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REDD in the news: 13-19 September 2010

REDD in the news: 13-19 September 2010A round up of the week’s news on REDD, 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.

Linking Stakeholders in Conserving Forests for Carbon Benefits

Institute for Security Studies, September 2010 | Joint Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (MEMR) Seminar, Nairobi: Event Date: Monday 20th September – 2010… In Kenya, the Kenya Forest Service as the national REDD focal point, has been spearheading a local multi-stakeholder effort to among other things develop a national strategy for implementation of REDD activities in the country. This is being done in close liaison with the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, which is mandated to coordinate climate change activities in the country… The Institute for Security Studies seeks to add onto these on-going efforts through facilitation of a joint Seminar to foster the successful implementation of REDD to ensure benefits for all.

Indigenous Women, Climate Change and REDD+, September 2010 | In the light of promoting and ensuring the effective implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Tebtebba, under its “Ensuring Rights Protection, Enhancing Effective Participation of and Securing Fair Benefits for Indigenous Peoples in REDD Plus Policies and Programmes” project, is organizing the Global Seminar-Workshop on Indigenous Women, Climate Change and REDD Plus on November 18-19 , 2010 in the Philippines.

Responsible REDD+: Possible in the Philippines?

CoDe REDD, September 2010 | Recent progress in the Philippines offers promising lessons in REDD+ planning, notably related to the ground-up development of national level REDD+ policies. We briefly review current developments in the Philippines, anticipating interest within the broader REDD+ practitioner community.

International Conference on “Forest and climate change – Decoding and realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (HoB), with specific focus on Sabah

Sabah State Government, September 2010 | The Sabah Forestry Department is organising the abovementioned international conference in Kota Kinabalu from 8 to 9 November 2010. Please click here for the Tentative Programme. [R-M: “Tentative programme” can be downloaded here:]

The over-the-counter market for forest carbon offsets: an insight into pricing in a market without common price signals

By Majella Clarke, Australian Forestry Journal, Vol. 73 (3), 2010 | Carbon markets have been recognised as being one of the few financing mechanisms with the ability to quickly raise the capital required to finance an international mechanism to ‘reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (REDD) in developing countries, as well as to support conservation and sustainable management of forests and to enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+) under an international framework to mitigate climate change. Historically, however, climate change negotiations and outcomes have not supported the inclusion of forest carbon offsets or credits in a cap-and-trade carbon market… It was concluded that current pricing on cap-and-trade schemes selling carbon commodities does not offer common pricing signals for the OTC market, and that prices for forest carbon offsets on the OTC market were much higher than prices in cap-and-trade schemes.

Ad-Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Forest Financing in Nairobi, Kenya

GEF, 13-17 September 2010 | About GEF-5 (2010-2014), $4.3 billion replenishment, GEF projects are fully country-driven (STAR), Separate funding envelope for SFM/REDD-plus… Historical Engagement of the GEF in SFM: The GEF has been funding forest projects since its inception in 1991; 350 SFM projects; 1.7 billion GEF leveraged 5 billion; Until 2006, GEF support for SFM was mainly provided through biodiversity and land degradation focal areas… The GEF-4 SFM Program: In June 2007, the GEF-4 SFM Program was created; The SFM Program did not have a separate funding envelope but drew on resources from three focal areas; The Tropical Forest Account as a $40 million GEF pilot in REDD-plus; 112 projects; GEF funding: $450 million; other sources: 1.3 billion.

Global Expert Workshop on Biodiversity Benefits of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries

GEF, 20-23 September 2010 | Organized by the CBD, the overall objective of the workshop is to “support Parties efforts to address reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” in a way that contributes to the implementation of the CBD programme of work on forest biodiversity. In order to achieve this objective, the workshop will address potential risks associated with REDD-plus that could result in activities that run counter to the objectives of the programme of work, and develop recommendations how these risks could be addressed. The workshop will also focus on opportunities in the context of REDD-plus, and develop recommendations how benefits for biodiversity and indigenous and local communities could be optimized. Official website:

Carbon Assessment and REDD in the Kolo Hills

Planet Action, no date | AWF [African Wildlife Foundation] is presently leading a demonstration project to explore and rationalize opportunities for REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), focused on continuous community forest areas and government forest reserves, known collectively as Kolo Hills, in the Kondoa District in north-central Tanzania. Working closely with the Kondoa District Council and its District Forestry Office, AWF and its partners are working with 15 rural communities, which together are home to approximately 40,000 people, to improve the management of over 18,000 hectares of government and community owned forests, and prepare the local government and communities to engage in REDD payment schemes as a means to incentivize the long-term conservation and management of forest resources.

