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). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.
UN-REDD, no date | It is predicted that financial flows for greenhouse gas emission reductions from REDD+ could reach up to US$30 billion a year. This significant North-South flow of funds could reward a meaningful reduction of carbon emissions and could also support new, pro-poor development, help conserve biodiversity and secure vital ecosystem services. Further, maintaining forest ecosystems can contribute to increased resilience to climate change. To achieve these multiple benefits, REDD will require the full engagement and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities. To “seal the deal” on climate change, REDD activities in developing countries must complement, not be a substitute for, deep cuts in developed countries’ emissions. The decision to include REDD in a post-Kyoto regime must not jeopardize the commitment of Annex I countries to reduce their own emissions. Both will be critical to successfully address climate change.
Forestry Nepal, August 2010 | Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) has gained major attention in international climate negotiations. Evolving discussions on REDD have brought forests to the forefront of both climate-change mitigation and adaptation. Among others, successful REDD programs require reliable, accurate, and cost-effective methods for measurement and monitoring of forest carbon storage. Despite the involvement of several academic research and development organizations in Nepal, common, reliable, and userfriendly forest carbon measurement methodologies are still lacking. ’Forest Carbon stock Measurement: Guidelines for measuring carbon stocks in communitymanaged forests’ was prepared by the technical team of Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) in consultation with the Project Management Unit- ICIMOD; international and national experts; and key stakeholders. [R-M: Download here: http://bit.ly/aYGroI]
By Juliana Radler de Aquino, Development and Cooperation, July/August 2010 | Brazil is working on a national system to allow international investors to support programmes of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The government wants to be able to present a workable scheme at the next UN climate summit in Cancún in December… Brazil is likely to become the world’s prime destination for REDD money. Nearly two thirds of its territory is covered by forest. The most impressive forest, of course, is the Amazonian rainforest. According to Brazil’s Ministry of Environment, around 20 REDD-related programmes are already underway or being prepared. Around 75 % are in the Amazon region. Together, all initiatives cover some 46 million hectares of forest on public, private and indigenous land. These initiatives demonstrate the willingness of many groups in society – including indigenous peoples – to use REDD to reconcile nature conservation with socio-economic development.
By Mariana Christovam (IPAM), August 2010 | In general to this point, the Partnership appears to lack clear and defined rules for that Partnership to advance and in part this was intentional. On the one hand, Partners did not want to have to develop so many rules that they would be stuck in lengthy bureaucracy, and on the other hand they miss a minimum level of rules and guidance to solve issues relating to stakeholders participation, for example. I will not go through all the elements we analyzed and discussed that did not reach a consensus in this last formal meeting, or I would not give sufficient time to the other speakers… The governance structure of Brazil’s Amazon Fund is another possible model. Its Guiding Committee consists of three membership constituencies: federal government, state governments and civil society, which includes representatives of IPs, NGOs, labour unions, the research community and the private sector.
Tropical Timber Market Report, ITTO, 1-15 August 2010 | It is hoped that the flow of REDD investments will begin to rectify the negative perceptions of Indonesian timber products across the industry. Some marketing executives added that there is renewed sense of pride and optimism in the marketing of Indonesian timber products. In turn, it is hoped that this will generate greater market share and demand for Indonesian timber products. Analysts likewise, are of the opinion that this would also attract more foreign direct investments in downstream timber industry and thus provide more jobs and much needed replacement of aging machineries. An improvement in the efficiency of downstream processing will eventually reduce wastages and improve raw material supply.
9 August 2010
Survival International, 9 August 2010 | To mark the UN Day of Indigenous People, Survival has released a new report highlighting the devastating impact on tribal people of a massive boom in dam-building for hydropower. Drawing on examples from Asia, Africa and the Americas, Survival’s report Serious Damage exposes the untold cost of obtaining ‘green’ electricity from large hydroelectric dams. A rapid increase in global dam-building is currently under way. The World Bank alone is pouring $11bn into 211 hydropower projects worldwide.
By Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, 9 August 2010 | Indonesia may propose palm oil plantations be eligible to earn carbon credits under a U.N.-backed scheme aimed at preserving forests, a forestry ministry official said on Monday. Such a move could potentially create a new line of revenue for the palm oil industry and listed firms like Wilmar (WLIL.SI) and PT Astra Agro Lestari (AALI.JK), but is likely to anger green groups who accuse planters of deforestation… “If there is agreement on REDD, we could put palm oil plantations to be eligible for that,” said Wandojo Siswanto, a special adviser to the forestry minister and one of Indonesia’s lead negotiators at global climate talks… “I think it would be good if we just say that palm oil plantations could also mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration through the nature of the trees,” he said, adding that both existing plantations and future plantations developed on degraded land could be eligible.
By Sara Kuepfer Thakkar, ISN Security Watch, 9 August 2010 | Developing and developed nations again clashed in Bonn, this time on the issue of forest offsets – ie, the use of carbon markets to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Last year’s Copenhagen Accord endorsed the idea of creating market incentives through REDD and forest carbon trading, and developed nations have remained keen on implementing such a system. If a multilateral cap-and-trade agreement, modeled on the Kyoto Protocol but this time including developing nations, came into place, it would allow wealthy countries like the US to ‘cut’ their emissions not by actually reducing their own CO2 consumption but by buying carbon credits from other countries. A July visit to South America by US Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern, has raised suspicions that the US is eying its forest-rich southern neighbors to do just that.
By Dr Mark Huxham (Earthwatch), BBC News, 9 August 2010 | Given that the international carbon market is worth in excess of $100bn per year – more than 100 times what is spent on international conservation – Redd holds the potential of injecting large sums into saving tropical forests and of finally reversing the decline. Mangroves, forests that grow in intertidal areas in the tropics and sub-tropics, and the people that depend upon them could really benefit from Redd-related carbon payments. Mangroves account for only around 0.4% of all forests; but the multiple services – such as coastal protection, nursery habitat for fish and filtration of pollution and sediments – that they provide, and the rapid rate of their destruction, make them a conservation priority… We have been working with conservation charities Earthwatch Institute and Plan Vivo, along with the Kenyan government, to develop a demonstration community mangrove conservation project at Gazi Bay in southern Kenya.
By Marianne de Nazareth, Countercurrents.org, 9 August 2010 | “Governments can and must make progress on areas such as adaptation, finance and ending deforestation at COP 16 in Cancun,” said Gordon Shepherd, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative. “But they will have to increase their efforts now and start seeking areas of convergence in a much more serious way.” Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) is an example where agreements already achieved in Copenhagen have been opened up again on such basic issues as the definition of what it covers. The chair of the Kyoto Protocol negotiating track, John Ashe, produced a draft proposal text which governments will be able to consider between now and the next UNFCCC negotiating session in October. That text includes a possible set of draft decisions for Cancún, including impacts of agriculture on emissions, carbon markets and mechanisms, greenhouse gases…
By Pete Spotts, Christian Science Monitor, 9 August 2010 | Two bright spots, however, involve work on deforestation and adaptation aid, observers say. “There’s work that a lot of committed countries are doing” in these areas, says Pipa Elias, a climate-policy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington. In Copenhagen, negotiators made significant progress on these issues. And they were key elements in the Copenhagen Accord. Developed and developing countries that account for some 80 percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions reportedly have signed on to the non-binding political agreement. Many of these are working to set up the mechanisms to parcel out adaptation money and to govern anti-deforestation, or REDD, efforts without any formal UN agreement.
By Frederick Asiamah, Public Agenda, 9 August 2010 | Opportunity is being given to 50 young Ghanaian professionals to be part of a three-nation pool of environmental activists who will be collaborating to ensure sustainable environments for future generations of Ghana, Liberia and the United States of America…. Giving an overview of the project, Mr Niber was optimistic that the project will inform the formulation of strong mining, forestry and climate change policies. For instance, “Project participants with expertise in Climate Change policies will advise Green Advocates, the Center for Public Interest Law, and emerging environmental leaders about the formulation of economically effective, efficient and socially equitable REDD strategies and Institutional frameworks that reward indigenous people, local communities, and other stakeholders for their contributions to REDD.”
