A round up of the news on REDD from last week, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). I’m currently travelling, hence the delay with this post. REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) will be updated sporadically for the next couple of weeks. Normal service will be resumed shortly.
A country-led initiative in support of UNFF by the governments of Mexico and Switzerland Oaxaca, Mexico 31 August – 3 September 2010 | At the closing of UNFF 8 on the 1 May 2008, Mexico and Switzerland announced an international workshop focused on forest governance and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in Latin America to be held in Oaxaca, Mexico from 31 August to 3 September 2010. The workshop will be organised as a country-led initiative in support of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The Oaxaca Workshop is the forth country-led initiative focusing on governance and decentralisation in forestry.
Environmental Finance, July 2010 | 14:30 UK time / 9:30 EDT / 15:30 CEST (duration approx 90 minutes) Online, delivered through your browser, 6 August 2010. Investing in forestry and timber assets is nothing new. But the possibility of generating carbon credits by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) has triggered a dramatic increase in investor interest. To help you understand what kind of projects are currently being undertaken, the potential to use the credits as voluntary offsets or for compliance in mandatory emission reduction regimes, and the risks involved, Environmental Finance Events invites you to participate in Forestry Finance, REDD & the Carbon Market webinar on 6 August.
5 July 2010
By Manggi Habir, Jakarta Post, 5 July 2010 | It didn’t take long for palm oil producers to respond to Norway’s recently signed US$1 billion grant, given in exchange for a two-year moratorium on any new clearing of Indonesia’s rainforest and peatlands. Association of Palm Oil Producers secretary-general Joko Supriyono urged the government to reassess the planned moratorium, citing that its members were struggling with forest concessions that contained unproductive land not suitable for productive growth. Indonesian Palm Oil Commission executive director Rosediana Suharto went further, noting that developing countries including Indonesia need to prioritize economic development over the environment.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 5 July 2010 | Nine months after Indonesia declared its ambitious pledge to cut emissions with its own money, doubts remain on if the government can meet its own target, with no clear supporting regulations made. Environmentalists and legal experts said the absence of a legal tool showed the government’s lack of seriousness in cutting emissions as promised at international forums. “Such promises were only lip services,” Chalid Muhammad from Institute Indonesia Hijau told The Jakarta Post… A source from the Environment Ministry said the office had not gained emission data from the Forestry Ministry, particularly on Indonesia’s deforestation rate baseline. It said government regulation discussions on emission cut action plans were also disturbed by the signing of the billion dollar climate deal with the Norway government.
Stabroek News, 5 July 2010 | Human rights and environment groups have called for a radical rethink of the United Nations scheme, known as REDD (Reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) after it emerged that some countries were trying to cheat the system, the UK Observer reported yesterday. The environment groups, which include Global Witness, Greenpeace International, Fern and Rainforest Foundation, also fear that REDD is being used by governments to victimise and steal the carbon rights of people who live and depend on the forests, the newspaper reported. Guyana, along with 36 other developing countries, is participating in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, a fund overseen by the World Bank that could see these forest countries being paid billions of dollars a year to stop felling trees. This is the best way to stop logging and save the planet from climate change, according to wealthy countries and conservationists.
Kaieteur News, 5 July 2010 | The analysis of the 16 forestry reform plans so far submitted by REDD countries to the World Bank shows that many, including Guyana, intend to abuse the system in order to collect the money while carrying on logging as usual. International environmental groups have called for a radical rethink of the United Nations’ Redd (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) programme after the investigations show how these countries plan to cheat the system… Guyana intends to use some of its REDD money to pay a property dealer from Florida to build a road and a major hydroelectric plant in some of its most densely forested areas. The argument here is that the project would supply a cleaner source of power to support the national grid. Nothing is mentioned about cutting down a large, wide swathe of the untouched rainforest for the project.