Sustainability and prosperity

Inside Indonesia, July-September 2010 | The articles that will appear over the next few weeks in Inside Indonesia assert that the protection of local environments is a key to both health and prosperity… Tessa Toumbourou discusses initiatives supported by European sponsors under CDM to help local communities improve their environmental management and promote sustainable development’ However she finds little evidence that CDM projects will actually reduce carbon emissions, much less deliver on promises of sustainable development for Indonesia. Jeff Neilson also questions whether REDD projects, including major new Australian-backed initiatives, will help forest dependent communities in Sumatra who have little legal protection for resource rights. He suggests that REDD, as currently formulated, could actually victimise communities like the Orang Rimba in the face of land demands by perhaps well intentioned international efforts to mitigate global climate change.

SFM financing facts and challenges, Republic of Indonesia

By Yetti Rusli, Senior Adviser to the Minister of Forestry, 1st Ad hoc Expert Group of the UNFF on Forest Financing, Nairobi 13-17 September 2010 | Financing Strategy: To achieve the 4GOFs and implement the NLBI on All Types of Forest need huge investment; Wide spectrum need wide approach, thus need support from cross-sector investment (Environment, commodity plus); Mobilization of public and private finance from national, regional and international institutions); Effective, Efficient, transfarancy of financial Management.

Carbon Cowboys make a move on Vanuatu

By Bob Makin, Islands Business, no date | ECO2 Forests’ multi-million dollar deal a worry. Many in Vanuatu see the internet start-up of this forestry (re-forestation) company as the arrival of what in the United States is termed as “carbon cowboys”. This company’s executives call themselves “eco-imagineers”—some say this is a further reason to worry. Presently, re-forestation in Vanuatu means just one place, Espiegle Bay, north-west Malakula. It means one company, Eco2 Forests. This company says it owns 20,000 acres of Big Nambas territory for a “multi-million dollar carbon credit deal”. ECO2 speaks of 31 square miles of re-forestation even though they only have a title comprising only 900 hectares. A recent tour by environmental and forestry personnel learned that only one lease, the original for 900 hectares, had been completed. The price paid for that lease seems to have been a truck and roughly A$20,000.

13 September 2010

A look at Ecuador’s agreement to leave 846 million barrels of oil in the ground

By Matt Finer and Pamela Martin,, 13 September 2010 | Ecuador’s pioneering initiative to voluntarily leave nearly a billion barrels of oil under Yasuní National Park, an Amazonian reserve that is arguably the most biodiverse spot on Earth, took a major step forward in early August when the government signed an accord with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the long-awaited establishment of a trust fund. The signing event generated a wave of international media attention, but there has been very little scrutiny of what was actually signed. Here we present an initial analysis of the signed agreement, along with a brief discussion of some of the potential caveats. Due to the precedent-setting nature of this agreement, attention to the details is now of the utmost importance.

Deep in Ecuador’s Rainforest, A Plan to Forego an Oil Bonanza

By Kelly Hearn, Yale Environment 360, 13 September 2010 | Hunched in the back of a pickup truck speeding down an oil road near the western border of Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park, Juan Carlos Acacho – a short, wiry Shuar Indian – says he’s never heard of email or the Internet. But the father of six, who supports his family on a small jungle farm plot, has heard that oil companies want to drill in Yasuni, and that the government has been resisting them – a move he applauds. “But the oil companies always do what they want,” he said, smiling and shaking his head. The question facing Ecuador now is: Will the oil industry have its way in Yasuni? From an airplane, the Yasuni National Park is a sea of jungle green, a 4,000-square-mile rainforest wilderness where the Andes Mountains, the Amazon basin, and the equator meet.

