May 26-27, presidential spokesman Dino Pati Djalal said. The president would leave for the conference upon an invitation from Norway`s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg. “During the conference attended by 40 delegates representing 50 countries, President Yudhoyono will act as co-chair accompanying Prime Minister Stoltenberg as the host of the conference,” Dino said here on Monday adding that some country leaders already confirmed their attendance were from Denmark, Guyana and Gabon.

First forest carbon improvement plan approved, 24 May 2010 | US environmental consultancy EcoTrust has won approval for the first carbon offset project methodology in improved forest management (IFM) under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). IFM is a relatively new field of carbon crediting activity taking on heightened importance following the widening of the international REDD initiative on deforestation to include forest restoration and sustainable forest management – so called REDD-plus… The methodology applies to forestry activity involving clear-cut or patch-cut practices and any project must achieve Forestry Stewardship Council certification.

Trees Fare Well in Latest US Climate Bill

By John Vidaurrazaga, Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 May 2010 | It’s been a good run for trees in climate-change talks, and that run continues with the latest climate bill introduced two weeks ago in the US Senate (read the full discussion draft here). For proof, just check out the differences between how the new American Power Act treats programs that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) compared to its predecessor the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES). “We all want to see it go through,” says Jeff Horowitz, founder and president of Avoided Deforestation Partners, “it takes everybody to pitch in – it’s a matter of getting the necessary 60 votes.”

The answer is “42″

By W. Frederick Zimmerman, Global Data Hound, 24 May 2010 | An 800-pound gorilla named REDD is about to reshape the world of biodiversity conservation… The purpose of REDD is to reduce net carbon flux in the global atmosphere by providing financial motivation for preserving forests and other carbon sinks. The reason why REDD has everyone’s attention is simple: money talks… There is a large body of literature exploring the science of the as yet un-negotiated REDD mechanism, but that is outside the scope of this post. Here we will focus on the single issue of whether REDD will help or harm efforts at biodiversity preservation… It may seem intuitive that protecting forests also protects biodiversity; however, a close look at the data and methods used by Strassburg et al. reveals a more complex and nuanced story.

RI seeks ‘breakthrough’ REDD-Plus action in Oslo

By Erwida Maulia, Jakarta Post, 24 May 2010 | Indonesia is set to make a “breakthrough” in global climate change deals as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono kicks off on Tuesday evening his three-day visit to Oslo for climate and forestry meetings. Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said Monday in Jakarta the President would specifically seeking to put the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) Plus scheme into real actions by sealing a deal with Norway. REDD Plus is a scheme in which forestry countries managing to preserve their forests will be given incentives for doing so, and is part of the Copenhagen Accord agreed by countries attending the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December last year. “But, although REDD Plus has been included in the Copenhagen Accord, in reality it hasn’t been put into any actions; there’s no implementation of it yet,” Dino addressed a press conference at the Presidential Office.

Indonesia, Norway to Sign $1b Forestry Deal

By Camelia Pasandaran & Fidelis E Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 24 May 2010 | Indonesia and Norway are expected to sign a $1 billion agreement on the forestry sector at a two-day meeting in Oslo this week, a senior Indonesian official said on Monday. The Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to be attended by at least 10 heads of states from countries with rain forests. The conference aims to come up with a nonbinding framework on the UN-backed carbon trading mechanism known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The framework will be called REDD-plus Partnerships. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will co-chair the Oslo meeting.

First forest carbon improvement plan approved, 24 May 2010 | US environmental consultancy EcoTrust has won approval for the first carbon offset project methodology in improved forest management (IFM) under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS). IFM is a relatively new field of carbon crediting activity taking on heightened importance following the widening of the international REDD initiative on deforestation to include forest restoration and sustainable forest management – so called REDD-plus. Ecotrust confirmed last week the approval of its proposed project methodology for increasing carbon storage in forests sustainably-managed for timber supply by extending the rotation age of trees for harvest. The methodology passed the VCS’s double approval process for new carbon offsetting project approaches, which requires two independent third-party assessments.