10 August 2010
By David MIllar, qewnet.ning.com, 10 August 2010 | The Bali Action Plan established twin tracks: AWG-KP and AWG-LCA. Ad Hoc Working Groups on Kyoto Protocol, and Long-Range Cooperative Action. These titles are pious hopes… Forest preservation under REDD+ (the + indicates that “conservation” projects have been folded in) seems to offer bridge funding even if Kyoto is not renewed. But there are serious questions about its impact on women, native people, and locals; lack of consultation with them; control by World Bank; LULUCF loopholes such as HWP (sale of “harvested wood products”) and carryover of AAUs (tradable emissions allowances); overlaps with agricultural programs; MRV transparency and accountability, and lack of capacity (poor country expertise).
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 10 August 2010 | The world’s leading financier for environmental projects, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has allotted a US$87 million grant to help Indonesia protect its dwindling environmental assets, officials say. Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said that about half of the money would be awarded to projects dealing with mitigation and adaptation to prevent climate change. “The project developers could be from the government, local communities, NGOs or universities,” he told reporters Monday. The $87 million grant will be disbursed based on projects approved by the GEF executive board in Washington during the from Aug. 1, 2010, to July 31, 2014. Indonesia received a $40 million grant from the GEF for the previous four-year period…
Konsorsium Pendukung Sistem Hutan Kerakyatan (KpSHK), 10 August 2010 | Since signatory of REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation) plus between Kingdom of Norway with Republic of Indonesia that is low level agreement or Letter of Intent in Oslo’s Climate Change Meeting at this year, rumors of REDD ’s economic political are being engagement. And no one really tends to bring the REDD for including indigenous forestland rights into REDD preparedness process. The situation could be reviewed at the national process of REDD plus preparation. Department of Forestry is still only established sector on REDD plus preparation. All of forestry policies capture detail of REDD financial scheme and forest management license without including community interest as like at the beginning of REDD proposal in COP 13 of UNFCCC-Bali that REDD is only an incentive model of forestry business actor.
funnywhitedog.blogspot.com, 10 August 2010 | On August 6th 2010, a news item titled ‘Australia firm signs forest CO2 deal with Malaysia tribes’ was released by Reuters. This was largely based on an press release two days ago from the company in question, Shift2Neutral titled: Shift2Neutral signs agreement to certify REDD+ with tribes of Sarawak Malaysia. In response, the Jaringan Orang Asal Se-Malaysia issued a statement stating that we are not involved with the project (statement can be found here). Our concern with the project is based on the lack of transparency surrounding the project. The press release by Shift2Neutral did not state which communities were involved or where the lands were, other than a figure of over 100,000 ha. It did not release any information on the nature of the deal other than an agreement to ‘certify carbon credits’ of the forest, presumably by mapping the forest and providing biomass figures.
Climate-L.org, 10 August 2010 | In its latest media release, the UN-REDD Programme highlights several recent governance-related activities, describing the Programme’s engagement of partners on governance issues and REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) at conferences around the world. During the northern summer, UN-REDD was involved in: a Chatham House Workshop on Monitoring Governance Safeguards in REDD+, in London, UK; the UNFCCC Climate Talks in Bonn, Germany; the organization of a Workshop on Free, Prior and Informed Consent and Recourse Mechanisms in Hanoi, Viet Nam; the Transparency International Workshop on Climate Governance in Berlin, Germany; and the Fifth Dialogue on Rights, Forests and Climate Change in Washington DC, US.
By Peter A. Minange, ASB, 10 August 2010 | In developing countries, agriculture is major driver of deforestation and forest degradation, and therefore a significant contributor to global Carbon emissions, as well as ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Agricultural landscapes, particularly mosaic-lands and agroforestry systems, can also be part of the solution; these areas hold significant potential for storing and enhancing land-based carbon, while also creating economic benefits for poor farmers. For over fifteen years, the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins has worked to understand which landscapes produce a balance between healthy ecosystem and livelihood benefits… We have argued that taking into account the value of trees outside forests, such as those found on farms, can greatly increase the effectiveness of any REDD+ strategy.