Indonesia bans exports of illegally harvested timber

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 13 September 2010 | Stepping up its fight against illegal logging, the government began the implementation early this month of a ban on exports of illegally harvested wood and wood products. The government made it mandatory for forestry companies to obtain official certificates to show that timber has been legally sourced without damaging forests. The policy has been deemed necessary since according to official statistics illegal logging activities have been destroying more than 1 million hectares of forests each year. “If a source of timber is untraceable, it will be categorized as illegal and byproducts will be ineligible for export to markets in the EU,” Hadi Daryanto, the director general of forest product development at the Forestry Ministry, told The Jakarta Post. The Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) would be applied for industrial forest concessions (HTI), production forest concessions (HPH) and community plantation forests (HTR).

Australia minister reassures coal industry, 13 September 2010 | Australia’s new climate change minister aimed to reassure the country’s coal mining sector of its vital role in the country’s economy. Greg Combet, a former coal engineer and union official, replaced Penny Wong in the post in Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s new Cabinet announced Saturday. “You do not take the back of the ax to the fundamentals of the Australian economy,” Combet told The Australian newspaper Monday. “I’ve got a responsibility to support those people’s jobs. The coal industry is a very vibrant industry with a strong future,” Combet said. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal.

14 September 2010

Indigenous territories’ workshop report

REDD-Net, 14 September 2010 | This report summarises the discussion at the Indigenous Territories’ workshop, held on 31 August in Costa Rica and organised by FONAFIFO.

Carbon Rights and REDD: What does it mean for communities in Asia‐Pacific?

REDD-Net, 14 September 2010 | Civil society representatives and other stakeholders from ten Asia‐Pacific countries met in Quezon City, Philippines, 18‐19 August, 2010, to participate in the Regional REDD‐net Workshop. The theme of the Regional Workshop was Carbon Rights and REDD: What does it mean for communities in Asia‐Pacific? The workshop brought together representatives from countries in Asia‐Pacific to share learning and improve understanding on carbon rights and their implications for indigenous peoples and local communities. Presentations by local community representatives, experts and practitioners in the field of carbon markets provided the foundation for discussions. Participants critically assessed how the concepts of carbon rights are being addressed in real contexts and where particular threats and opportunities lie.

New Map Shows Measuring Carbon in Amazon Is Feasible

By Laura Petersen, New York Times, 14 September 2010 | Calculating how many acres of Amazon forest are cleared each year is relatively easy thanks to satellite imaging. Determining how much carbon is stored in that forest is another matter. Unlike forest cover, carbon cannot be seen from satellites in space. Scientists have to physically measure tree trunks in order to calculate how much of the greenhouse gas is stored in their woody limbs and green leaves. Measuring every tree on the planet is clearly impractical, and this has posed a challenge for those seeking to establish financial incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation, such as the United Nations’ Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program. The carbon released when trees are cut down is estimated to contribute 10 to 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN‐REDD Programme

By Tiina Vähänen, UN‐REDD Programme Secretariat, UNFF AHEG on Forest Financing Nairobi, 14 September 2010 | REDD+ State of Play: Deforestation, forest degradation and other changes in forests contribute 17 % of all GHG emissions; Deforestation rate is slowing down but still alarming; REDD+ efforts are increasing while at early stage; REDD+ will need to promote equitable development (e.g. local livelihoods and jobs); US$4 billion pledged for early action 2010‐2012; REDD+ Partnership established; UNFCCC negotiations continue.