90 Scientists Urge Congress Not to ‘Cook the Books’ in CO2 Accounting for Biofuels, Other Bioenergy Sources

PR Newswire, 24 May 2010 | Ninety of America’s leading scientists today urged U.S. House and Senate leaders to make sure that any climate/energy bill or regulation accurately accounts for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when it comes to bioenergy, including biofuels such as ethanol… They write: “Replacement of fossil fuels with bioenergy does not directly stop carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes or smokestacks. Although fossil fuel emissions are reduced or eliminated, the combustion of biomass replaces fossil emissions with its own emissions (which may even be higher per unit of energy because of the lower energy to carbon ratio of biomass).”

25 May 2010

Indonesia to join REDD partnership in Oslo meeting

Erwida Maulia and Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 25 May 2010 | “President Yudhoyono will meet with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to sign a letter of intent [LOI] on partnership in the forestry sector,” he said. “The partnership will signify the first international support for the implementation of REDD plus.” Yudhoyono’s meeting with Stoltenberg is slated for Wednesday… Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said separately that leaders from 10 countries would launch the REDD plus partnerships at the Oslo conference on May 27. He said Indonesia would also sign a LOI on a $1 billion financial pledge with the government of Norway. “The LOI will be signed by Forestry Minister [Zulkifli Hasan] and witnessed by President Yudhoyono,” Gusti said Monday. Environment Ministry expert staff and senior negotiator on climate talks, Liana Bratasida, said REDD partnerships aimed to seek solutions on how to realize financial pledges made during the Copenhagen summit.

Govt to use Norwegian aid to save peatland forests

Antara News, 25 May 2010 | The government plans to direct climate change aid committment from Norway worth US$1 billion for saving peatland forests in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua, Gusti M Hatta said. “We will direct it for saving peatland forests and it will be discussed with governors. We are made more optimistic by the aid,” the environment minister said here on Monday. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono plans to go to Oslo, Norway on May 27 to attend an international conference on climate change and forests to be attended by representatives from dozens of countries. Along with Norway prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, the Indonesian president would lead the conference which would discuss mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

Africa Eyes Carbon Market

World Bank, 25 May 2010 | As Carbon Expo 2010 opens this week in Cologne, Germany, carbon traders face an uncertain future and lower prices, with a new global climate change agreement still up in the air. But countries in sub-Saharan Africa remain optimistic that preserving and rejuvenating their forests, among other climate-friendly efforts, will someday bring revenues as well as environmental and other quality-of-life benefits. In the highlands south of Mount Kenya, for instance, a small-scale tree-planting project operated by the Green Belt Movement is helping local people increase their food supply, and build skills and incomes while replenishing forests lost over time to illegal logging… “There is interest from Africans and there is interest from industrialized countries,” says [Ellysar] Baroudy [World Bank Senior Carbon Specialist and Head, BioCarbon Fund]. “And it’s not just in forestry projects — there is big interest in Africa for everything.”

Economy to get US$111M boost over next two years – President Jagdeo

By Leonard Gildarie, Kaieteur News, 25 May 2010 | Guyana continues to eye the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) as a means to a successful economy. Yesterday saw the launching of a revised document that unveiled a comprehensive plan to improve the country’s fortunes over the next few years. The launching, at the Umana Yana, Kingston, has come days before President Bharrat Jagdeo is due to visit Norway, European Union, to sign a major agreement that will see Guyana and a number of other countries benefiting from a historic US$5B climate change fund. Speaking to a gathering of diplomats, stakeholders and Cabinet members, Jagdeo announced that LCDS has now taken a new dimension with the consultation period over and an implementation mode now in gear… For the next two years, the President disclosed, the revised LCDS has listed an eight-point strategy which will see up to US$111M being invested.