6 July 2010
CNN, 6 July 2010 | One of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies is destroying Indonesia’s rainforests and taking away the habitat of rare animals, environmental group Greenpeace charged Tuesday. The Greenpeace report accuses Asia Pulp and Paper of “relentlessly trashing rainforests, driving species extinction and, if left unchecked, will threaten Indonesia’s efforts to address climate change.” APP, a division of Sinar Mas, denied the charges levied by Greenpeace, including the alleged expansion of logging operations by 17 million hectares (42 million acres). “The allegations are totally illogical and untrue, Asia Pulp and Paper has no plans for the expansions in question,” said Aida Greenbury, an APP spokeswoman, who said the Indonesian government has publicly announced that their quota for pulp and paper is 10 million hectares (25 million acres) by 2014.
carbonpositive.net, 6 July 2010 | In order for REDD+ to be successful in halting deforestation in developing countries, carbon finance incentives will need to be delivered through smaller scale channels as well as big national bureacracies, The Nature Conservancy argues. To this end, the Nature Conservancy has issued a report, ‘A Nested Approach to REDD+’, proposing ways that REDD+ forest carbon projects and programmes at the smaller end of the scale could operate within big national schemes… Much of the practical development of REDD so far has happened at the project level with private sector investment and NGO backing via the voluntary carbon market. There has been concern in these quarters that the evolving direction of UNFCCC policy and US Congress climate bills on REDD might well shut out those that have contributed so much to kick-starting a carbon market around avoiding deforestation.
By Nana Rukmana, Jakarta Post, 6 July 2010 | Fifteen Greenpeace members were detained for questioning after police dispersed their campaign in Cirebon, West Java, on the grounds that the event had been held without a permit. Of the 15, 13 were foreigners, coming from China, the Philippines, Thailand and India. “We’ve been questioned for five hours now,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia climate and energy campaigner Arif Fiyanto said Monday. Greenpeace’s Cirebon campaign ran from July 3-5, and was among efforts to set up an anti-coal network and a clean energy campaign in cooperation with Cirebon’s Kanoman Palace and local environment group Rapel. The anti-coal network involves six countries — China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
Jakarta Globe, 6 July 2010 | Major foreign firms like Walmart and KFC are contributing to forest destruction and the loss of species like Sumatran tigers by buying from Indonesian paper giant Sinar Mas, Greenpeace said Tuesday. It said Sinar Mas subsidiary Asia Pulp and Paper was “relentlessly trashing rainforests” and driving species to extinction in the Southeast Asian archipelago. “Sinar Mas’s sustainability commitments’ are not worth the paper they are written on and some of the world’s best known brands are literally pulping the planet by buying from them,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said in a statement. A Greenpeace report called “How Sinar Mas is Pulping the Planet” accuses major international companies of being complicit in the rampant destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands by buying from APP.
By Aubrey Belford, Jakarta Globe, 6 July 2010 | The environmental group Greenpeace has accused one of the world’s largest pulp, paper and palm oil companies of aggressively clearing Indonesian rain forests and throwing into doubt a landmark billion-dollar deal that aims to fight climate change by curbing deforestation. In a report released Monday, Greenpeace accused a subsidiary of the Indonesian family conglomerate Sinar Mas of secretly planning a massive expansion of pulp mills and cutting down essential forests, including habitats for endangered tigers. An executive with the subsidiary, Asia Pulp and Paper, denied the charges. The Greenpeace report says that an internal 2007 document shows that Asia Pulp drew up plans to significantly increase its pulp mill capacity to 17.5 million tons a year from 2.6 million tons.
7 July 2010
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 7 July 2010 | The European parliament made a historical move today when it voted overwhelmingly to ban illegal timber from its markets. For activists worldwide the ban on illegal timber in the EU is a reason to celebrate, but for one activist, Faith Doherty of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the move has special resonance. In early 2000, Doherty and an Indonesian colleague were kidnapped, beaten, and threatened with a gun by illegal loggers in Indonesian Borneo. “My colleague sustained injuries to his face and bruising to his body, while my fingers were broken on my right hand,” Doherty told mongabay.com. Doherty and her colleague had taken footage of a massive timber operation by the company Tanjung Lingga. The corrupt company had been illegally felling trees in Tanjung Puting National Park.
By Meredith Booth, The Advertiser, 7 July 2010 | ADMINISTRATORS have been called in to 10-year-old Adelaide carbon management company Carbon Planet, which has $5 million in debts and about 15 staff. KordaMentha Adelaide partner Stephen Duncan said directors had called him in to help revive the business with talks “in train” with a potential investor to recapitalise the business as a going concern. “We’re working through the options on the table to really put the plan in place. We need to make sure we maintain value,” Mr Duncan said. Chief executive Dr Ross Williams and executive director Jim Johnson had contributed more than half of the $15 million invested in the company over recent years, he said.