Financing of SFM: New opportunities through REDD Roles of ministries and key stakeholders

By Ivar Jørgensen, Embassy of Norway, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, 14 September 2010 | The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative: Launched in Bali by PM Jens Stoltenberg; NICFI has become an important player in the global REDD processes; Pilots underway in many countries, global programmes launched; Demonstrates that REDD can be a key funding source for SFM. REDD is part of the way forward for SFM financing: REDD represents a historic opportunity for funding of sustainable forest management, given the importance of deforestation for GHG emissions; Readiness funds provide up-front financing; Forest sector should grab REDD as a way to sell key aspect of forests (carbon sequestration ability) to the global market; The sector must develop expertise on how to do this, including e.g. MRV, safeguards, market knowledge; All of these will have synergies and enhance the other benefits of forests (economic, environmental, social).

15 September 2010

EU re-examines forestry’s climate role, 15 September 2010 | The long-debated issue of what part forestry should be play if any in the European Union’s climate change effort is again at the fore. The European Commission last week opened a consultation on whether land-based activity, the LULUCF sector in Kyoto Protocol jargon, should be included in the EU’s 2020 emissions reduction effort. Currently LULUCF is not included in EU emissions accounting and human-related greenhouse emissions and emissions reduction activity does not count towards its Kyoto targets. Yet latest official figures show 410 million tonnes of CO2e in greenhouse gases were removed from the atmosphere in 2008 by the EU forestry sector, around 8 per cent of total EU emissions across its 27 member states. But forest activity – afforestation and reforestation primarily – has been left out in the cold in current emissions targets to 2012 and the following target for a 20 per cent reduction below 1990 levels by 2020.

What are REDD, REDD+ and REDD++?

Global Environmental Policy Window, 15 September 2010 | REDD: This is to ensure that avoidable deforestation and forest degradation can be reduced to the maximum. These include but not limit to land clearing for sales, allocating land concessions or commercial timber harvesting in community forests, setting fires for animal hunting or land clearing etc. Multiple co-benefits could be achieved. REDD+: This is to ensure, maintain or increase the continued flow of commercial timber from tropical forests to avoid the possible rising of timber price or the shift of timber harvesting to annex 1 countries. It also ensures that biodiversity in forests is protected, especially biodiversity in protected areas. REDD++: This is to prevent the conversion of low-carbon but high biodiversity forest lands (reaching minimum threshold of forest definition) for intensive agricultural cultivation or other short-term benefit practices when high carbon-stock forests are guarded for REDD+ benefits.

Spain: Optimal management of forests best option for reducing CO2 emissions, 15 September 2010 | Deforestation and forest degradation is one of the greatest causes of global warming, as well as source of greenhouse gas emissions, so proposals should be implemented to encourage optimal management of forests in the fight against Climate Change. “The role of forests in mitigating climate change is key, for their carbon storage capacity and as an alternative to fossil fuels,” the Secretary of State for Climate Change, Teresa Ribera, said today during opening of the conference “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation: A social, economic and environmental mechanism.” [R-M: article available in Spanish, here:]

Indonesia implements export ban on non-certified timber, 15 September 2010 | Indonesia has begun implementing a ban on exports of illegally harvested timber and wood products, reports The Jakarta Post. The Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) requires exporters to obtain certification to demonstrate the timber has been sustainably and legally sourced. The move comes after the U.S. and E.U. passed regulations, the Lacey Act and FLEG-T, respectively, prohibiting import and sale of illegally logged wood. China, a major importer of legal and illegal timber, has also indicated it is weighing tighter control on wood. Hadi Daryanto, director general of forest product development at the Forestry Ministry, told The Jakarta Post that any non-certified timber would be banned from export. “If a source of timber is untraceable, it will be categorized as illegal and byproducts will be ineligible for export to markets in the EU,” Hadi was quoted as saying.

Brazilian Indians held prisoner by gunmen

Survival International, 15 September 2010 | A large group of Guarani Indians in Brazil is being held prisoner by gunmen hired by ranchers. The gunmen have cut off the Indians’ access to food, water and health care since they surrounded their community one month ago. The gunmen began to threaten the Guarani and prevent anyone from leaving or entering the area soon after the Indians returned to their ancestral land, which is now occupied by the Triunfo (“Triumph”) ranch. Despite pleas from the Guarani for police assistance and urgent medical care, their community, known as Ypo’i, is still besieged. A team from the federal health ministry has allegedly refused to enter, citing ‘security problems’. Reports indicate that the only officials who have entered the community with the gunmen’s agreement is a team from Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department FUNAI, who delivered some food parcels.