Speech: The Minister for Environment Republic of Indonesia on REDD Plus in Indonesia for Governors Climate and Forest Taskforce, 25 May 2010 | As you may aware, some of local governments at provincial and district/city levels in Indonesia has signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between them and REDD Plus’ proponents/brokers/initiators/funders. In this regards, I would like to remind all of you that such MoU need to consider the Indonesian sovereignty. Bilateral cooperation should be done by national government. Therefore, national government plans to propose a joint letter to the Indonesian President to prohibit local government at provincial and district/city levels to make arrangement directly with foreign proponents/broker/initiators in relation to REDD Plus.

Oil Washes Up on the Gulf Coast – and Forests as ‘Carbon Markets’

Earthbeat Radio, 25 May 2010 | Investigative reporter Mark Schapiro joins us to discuss his investigation on how forests in Brazil are becoming a commodity on the worldwide ‘carbon market.’ Mark is a senior correspondent for the Center for Investigative Reporting – and his series on the carbon market is for Frontline World. Carbon Nation is a new feature film about the current revolution of entrepreneurs across America who are focusing on clean, renewable energy. We speak to filmmaker Peter Byck about his documentary in which some of these ‘climate pioneers’ don’t even believe that climate change is occurring. Or as one of Byck’s subjects puts it, “even if you’re a greedy bastard and you just want cheap power, you’d still do these things.”

26 May 2010

Govt focuses on forest management to reduce global warming

By Khamphone Syvongxay, Vientiane Times, 26 May 2010 | The government is stepping up forestry management and sustainable protection in cooperation with international organisations, in a bid to reduce deforestation, forest degradation and the impacts of climate change. The government plans to increase national forest coverage to 65 percent by 2015 and 70 percent by 2020, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Mr Sitaheng Rasphon said. He was speaking at a meeting on the Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) initiative in Vientiane yesterday… Mr Sitaheng said the main causes of deforestation in Laos are cutting wood for everyday living purposes, slash and burn cultivation, and illegal timber trading… Laos is dividing the REDD project into three phases: readiness, demonstration and full implementation, according to Forestry Department Deputy Director Mr Khamphay Manivong.

Carbon Finance – State and Trends of the Carbon Market Report 2010

World Bank press release, 26 May 2010 | The latest annual report from the World Bank on the global carbon market showed that in 2009 it grew to $144 billion, up 6% from 2008 despite enduring its most challenging year to date. The global economic crisis negatively impacted both demand and supply sides and, as industrial output plummeted, the demand for carbon assets fell. The State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2010, released today by the World Bank at Carbon Expo in Cologne, also said that on the supply side, the reduction in access to capital made it difficult for many project developers to lock in financing. As a consequence, project origination ground to a halt. [R-M: The report is available here:]

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Reconsidered: ENGOs sign over right to criticize, companies continue to log caribou habitat

By Dawn Paley, The Dominion, 26 May 2010 | An early criticism of the deal was that Indigenous governments and organizations were left out of the creation of the agreement. The public was also left in the dark while the CBFA was negotiated in secret between nine environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and 21 forestry companies… Far from protecting caribou lands in their entirety, the outcome of the CBFA reduces the FPAC affiliate cut in caribou range lands from 756,666 to 684,461 hectares until spring 2012. This means 72,205 hectares of harvesting and road building will be “deferred” to “areas outside of caribou range.” In other words, there is no change in the amount of harvesting, only in the locations where harvesting takes place.

Norway hopes to unlock climate cash to fight tropical deforestation

Reuters, 26 May 2010 | Norway has announced $1bn in aid to protect forests in Indonesia and hopes to forge a partnership to fight climate change… “Reducing deforestation is the biggest, fastest, cheapest way to cut carbon emissions,” the Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, told reporters yesterday. Norway, rich in oil, also formally announced $1bn in aid to Indonesia to help protect forests in the south-east Asian state, using money Oslo previously had pledged as part of its effort to combat climate change. The partnership between donors and forested developing nations will be one of the first signs of action against climate change after the Copenhagen summit failed to deliver a legally binding deal on man-made emissions.