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo, This Day, 7 July 2010 | The Federal Government and the United Nations agency, the United Nations Development Programme yesterday commenced efforts to check forest destruction with the inauguration of the National Technical Committee on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Abuja. Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey, while speaking at the inauguration, said the major role of the committee is to develop roadmap for Nigeria’s Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) framework and strategy. He described the establishment of the committee as a milestone in the country’s efforts towards implementing concrete actions and programmes for mitigating the effects of climate change in Nigeria.
By Cristiane Prizibisczki, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 July 2010 | Less than 2% of Brazil’s indigenous tribes have undertaken projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), but more than 40 indigenous leaders are now getting ready to change that. In the process, they’re turning “free prior and informed consent” into more than just a vague concept – and perhaps providing a model for the rest of the world… Suruí Chief Almir Narayamoga Suruí says the warnings aren’t unfounded – but, while many indigenous rights organizations are fighting to keep REDD at bay until new international agreements offer more clarity on the rights of indigenous peoples, Almir is urging other indigenous leaders to bone up on laws and mechanisms that already exist and to use that knowledge to their advantage.
ecometrica, 7 July 2010 | Working with the Malawi, Environmental, Endowment Trust (MEET), and Bioclimate Research and Development, on a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We developed a participatory process for Monitoring Assessment and Verification of ecosystem service benefits from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects in national parks and forest reserves in Malawi, in collaboration with technical staff from Forest Research Insititue of Malawi (FRIM), LEAD, and the Government of Malawi Department of Forestry. We trained local technical staff and community field workers in mapping, forest survey, and participatory approaches to defining REDD baselines, and estimating project effectiveness; and produced methodologies, technical papers, and contributions to project design documents for submission to the Plan Vivo Foundation.
Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi, 7 July 2010 | Important steps towards establishing a system of payments for ecosystem services (PES) were made during the 2010 South East Asia Katoomba Group meeting in Hanoi in late June. Norway provided funding for the meeting. Norway’s Ambassador Ståle Risa and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, held opening speeches… It is crucial to have proper PES scheme and benefits sharing distribution (BDS) system, to ensure the success and sustainability of Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). Such reductions related to forests are vital if reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are to be made. Greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries account for about 20% of the world’s total annual CO2 emissions. Vietnam is one of nine UN-REDD pilot countries.
8 July 2010
By Jacques Friedman, indybay.org, 8 July 2010 | International news agencies have reported on the mass rally in Jayapura, capital of Indonesia’s Papua province. Thousands of people joined a long march, walking 17 km from the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua – Papua People’s Assembly) to the DPRP (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Papua – Papuan Provincial Legislature), rejecting the Special Autonomy granted by Indonesia in 2001 and demanding a referendum on West Papuan independence and an internationally-mediated dialogue with Jakarta. As protesters joined the rally from several points in the city, the crowd – claimed by media to number just a few thousand – swelled to nearly 20,000. They occupied the grounds of the provincial legislature under the watchful eye of police and army units.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 8 July 2010 | The government says it will propose a five-year moratorium on issuing permits to develop peatlands — three more years than Indonesia agreed to under a billion-dollar deforestation agreement recently signed with Norway. A draft presidential regulation says that the five-year moratorium on new permits is part of government efforts to mitigate climate change and to meet a pledge to cut carbon emissions by 26 percent over the next several years. A forestry expert from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), Haryadi Kartodihardjo, who was also involved in drafting the policy, said the five-year ban would be used to promote sustainable peatland management. “A two-year moratorium will not enough if we want sustainable peatland management,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. The draft says that the government will re-examine all peatland concession permits during the moratorium, including existing permits.
9 July 2010
Intercontinental Cry, 9 July 2010 | As protests continue to spread throughout the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, where indigenous land rights have been suspended, an unprecedented mass mobilization has begun in the west, in the Indonesian-occupied state of West Papua. According to latest reports, as many as 20,000 Papuans have gathered in Jayapura to demand that Indonesia and the international community grant West Papua its lawful right to self-determination. The Indonesian government has been caught completely off-guard by the effort; nevertheless, they have so far shown remarkable restraint, especially given the long history of repression against anyone that speaks up for independence or dares to raise the Morning Star flag.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 9 July 2010 | The government insists that new permits awarded to industrial forest concessions (HTI) to fell 10 million cubic meters of trees in Riau this year did not run counter to the country’s climate deal with Norway. Director General of forest production development at the Forestry Ministry Hadi Daryanto said permits to cut trees in Riau were given to companies that operated prior to the signing of the letter of intent (LoI) between Indonesia and Norway. “They are not new companies and have nothing to do with the LoI,” Hadi told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. Greenpeace Indonesia earlier said the government had approved 15 new annual work plans (RKT) that would allow the HTI to fell 10 million cubic meters of trees in Riau. Greenpeace forest campaigner in Sumatra, Zulfahmi, said 80 percent of the allocated trees would be harvested from natural forests.