Carbon capture’ is future option for Solomon Islands forestry sector

PINA, 15 September 2010 | Carbon trading is a future option and opportunity for the forestry sector in Solomon Islands, said the Commissioner of Forests, Reeves Moveni. Mr Moveni and Undersecretary of Agriculture and Livestock, John Harunari are currently attending the four days regional meeting of Heads of Agriculture and Forestry sector meeting organized by Lands Resources Division (LRD) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). Mr Moveni said carbon capture will expand the life cycle of logging plantation, reduce damage and enrich plant degraded natural forests. Carbon trading is a form of emission that specifically targets carbon dioxide (calculated in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or tCO2e) and it currently constitutes the bulk of emissions trading.

Vietnam, Laos step up agricultural co-operation

Nhan Dan, 15 September 2010 | Vietnam and Laos have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost their comprehensive co-operation in agro-forestry, fisheries and rural development with a focus on science and technology, training, investment and trade. The MoU was signed in Hanoi by Cao Duc Phat, Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Sitaheng Rasphone, Lao Agro-Forestry Minister on September 14… The two countries’ agricultural ministries will strengthen bilateral and multilateral co-operation to realise their regional and international commitments in the fields of climate change, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), and food security and safety, as well as strengthening the management and enforcement of laws on forestry and forest product trade.

International Financing for REDD

WWF, 15 September 2010 | This series of technical reports on “International Financing for REDD” were produced to further UNFCCC parties’ understanding of the role and sequencing of public, private and market funding for REDD; and to discuss institutional and funding arrangements for REDD at international and national levels. These reports are released as technical discussion papers that do not necessarily represent WWF’s official position on these matters.

Brazil’s cerrado wins protection, but will it be enough to save the wildlife-rich grassland?, 15 September 2010 | Brazil announced a plan to protect the cerrado, the vast woody savanna that covers 20 percent of the country but has become the nation’s biggest single source of carbon emissions due to conversion for agriculture and cattle pasture, reports Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment. Unveiled today in Brasilia, the $200 million initiative establishes the “political framework for the conservation and sustainable use of the most threatened biome in Brazil,” according to a statement released by the ministry. The Action Plan to Prevent and Control Deforestation and Wildfires in the Cerrado Biome (PPCerrado) comes under Brazil’s ambitious program to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent from a projected 2020 baseline. The plan initially focused on reducing emissions from Amazon deforestation, neglecting emissions from the cerrado, which last year surpassed those from rainforest clearing.

Origin Energy resurrects plan for PNG hydro

The Age, 15 September 2010 | Origin Energy says it will sign an agreement with the governments of Papua New Guinea and Queensland to potentially support development of a large hydro-electricity project. The 50:50 joint venture between Origin and PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd could ultimately see the hydro plant built at PNG’s Purari River, the nation’s third largest waterway. Under the plan, electricity from the project would be used to power villages in PNG and would be transmitted to Australia via Weipa to join the national electricity grid at Townsville. Plans for such a project have been in existence since the 1970s, a company spokesman said, but have now been updated. The governments of PNG and Queensland will on Wednesday sign a Memorandum of Cooperation with the joint venture company, PNG Energy Developments Ltd (PNG EDL) concerning the plans.

World Bank invests record sums in coal

By Juliette Jowit, Guardian, 15 September 2010 | Record sums were invested last year in coal power – the most carbon intensive form of energy on the planet – by the World Bank, despite international commitments to slash the carbon emissions blamed for climate change. The World Bank said this week that a total of US$3.4bn (£2.2bn) – or a quarter of all funding for energy projects – was spent in the year to June 2010 helping to build new coal-fired power stations, including the controversial Medupi plant in South Africa. Over the same period the bank also spent $1bn (£640m) on looking and drilling for oil and gas. However, the Bank Information Centre, which examined the spending, disagreed and said the figure invested in coal was $4.4bn in the fiscal year 2009-10.