Indonesia, Norway to Seal Deal on Forestry

By Arfi Bambani Amri and Nur Farida Ahniar, VIVAnews, 26 May 2010 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will still emphasize climate change although no assistance is offered by developed countries. Should there be aid from the developed countries, donation would be preferred to loans. “Indonesia will go on with the contribution whether or not there is assistance,” said the President. “We’ve got plans and actions to maintain forests,” he said yesterday, May 25. During his visit to Oslo, Norway, Mr Yudhoyono will seal a deal on forestry and climate change.

Comprehensive adaptation plan to be rolled out in 2010

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 26 May 2010 | Guyana will this year prepare a comprehensive climate change adaptation plan to address the most urgent issues during the period from 2010 to 2015, as outlined in the latest draft of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. The new draft of the LCDS sets out Guyana’s’ adaptation challenges – including US$1 billion in overall infrastructural development needs, and about US$300m of priority requirements… The document said that if a properly scaled REDD + mechanism is agreed upon, Guyana will use part of its payment for forestry services to self-finance adaptation investments. “Until such time, Guyana will access resources as agreed in the Copenhagen Accord for adaptation – specifically Fast Start Funds for 2010-2012, and 2013-2020 financing,” the strategy document said.

Getting women into REDD-plus decision making

By Jan Willem den Besten, Reuters AlertNet, 26 May 2010 | While negotiations on climate change are once more in full swing, many forest nations are busy preparing their REDD-plus strategies and implementing pilot projects… Women in tropical rainforest countries often carry most of the burden of farming and the collection of forest resources. Yet, they are often deprived of decision-making powers and in most cases only own a fraction of the land. Their role in forest resource management needs to be recognized to ensure their full engagement in REDD preparations that are currently under way… “But multi-stakeholder consultations are not an aim in itself,” says Lorena Aguilar Revelo, senior gender adviser of IUCN. “Participation helps local people to gain ownership over the process of REDD planning. Full and equitable engagement of the most vulnerable groups, including women, contributes to the development of more effective and efficient solutions.”

India Aims to Double Its Forest Cover by 2020, 26 May 2010 | India was one of the proponents of the REDD Plus program which provides financial incentives to the developing and poor countries for not only preventing deforestation but also for reforestation efforts. The ministry plans to make the most of these incentives. A special cell would be created within the mission’s directorate to create awareness among the various stakeholders about the REDD Plus program. The cell would also be responsible for chalking out strategies to ensure funding support to various projects through different agencies. Such a move would reduce relieve the Indian government of significant financial burden and would possibly bring more private investors as the government would like to market the forests as a cheap but effective emission reduction tool to the companies and governments of the developed countries. The REDD Plus program would be a significant add-on to the already flourishing business of Clean Development Mechanism in India.

27 May 2010

Indonesia puts moratorium on new forest clearing

Reuters, 27 May 2010 | Indonesia will put a two-year moratorium on new concessions to clear natural forests and peatlands under a deal signed with Norway aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, the government said in a statement… “In the second phase of the partnership, Indonesia is prepared to suspend for two years new concessions for the conversion of peat and natural forest lands,” said the statement issued late on Wednesday after the talks. Sufficient non-forest lands exist for Indonesia to accommodate the growth of its vitally important plantation industries, a major source of livelihoods in Indonesia.” … Previous concessions already granted to clear forest land are likely to still be honoured, since the statement only referred to new concessions… The Indonesia-based Centre for International Forestry Research welcomed the deal, which they said could be “a game-changer in the drive to make REDD a reality”.