Jakarta Post, 10 August 2010 | The government plans to set aside 30 million hectares of protected forests for habitats for endangered species in order to prevent their extinction. Forestry Ministry Zulkifli Hasan warned that the shrinking number of rare species, such as the Sumatran tiger, the Javanese rhinoceros and the orangutan was due to habitat infringement by private companies and local communities. The minister said the government would also allocate 43 million hectares of primary forest for the rare species. “Primary forests cannot be converted; they should be declared a buffer area,” Zulkifli said as quoted by Antara news network on Monday. He said that in 2005, the government had established 535 forest and marine conservation areas. “But, the management of nine of the conservation areas has been handed over to the Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministry,” he said.
11 August 2010
Daily Times, 11 August 2010 | Indonesian palm oil giant PT SMART Tbk on Tuesday got a mixed score card in an environmental audit, leaving in doubt whether key buyers including Unilever will renew contracts with the firm. Both SMART, which is part of Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources, and leading critic Greenpeace claimed victory after the audit said SMART had not destroyed primary forest but had planted in greenhouse gas-rich peat lands. The bitter dispute shows the difficulties for Indonesia of spurring economic growth and slashing emissions as the world’s top palm producer eyes hungry Asian consumers and eco-conscious Westerners for an oil used to make biscuits and biodiesel.
Expat Communications, 11 August 2010 | Q3: REDD would most likely involve making forest conservation more profitable for loggers and agri-business for them to be on board. In your opinion, how big of a challenge would this be in the Philippines? Where can long-term funding for this purpose come from? A3: It will take an estimated 280 years for the Philippines to reforest its denuded forest lands if we will depend on the national budget appropriation to DENR as the sole source of funds for this purpose. This is why we are hoping that an international agreement on REDD will be ratified as early as possible so that national forest management funds will be supplemented. Based on current international discussions on REDD, these funds should come from developed countries under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
By Jeff Conant, Toward Freedom, 11 August 2010 | One of the controversial topics in the UN climate negotiations, hotly contested in Cochabamba and denounced outright by many segments of the climate justice movement, is the program called Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). REDD seeks to reward governments, companies, or forest owners in the South for keeping their forests standing, to act as carbon sinks, instead of cutting them down. Liberal NGOs tend to support the essentially corporate REDD program because it provides a mechanism for protecting forests. But this mechanism also provides polluting industries with the right to continue polluting. In addition, REDD’s version of “forest protection” may well be one of the largest land grabs in history. Tom Goldtooth, director of the U.S.-based Indigenous Environmental Network, calls REDD “a corruption of the sacred.” Forests, especially for those who live in them, are not mere carbon sinks.
Carbon Finance, 11 August 2010 | A leading forestry expert says the regulations around reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) must be more certain if the market is to move forward. Speaking on a webinar hosted by Carbon Finance on Friday, Jan Fehse, head of forestry services at project developer EcoSecurities, said the lack of a regulatory framework for REDD is holding the market back. Without a formalised REDD regime, he said, there is limited ‘pre-compliance’ interest from emitters hoping to use REDD credits to meet future regulatory obligations. Meanwhile the “fickle” voluntary market remains small and at the whims of the “trends and flavours of the day”. Fehse said both US legislation and UN processes have important implications for REDD’s future. “What we need is a proper bill now. One that has support from both camps,” he said of the struggle to introduce federal climate change legislation in the US.
12 August 2010
Survival International, 12 August 2010 | Hundreds of Brazilian Indians from across the country are gathering to highlight the killing of their leaders, the theft of their land for industrial projects, and other threats to their survival. Around 800 Indians representing many of Brazil’s 233 tribes are expected to attend the protest, from 16- 20 August. The rally is being held in Mato Grosso do Sul state, south of the Amazon, to draw attention to the critical situation faced by the indigenous peoples of that state, especially the Guarani Indians. The Guarani’s lands have been stolen to make way for cattle ranches and sugarcane plantations, and the Guarani have one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
Terra Global Capital, Press Release, 12 August 2010 | Developed by Terra Global Capital, LLC in partnership with Community Forestry International, the pioneering Mosaic REDD methodology submitted to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) has completed the first of two required validations. The methodology, designed to support the development of a REDD project in the Oddar Meanchey province of northwestern Cambodia, was supported by the Cambodia Forestry Administration, Pact, and the Children’s Development Association, with validation funding provided by the Clinton Climate Initiative. The quantification of carbon credits from mosaic-type REDD projects as developed in the methodology present unique challenges.