16 September 2010

Shift2Neutral and Amazon Reforestation Project Sign MOU to Save 850,000ha of Rainforest

Shift2Neutral press release, 16 September 2010 | Shift2Neutral and the Amazon Reforestation Project sign a Memorandum of Agreement in an unprecedented move to save more than 850,000 hectares of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil from Deforestation and to assist in the Reforestation of more than 150,000 hectares of land already effected by Avoided Deforestation. Shift2Neutral with the assistance of its Canadian partner Mr Ron Dewhurst, worked closely with Co Founders of the Amazon Reforestation Project, Mr Albert George and President and Chairman renowned environmentalist and former spokesperson for Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino. The key initiatives and drivers for the agreement is the protection of natural land and forests in area owned by Amazon Reforestation Project, and to work together to cease the decline in the environment at local, national, and global levels.

Carbon trade tipped to boost economy, environment

Environment Waikato press release, 16 September 2010 | Environment Waikato is looking at promoting forestry and carbon farming opportunities that will help grow a new green economy while delivering positive flow-on effects for the environment. The policy committee today called for further investigations to help the council decide whether to develop a strategy to steer participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with an eye to supporting landowners, boosting the regional economy and achieving spin-off benefits for soil conservation, biodiversity and water quality. Under the ETS, industries are required to buy carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon credits can also be traded for cash.

World Bank sells 500,000 U.N. carbon offsets

By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 16 September 2010 | The World Bank has sold 500,000 United Nations-backed carbon offsets for the U.N.’s adaptation fund, Credit Suisse, which acted as a dealer for the sale, said in a statement. The transaction took place during the period Aug. 27 to Sept. 10, and the end-buyers varied across sectors and regions, Credit Suisse said. The value of the transaction was not disclosed. The offsets, called certified emissions reductions (CERs), closed at 13.69 euros ($17.75) a tonne on the European Climate Exchange on Sept. 10. The World Bank sells CERs on behalf of the adaptation fund regularly on exchanges and through over-the-counter transactions with approved dealers. The bank has monetised over $124 million worth of CERs for the fund up to Sept. 10. The adaptation fund was set up by the U.N. to finance projects to help poor nations adapt to climate change.

Swearing in of Indigenous Peoples Commission ‘a good day for the country’ – President

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 16 September 2010 | “In fact, I was speaking with someone from the World Bank who came from the Philippines and he was saying that Guyana has the second best policy in the world in relation to Indigenous People. Of course he named the Philippines as the first but I don’t believe him,” [Jagdeo] said lightheartedly… “When the Prime Minister of Norway [and others] met in New York, we were told by the World Bank that in four weeks they will be ready. We’re still having difficulties with the World Bank. Norway has the money, Guyana has the projects ready. The problem is with the financial intermediary. Because of institutional malaise…old thinking…the World Bank has not risen to the level that it takes to intermediate climate change financing. They still need to learn much and to do much more in that regard,” said President Jagdeo.

New Permits to Pollute Sought

By David Cronin, IPS, 16 September 2010 | Extra permits to pollute the atmosphere would be given to corporations that invest in areas surrounding tropical rainforests under plans drawn up by one of Europe’s most influential pressure groups. With deforestation accounting for 20 percent of global releases of heat- trapping gases, the future of schemes ostensibly aimed at preserving tropical ecosystems will be one of the key topics for the United Nations’ climate change negotiations in Cancún, Mexico, during November and December… “Including forest credits in the ETS would be a very bad idea,” said Jutta Kill from the forest conservation group Fern. “The main reason why it would be a bad idea is that carbon offsetting is a big distraction from tackling climate change.”

Ready for REDD+? Connecting forests to carbon emissions markets

Ceres, press release, 16 September 2010 | In this episode, we are joined by Dorjee Sun, CEO of Carbon Conservation, a forest carbon financing and management company, to talk about the work his company is doing to protect forests and help get these carbon reduction markets out of the woods. Listen to the episode at Paying people to not cut down forests? Sounds like an odd business model, but it is one that is gaining ground as governments, companies and advocates try to address reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Right now, eighteen percent of global carbon dioxide emissions come from cutting, burning and degrading the world’s forests, especially in the tropics – making protection of our forests a crucial part of our strategies to mitigate climate change. Just last month, the Voluntary Carbon Standard approved its first methodology to quantify the benefits of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation – known as REDD in the carbon market world.