Rich nations to up forest aid to $4bln: Norway

AFP, 27 May 2010 | More wealthy nations are to join a fund to fight deforestation, a key factor in global warming, increasing the total pledged to four billion dollars (3.25 billion euros), Norway said Wednesday. During the Copenhagen climate conference last December, six countries — the United States, Norway, Japan, Britain, France and Australia — pledged 3.5 billion dollars to battle deforestation between 2010 and 2012. Other nations including Germany are now to join, bringing the amount to at least four billion dollars, the Norwegian government said a day before an international deforestation conference starts in Oslo. “It’s a lot of money, but more is needed in the long term because profits linked to deforestation are enormous in some countries and a lot of money is needed to compensate” the population when they agree to give it up, Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim told AFP.

Indonesia puts moratorium on new forest clearing

By Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, 27 May 2010 | Indonesia will place a two-year moratorium on new concessions to clear natural forests and peatlands under a deal signed with Norway aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, the government said in a statement… A vast food estate planned for eastern Indonesia’s heavily forested Papua province would still be created following the announcement, Papua governor Barnabas Suebu told Reuters by telephone text message. “But it will be in the context of this green policy,” he said. “The land that will be used for the food estate is of very low value of carbon and biodiversity.” The Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research welcomed the deal, which they said could be “a game-changer in the drive to make REDD a reality.” Greenpeace Indonesia called for a moratorium on all forest and peatland conversions, including existing concession permits.

Will REDD Preserve Forests Or Merely Provide a Fig Leaf?

By Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360, 27 May 2010 | The plan is called REDD, for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. It has backing from big oil and forest tribes, the World Bank, and blue-chip environment groups like the Nature Conservancy. Right now, REDD looks to be the only positive outcome likely to emerge from this December’s Cancun climate conference, the successor to last year’s failure in Copenhagen. If it happens, a new global business of carbon conservation in forests could soon be worth tens of billions of dollars a year. The stakes are high. The destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible for an estimated 17 percent of global CO2 emissions — six times the amount of emissions from aircraft. REDD’s backers say REDD could snuff out those emissions, sharply reducing deforestation by 2030. Already a range of pilot projects are up and running. But the warning signs about what could go wrong are flashing.

Government of Norway $1 billion commitment to Indonesia signals fresh momentum for combating forest sector carbon emissions – CIFOR

CIFOR press release, 27 May 2010 | One of the largest ever bilateral deals to combat environmental destruction could be a ‘game-changer’ in the drive to make REDD+ a reality for Indonesia and to meet national carbon emissions reduction targets. The Government of Norway’s pledge of up to US $1 billion in funds for reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Indonesia will act as a major catalyst towards achieving carbon emissions reduction targets, Frances Seymour, the Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said on Thursday. ‘The promise of significant funding for REDD+ combined with the political will evident in the Letter of Intent issued yesterday could be a ‘game changer’ for how forests are managed in Indonesia,’ said Seymour … [CIFOR scientist Louis Verchot said,] ‘This draft agreement is remarkable. It puts representatives of these groups in the governing bodies that will oversee REDD financing in Indonesia.’

Oslo meet expected to fast-track forest protection $$

By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 27 May 2010 | Over 50 developed and developing countries, including Guyana, will gather in Oslo, Norway today to establish a global partnership that could fast-track money for developing countries which reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)… The one-day Oslo Climate and Forest Conference (CFC) seeks agreement on an informal, non-legally binding partnership on REDD within which the partners may develop and undertake REDD+ efforts. President Bharrat Jagdeo is expected to be at the meeting and Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy is to be highlighted in the backdrop of Norway’s US$250m forest protection commitment to this country.

Brazil supports forest protection initiative, 27 May 2010 | Brazil today signed the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Partnership at the Oslo Forest and Climate Conference in Norway… The objective of the agreement is to scale up REDD Plus actions and financing. “Brazil actively participated in the process of developing the REDD+ initiative, and considers it essential to ensuring sustainable forest management in the coming years,” said Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira during a teleconference with journalists on Tuesday, May 25… “REDD+ is important because it demonstrates that global partnership and action is possible,” added Ms. Teixeira. “Brazil firmly believes in the formal negotiation process, but in the meantime, climate change is too important to wait to begin coordinated actions to fight deforestation. We need to show the world action. REDD+ will set an interim foundation for the formal strategy that is eventually negotiated.”