10 July 2010
By G Panicker, Business Times, 10 July 2010 | Further, campaigners have focused on rich countries’ bid for looser rules relating to land use than those for their counterparts under the REDD mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). This loophole will help account for 5 per cent of their annual emissions. Countries such as Russia and Ukraine have accumulated surplus emissions after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Campaigners say that developed countries, excluding the US, could hide as much as 400 million tonnes of CO2 per year this way. Environmentalists are critical about the sluggish US efforts on this issue. Climate legislation is stuck in Congress. Having not signed the Kyoto Protocol, the US also cannot commit to the adaptation fund. Under the draft proposals, the US may have to cut emissions more sharply than the 17 per cent that it has offered from 2005 levels.
Earth Conscious Mag, 10 July 2010 | The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), a member of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), with funding from the Norwegian Government, has published a study on forest law enforcement and governance, and forest practices in Guyana. The study was carried out within the framework of an agreement between Guyana and Norway to develop a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and assesses the effectiveness and legitimacy of forest governance for achieving REDD.
GLG News, 10 July 2010 | “Economic behavior is both the cause and the solution to global warming” says Dr. Steven L. Siegel. Dr. Siegel, a founding member of Green Street Partner Consultants, a worldwide boutique investment bank specializing in alternative energy projects, is a firm believer in the power of economic incentives in changing people’s behavior. “As the field of behavioral economics shows, people respond rationally to economic incentives, what we need to do is incentivize people and businesses to improve the environment. One of the best ways we can do so is through an expansion of the UN REDD program, which provides significant economic incentives for the maintenance of forests which exceed the economic incentive for its destruction.”
By Christopher Brooker, Telegraph, 10 July 2010 | Only now, after I was able to confront them with evidence from an internet archive, has the WWF finally admitted the precise origin of the IPCC’s much-quoted claim. Fire in the Amazon, it turns out, was not a “report” or a scientific paper but, as the WWF now acknowledges, a “text published by IPAM… on its website in 1999”. It was merely a brief, anonymous and unreferenced note on the exposure of the forest to fire risks, posted in February 1999 and taken down four years later. Here, at last, is the sole source for the statement later published by the IPCC. The original read: “Probably 30-40 per cent of the forests of the Brazilian Amazon are sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall.” This was hyped up in the final drafting of the IPCC report, to claim that “up to 40 per cent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”.
11 July 2010
By Christopher Ram, Letter to the editor, Stabroek News, 11 July 2010 | I refer to my letter of July 4, 2010 in which I addressed the issues raised by Mr. Rajendra Rampersaud in a letter dated June 28, 2010 on the April 2010 Country Report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). In my letter I indicated that I would subsequently address the reaction of the Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh to the same EIU Report. I now do so… That Guyana’s operating environment is “characterised by poor infrastructural facilities, high taxes, rampant crime and corruption.” The evidence on each of these is so obvious and compelling that neither Dr. Singh nor the private sector disputes any of them. Surely they are aware of, if not actually suffer from, the daily blackouts despite the unjustifiably huge sums spent on GPL, the failure to keep the promise of tax reform while imposing VAT at an incorrect, inflated rate on several products and services not previously subject to any consumption tax.
By Christopher Ram, Stabroek News, 11 July 2010 | As government accounting becomes more decentralised, as the sums involved increase substantially, and as the public service comes more under political control, a new approach needs to be taken to audits in the public sector. The culture of self-help in the public sector, the empirical and anecdotal information on frauds and embezzlements, and the complex arrangements that are often necessary in particular cases, make the traditional approach to audits entirely inappropriate. There is a clear, compelling and urgent need for the introduction of strong internal audits in each ministry and department to support the external auditors who often hardly have the resources to make more than fleeting annual visits… Unfortunately such a view would be considered too revolutionary for Guyana where weak systems and procedures are the order of the day.