Australian PM welcomes BHP carbon tax call

AFP, 16 September 2010 | Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Thursday welcomed surprise backing from BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, for a carbon tax to ease pollution. Gillard, whose fragile coalition includes the environment-focused Greens party, said the comments from BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers chimed with government plans. “I welcome the statements today from Mr Kloppers,” Gillard said. “Obviously many members of the business community, Mr Kloppers included, have made statements and have called over quite a long period of time now for governments to deal with the question of pricing carbon. “It’s absolutely no secret … that the government believes we need to work towards a price on carbon.” … Greens leader Senator Bob Brown also praised Kloppers’ speech, which comes as the government prepares to set up a climate change committee of MPs and experts to work towards pricing carbon emissions.

Afridi stresses on utilisation of country’s natural resources

Daily Times, 16 September 2010 | Federal Minster for Environment Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi has said that Pakistan is a diverse country with rich natural resources; however these resources are under a heavy pressure due to several socio-economic factors. He also said that Pakistan being signatory to the UNFCC has committed itself to global commitments regarding climate change. He further said that Pakistan is utilising all possible resources to conserve and manage natural resources and face the challenges of global warming and climate change. Environment Minister expressed these views while addressing as chief guest in a training workshop on Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation and Reducing Emissions due to deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), organised by Ministry of Environment in collaboration with inter-cooperation funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on Wednesday.

17 September 2010

Mapping home and hoping for recognition

By Evi Mariani, Jakarta Post, 17 September 2010 | Residents of Benua Tengah kampung in Kapuas Hulu are keen to map their own territory. Having occupied the land for generations, the Dayak Taman Embaloh tribe does not possess any documents supporting their ownership claims to their land, where their long house, paddy fields and reserve forests sit. The need is more notable, especially, as the state often ignores the inhabitants when it issues licenses to companies or declares the area a protected forest. Conflicts between indigenous communities and the state are frequent in the forested parts of the nation, the secretary-general of Alliance of Archipelagic Indigenous People (AMAN), Abdon Nababan, said. Several documents published by NGOs concerning forests showed that all conflicts were caused by the absence of public participation and recognition of customary rights when it came to planning. Participatory mapping, therefore, was one way to fight for recognition.

Environment Ministry seriously pursuing CDM, REDD agenda: Afridi, 17 September 2010 | Ministry of Environment is seriously pursuing CDM and REDD agenda in the country. Sustainable development of the forestry sector is need of time and Ministry of Environment is utilizing all possible resources for promotion of forestry area in the country. Forestry sector is playing important role in the socio-economic development of the country however, public -private sector and related stakeholders have to come forward in this regard. Federal Secretary Environment, Muhammad Javed Malik said this while addressing the media persons in a briefing about Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation and Reducing Emissions due to Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) here Friday.

CCMSS: Deforestation is attacked with a billion dollars a year, will require 33

By Angélica Enciso L., La Jornada, 17 September 2010 | To combat deforestation and forest degradation, which generate 17.4% of greenhouse gas emissions – one of the three main causes of climate change – only $1 billion dollars annually have been designated, when it takes between 17 and 33 billion dollars to lower them 50% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. In an analysis, the Mexican Civil Council for Sustainable Forestry (CCMSS) explained that it is essential to design a funding mechanism based on the agreements that are negotiated within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). [R-M: article available here in Spanish:]

News Summary: September 17, 2010

Forest Carbon Portal, 17 September 2010 | New rumbling emerged from Europe this week that the potential for emissions-reducing activities involving land use, land-use change, and forestry may be finally getting a day in the European sun. The European Commission opened up a public consultation to reevaluate the way Europe has gone about accounting for its land use emissions, particularly involving forest management. We’re still not at the stage of debating whether the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will be opening its doors to offsets from land-use activities, but this still signals a potential sea change from the earlier European position on forestry leading in to Kyoto. The Interim REDD+ Partnership took some more flak recently as a group of more than 30 NGOs spelled out a growing disappointment with the Partnership’s gestures at public consultation.