Governments commit USD 4 billion for forest and climate protection

Greenpeace press release, 27 May 2010 | Welcoming today’s announcement by seven wealthy nations that they will provide USD 4 billion to help avert runaway climate change by preventing deforestation, responsible for up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, Greenpeace warned that the critical question of how the funds will be spent remains unanswered. Greenpeace also considers the Indonesian President Yudhoyono’s announcement, made at the Oslo conference on climate and forests, of a two year moratorium on issuing new concessions for forest and peatland destruction to be a first step towards Indonesia meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 41%. Such a moratorium was a precondition of the USD 1 billion deal with Norway. However, deforestation will continue unabated unless the moratorium is extended to cover existing permits, not just new ones and is put into action immediately, not months from now.

Liveblogging the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, 27 May 2010 | Some of you may remember that I “liveblogged” REDD happenings at COP-15. Even though I’ve just spent the last 24 hours traveling home from Kinshasa, I’ve decided to try to do the same for the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, which is aiming to set up a ‘REDD Plus Partnership.’ That means that over the next 48 hours or so, I will be updating this post with frequent reports concerning the meeting, analysis, links to reactions from around the web, etc. Just to be clear, by ‘Liveblogging’, I am referring to the frequent updating of a single post during the event; I am not, as much as I might like to be, actually attending the meeting. All times shown are GMT+1, i.e., Oslo time zone. Links to Live Feeds as well as recorded sessions after the fact are here. [R-M: Includes links to Partnership Document, Video of Conference, etc.]

Governments commit USD 4 billion for forest and climate protection

Greenpeace International press release, 27 May 2010 | Welcoming today’s announcement by seven wealthy nations that they will provide USD 4 billion to help avert runaway climate change by preventing deforestation (1), responsible for up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, (2) Greenpeace warned that the critical question of how the funds will be spent remains unanswered… “Indonesia has taken a step in the right direction but before the ink on this agreement dries, the millions of hectares of our country’s forests and carbon rich peatlands that have already been allocated for destruction must be included in this moratorium for it to have any real and positive impact on the ground. This step must also be turned into a Presidential Decree with immediate effect,” said Yuyun Indradi, Political Advisor Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Speech – President Zoellick’s Address at Oslo Climate and Forst Conference

World Bank, 27 May 2010 | REDD-plus could show the way for other areas of the climate change negotiations, by combining sound institutional arrangements and practical action on the ground. It is encouraging to see countries coming together. I want to thank President Sarkozy for convening the forest basin meeting in March and Prime Minister Stoltenberg for organizing today’s conference on the REDD-plus partnership… The World Bank stands ready to assist the REDD-plus partnership in any way we can. So we look forward to the outcome of this important meeting. REDD-plus is already catalyzing the integration of forest policies with country strategies, monitoring systems, stakeholder engagement, and inter-agency cooperation. Now we need to build the momentum and goodwill. Our aim should be a successful REDD-plus result that will be a major achievement in Cancún.

28 May 2010

$1bn buys Jakarta logging freeze

By Stephen Fitzpatrick, The Australian, 28 May 2010 | NORWAY has pledged $US1 billion ($1.1bn) to Indonesia to help preserve its forests, in return for a two-year freeze on new logging concessions. “We will conduct a moratorium for two years where we stop the conversion of peatland forest,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said yesterday at a Forest and Climate Conference in Oslo… The Norwegian project will be run under a special unit to be headed up by the respected governance tsar Kuntoro Mangkusubroto. Dr Kuntoro was in charge of the Aceh reconstruction agency that funneled billions of dollars in international aid to rebuild the Indonesian province after it was devastated by the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami. In the process, he established a new benchmark for governance and bureaucratic accountability in an otherwise corruption-rife country – one of the reasons Dr Yudhoyono has chosen him for the new task…