Daily Observer, 12 August 2010 | Mr. Christopher Z. Neyor made the recommendation on Tuesday, August 10, 2010, when he formally launched the one-day National Stakeholders REDD Workshop organized by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and supported by Fauna and Flora International (FFI) with funding from NORAD. Mr. Neyor also read an excerpt from a letter written by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to Norway on Liberia’s plan for REDD R-PP by October, 2010. The conference was held on the theme, “Sharing Lessons Learned/Best Practices on REDD+ Development in Liberia.” PC Jelley, who represented the residents of Juarzon District at the National Stakeholders conference also called on the Government of Liberia and the partners of REDD+ initiatives to involve opinion leaders of every community in the country whenever environmental issues concerning land vis-à-vis climate change is being discussed.
By Thiana Biondo, Global Voices, 12 August 2010 | Lou Gold, an American environmentalist based in the state of Acre in Brazil, analyzes how the Brazilian situation resembles that in other countries such as the US, where “development has already destroyed 90% of its original primary forestland”. Gold explains how an ad campaign in the US has influenced the effort to dilute Brazil’s forestry code: “Unfortunately, an NGO-inspired ad campaign targeting US farm support for REDD payments in the energy (”climate change”) bill claimed that an end to tropical deforestation would mean more profits in the US. The ad stupidly said, “Farms Here, Forests There” and this was used in Brazil to mobilize support for WEAKENING the Forest code. Avoided Deforestation Partners scurried to produce a second report claiming that halting deforestation would also benefit Brazilian farmers but the damage was done.”
BY Janeman Latul and Neil Chatterjee, Reuters, 12 August 2010 | Indonesia’s plans to halt forest clearing will slow the aggressive expansion of plantation firms in the world’s top palm oil producer, leading to higher costs as firms will need acquisitions or improved yields to boost growth. The two-year moratorium on new permits to clear natural forest from 2011 will increase land prices, pushing some to consider following industry leader Wilmar in expanding overseas to Africa or to diversify into food crops… Analysts said firms with a lack of land reserves such as Jakarta’s biggest listed planter PT Astra Agro Lestari risk slower profit growth and reduced market share, while smaller players such as Gozco Plantation may be forced to merge or become takeover targets.
13 August 2010
By David Fogarty, Reuters, 13 August 2010 | A carbon accounting technique aimed at saving tropical forests has passed a key hurdle, strengthening chances it could underpin development of a potential multi-billion dollar market for forest carbon offsets. U.S. firm Terra Global Capital said the method had passed the first of two formal audits the benchmark Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) requires. When fully verified, it could be used in a U.N.-backed carbon-cutting scheme known as reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). “The methodology is expected to be broadly applicable where mosaic patterns of deforestation occur throughout Southeast Asia and Africa,” Leslie Durschinger, founder and managing director of Terra Global Capital, said in a statement. Her firm offers finance and advisory services for REDD projects.
By Saki T. Golafale, Urias’s Blog, 13 August 2010 | A one day national stakeholders conference on lessons learned and best practices on REDD development in Liberia was recently held in Monrovia, Liberia on the 10th of August, 2010. The conference, which was organized by the REDD technical working group in Liberia, supported by FFI (Fauna & Flora International) and funded by NORAD, brought together important stakeholders currently engaged in the REDD initiative at the international, national, county, and local community levels. The conference covered various thematic areas including forest management, community consultation and participation, policy development and resource management and planning as well as benefit sharing and governance. Besides REDD, REDD+ was also considered.