Int’l conference to save forests opens in Oslo

By Ian Macdougall, AP, 28 May 2010 | A multinational deforestation conference will set up an agency Thursday to monitor aid for helping poor nations protect their forests — a major move delegates hope will build momentum for progress at U.N. climate talks this year in Mexico… “Forests are worth more dead than alive. Today we commit to change that equation, ” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said in opening the Oslo conference, attended leaders and representatives from 52 countries. By curbing deforestation, Stoltenberg said, the world can achieve the “largest, fastest and cheapest cuts in global emissions” of greenhouse gases thought to be causing the Earth’s average temperatures to rise.

Oil palm industry no threat to forest conservation: president

Antara, 28 May 2010 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhohyono said that the palm oil industry in Indonesia would not threaten Indonesia-Norway forest conservation agreement concluded under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme. Speaking to the press after the opening of a forestry and climate Conference at Holmenkollen Park, Rica Hotel, here on Thursday the Indonesian president said that Indonesia had a special policy to synchronize the two matters. “We already have our own plan to fulfill the obligation which has become our part in the cooperation between Indonesia and Norway in reducing our emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,” the president said. President Yudhoyono said that Indonesia would not stop its palm oil production, neither would it indiscriminately open up new forests for that purpose.

India seeks global fund to help Third World expand forest cover

Urmi A Goswami, Economic Times, 28 May 2010 | India seized the opportunity accorded by the Oslo Conference on Climate and Forests to make a case for a global fund to aid developing countries increase their forest cover. New Delhi maintains that it is not enough to provide compensation and incentives for avoiding deforestation and degradation of forests. Instead, a comprehensive framework should have positive incentives for afforestation and reforestation and sustainable forest management or the REDD plus approach. The Oslo meet seeks to arrive at an interim partnership arrangement for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries. India has said that the Oslo partnership must put REDD and other ‘plus’ activities on the same footing, as envisaged in the Bali Action Plan.

Saving our forests: India’s Plea for twin-track on REDD Plus

By Narayani Ganesh, Times of India, 28 May 2010 | t the recently concluded Oslo Climate and Forests Conference (OCFC) hosted by Norway’s prime minister Jens Stoltenberg on May 27 – where 52 countries participated – bilateral agreements stole the show. Norway pledged USD one billion to Indonesia from its public money to facilitate reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono responded by promising to suspend deforestation activity in his country. No more peatland will be used for palm oil cultivation, he added, in what is being seen as a major initiative towards preserving and increasing the world’s carbon sinks, particularly rainforests.

Oslo meeting ups REDD+ funding, 28 May 2010 | More than $4 billion has now been pledged by developing nations to kick-start international REDD+ efforts aimed at halting deforestation and restoring forests in developing countries. A body to oversee distribution of the funding would be up and running this year. The commitments came at the second meeting of the so-called Paris-Oslo process, initiated by France and Norway to build on the progress made at the Copenhagen climate conference last December towards an international mechanism to fund forest protection. With money on the table and an urgency to stem greenhouse emissions from the clearing and degradation of tropical forests, there has been general consensus that REDD+ can’t wait for a new global climate agreement.

Forest protecting states must get timely resources – Jagdeo

By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 28 May 2010 | Once results in reducing carbon emissions are delivered, resources should be provided in a timely manner, President Bharrat Jagdeo warned developed countries here yesterday. He sounded the call as fifty-two developed and developing countries agreed to partner to save forests, hoping to “fast track” financing for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). “We have had difficulties in the past trying to work 1out with some of the institutions the new mechanisms for delivering climate funds. It is slightly different from ODA (Official Development Assistance), particularly if it’s payment for services and I know it’s new for many of the IFI’s too but they need to put a little more effort and first order political attention within these agencies to design new instruments and new ways of disbursing funds and not the old laborious ways”, he said.