Kathmandu Post, 13 August 2010 | There is a need to ensure benefits for the rural women of developing countries including Nepal from Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), a carbon-cutting scheme backed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), experts said… Speaking at a two-day workshop on ‘Gender in Climate Change and REDD’ on Friday, Jeannette D. Gurung, director of Women Organising for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, said, this new carbon-financing mechanism should reward the women for their stewardship in natural resource conservation particularly forest management in Nepal.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 13 August 2010 | Negotiators from Indonesia and Norway will meet in Jakarta next week to discuss the implementation of a bilateral climate deal to combat deforestation in Indonesia, the highest in the world with more than 1 million hectares destroyed per year. The meeting, to be held from Aug. 18 to Aug. 19, will highlight plans to set up institutions on financing, REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) and MRV (measuring, verifying and reporting) systems, to implement the letter of intent (LoI) signed in May. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s special assistant on climate change, Agus Purnomo, said the talks would translate points of the LoI into a working plan to implement the deal. “It is likely the first disbursement of about US$30 million will be agreed after the UN General Assembly meeting in September [in New York],” he said at his office Thursday.
14 August 2010
ABC News, 14 August 2010 | Prime Minister Julia Gillard has visited a farm on the New South Wales north coast to launch a new climate change initiative. On the farm near Ballina in the marginal Labor seat of Page, Ms Gillard announced that if re-elected, Labor will spend $46 million setting up a scheme that would allow farmers to sell carbon credits that they earn from progressive farming practices. They could attract credits by planting trees, applying fertiliser more efficiently or by planting crops without tilling the soil. Ms Gillard says farmers could earn $500 million over the next decade by selling their credits on the international market. “The carbon credits can be traded internationally. What does this mean? Less carbon in our atmosphere and more carbon credits for farmers,” she said.
By Tom Minney, African Capital Markets News, 14 August 2010 | British development finance institution, CDC (www.cdcgroup.com) has committed US$50 million to the GEF Africa Sustainable Forestry Fund (GASFF), the first private equity fund to focus solely on sustainable forestry in sub-Saharan Africa. The fund is to be run by the investment team of Global Environment Fund (GEF) which has a long history of investing in sectors that make a positive impact on the environment and quality of life. It is a pioneering investment to help develop and grow businesses in Africa’s expanding forestry sector and bring jobs to those communities, as well as broader potential ecological benefits… GASFF is managed by John Earhart, one of the creators of the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), and Ole Sand, who joined GEF from the forest investment team at the International Finance Corporation.
15 August 2010
Eliswan Azly, Jakarta Globe, 15 August 2010 | Indonesian and Norwegian negotiators will meet in Jakarta this week to discuss the implementation of a bilateral climate deal to combat deforestation in Indonesia, but the possibility that a moratorium will be agreed upon at the meeting has drawn mixed reactions. Miners in particular have strongly objected to a possible two-year moratorium on forest clearing, while environmentalists have support the idea as a concrete measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Free Malaysia Today, 15 August 2010 | Nine tribal leaders in Sarawak have signed an agreement with an Australian based grouping to certify carbon credits under the avoided deforestation program known as REDD+. The agreement with the Indigenous Customary Land Owners of Sarawak will see Shift2Neutral, a grouping of individuals and companies committed to a sustainable future, work directly with the tribal leaders to achieve realistic change and ensure the protection of their native flora and fauna… “We believe this can be achieved with benefits to the local stakeholders. “We must recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and the local communities involved,” the [Shift2Neutral] spokesman said adding that “the total land area involved for the first phase alone more than 100,000 hectares or endangered forest.”
By Daniel Kessler, TreeHugger, 15 August 2010 | If only Visa treated my debt the way the U.S. is treating debt from developing countries. On Friday, the Obama Administration announced that it will cancel debt from Brazil in exchange for forest protection. The U.S. has done the same for Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the Philippines. Deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of global warming emissions, making zero deforestation a priority in places like Brazil and Indonesia, which rank third and fourth for GHG emissions, respectively. In total, the U.S. will cancel $21 million of Brazil’s debt in exchange for protection of the Amazon. This won’t cancel all Brazil’s debt payments, but it will lesson them over the next five years.