REDD and Wood-based Bioenergy Threaten Planet’s Forests And People

By Anne Petermann, Climate Voices, 28 May 2010 | Bioenergy and REDD (paying people who want to cut their forests) will make the problem worse, not better. The conservation of native forests is done by Indigenous Peoples. But under REDD, you have to be a deforester first before you can benefit. So the peoples who have conserved forests are left out. There are no guarantees that after the countries have been paid they won’t deforest a few years later anyway. Then there’s also the problem of forest definitions. We get crucified by forest definitions. When the UN allows plantations and Genetically Engineered trees to be called forests, it’s a major problem.

29 May 2010

Greenpeace lauds SBY’s forest, peatland moratorium

By Dicky Christanto, Jakarta Post, 29 May 2010 | “We expect that he will immediately impose a presidential decree that will stop all forest and peatland conversion and include both existing and new concession permits,” Bustar Maitar, the international environmental group’s Southeast Asia Forest team leader, said in a press release dated Friday… Gregorio Budi Indarto from the Civil Society Forum said that no forest concession permits had been issued since Zulkifli Hasan took office as forestry minister at the end of 2009, he told The Jakarta Post. However, the main question is how can the government stop forest exploitation by thousands of people who were given permits after bribing government officials before Zulkilfi’s tenure, he said. The two-year moratorium would mean very little without effort to stop illegal exploitation, he added. “It is one of many political gimmicks offered by the current administration to win the hearts of people and the international community.”

Largest financial commitment in history made to reverse deforestation

GINA press release, 29 May 2010 | On Thursday, heads of state and government, including Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo, ministers and other representatives of 50 countries concluded an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. Around US$4 billion has so far been pledged for the period 2010–2012 for measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. This figure is expected to rise in the weeks ahead. “Measures to reduce deforestation are the quickest and least expensive way of achieving large emission cuts. At today’s meeting, around 50 countries agreed on a framework for the rapid implementation of measures for reducing deforestation. This could be an important step forward in the run-up to the climate negotiations in Mexico later this year,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg at the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference.

30 May 2010

Revised LCDS engenders much excitement

By Terrence Greaves, Guyana Chronicle, 30 May 2010 | HIS EXCELLENCY, President Jagdeo recently launched a revised version of the Low- Carbon Development Strategy. This revelation is very exciting for the national development benefits that will accrue to this nation. But of particular interest is what it entails for the Amerindian communities. So much has been said about the hinterland communities and their relationship with the LCDS. The private press, always ready to negate and find fault with transformational issues, had accused the government of foisting the LCDS upon the Amerindian peoples. Now this was a bald accusation and so far from the truth. Of course, broad-based consultations were held throughout the hinterland areas, and the residents participated. No one can deny this. As is always the case whenever innovation will occur, there may have been some hesitancy in terms of a general understanding and acceptance.

The LCDS is not about Guyana’s future

Kaieteur News, 30 May 2010 | The climate change debate will rage on for decades, but Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy will by next year find itself abandoned like so many of our country’s development plans. The Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) will be forgotten by the time a new President is elected sometime next year. It is not a strategy about Guyana’s future; it may be about President Jagdeo’s. By the time the next general elections are held, Guyana will have no uses for the LCDS. There would have been new developmental paradigms to be explored.

The LCDS as El Dorado: Will the carbon market become the world’s largest market ever?

By Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 30 May 2010 | In conclusion it should be observed the carbon market has attracted some of the world’s most high profile financial and finance-related firms (Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Sumitomo, Kommunal Kredit, JP Morgan Chase, Cantor Fitzgerald and Credit Suisse) as well as a number of high-level officials from multilateral organisations (dealing with carbon issues) who have established private firms, and reportedly as well some leaders of government in rainforest countries who are known to be preparing their entry into the market. Such participation, particularly the latter ones is raising a hornet’s nest of criticism in regard to insider trading, influence peddling, information manipulation, fraud and corruption.

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