RI, Norway to make LoI more binding

By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 17 September 2010 | Indonesia and Norway are set to upgrade the level of the climate deal to bind the two countries in meeting their pledges to cut emissions amid protests from businesses who fear the deal would hamper investment… The LoI would be upgraded into a legally binding agreement scheduled to be signed on Sept. 22 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. “With a binding agreement, Norway must pay the promised funds to a financial institution,” presidential special assistant on climate change Agus Purnomo said Thursday… “We will be obliged to stop issuing new licenses to exploit remaining peatland and natural forest areas. The peatlands must be protected regardless of their depth,” he said. “However, companies that obtained business licenses before January 2011 will be exempted.”

Graft could jeopardise Indonesia’s climate deals

By Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, 17 September 2010 | Billions of dollars Indonesia stands to earn every year in climate change deals could be at risk if it fails to stamp out corruption in its forestry sector, long notorious for graft and focus of an ongoing investigation… Indonesia’s lucrative palm oil, plantations and mining sectors say the moratorium on land conversion will hinder expansion and profits. And the forestry sector has a legacy of mismanagement and graft. “It’s a source of unlimited corruption,” said Chandra M. Hamzah, deputy chairman at the KPK anti-graft agency… Wandojo Siswanto, one of Indonesia’s top negotiators at last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen and a member of the team that negotiated with Norway, was named a suspect in September 2009, but has continued to work as a senior Forestry Department official. He an architect of Indonesia’s laws on the UN scheme, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).

Indonesia’s forest carbon negotiator named as corruption suspect, 17 September 2010 | Wandojo Siswanto, one of the lead negotiators for Indonesia’s climate delegation in Copenhagen and a key architect of its REDD program, has been named as a corruption suspect by the country’s anti-corruption agency, KPK, reports Reuters. Siswanto is accused of receiving a bribe of about $10,000 from Anggoro Widjojo, a director of PT Masaro Radiokom, to win favorable treatment in the forest ministry’s budget for the telecommunications company… Siswanto maintains he is innocent in the Masaro Radiokom case, telling Reuters that while he received the money, he turned it over to the KPK after holding it for four months. “It was just put on my table. I was not brave enough to make a report to the KPK at that time,” he told Reuters… Nevertheless, the charge raises troubling questions about the capacity of Indonesia’s forestry ministry to manage potentially billions of dollars of payments under the proposed REDD program…

Jago Wadley highlights some good news for Indonesia’s forests (with caveats, of course…)

Jago Wadley, EIA Investigator’s Blog, 17 September 2010 | Recent news from Indonesia on revisions made to the Papua Provincial Spatial Plan, made public this month, gives rise to significant hopes that large areas of Papua’s forests may be saved from conversion to plantations and agricultural estates, at least in the short-to-medium term. This month, Papua’s government finally registered its Provincial Spatial Plan with the central government. The plan defines land use zoning and functions from 2010 – 2030, and must be incorporated into the national spatial plan. Under the new plan, Papua’s Protected Forest area has been increased by 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres), a massive 44% increase. More significantly, the area classified as “Conversion Forest” – the focus of big plantations companies – has been decreased by 2.85 million hectares (around 7 million acres), also a 44% decrease.

Spain – Conference on Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Madrid Teresa Ribera stresses that the forestry sector constitutes a fundamental tool in the fight against climate change, 17 September 2010 | The State Secretary for Climate Change stressed that the forestry sector has a great deal to offer in terms of the global reduction in greenhouse gases, as well as global adaptation to climate change. At the official opening ceremony of the Conference entitled “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation: a social, economic and environmental mechanism” organised by the Official Association of Forestry Engineers, the State Secretary for Climate Change, Teresa Ribera, stressed that the forestry sector has a great deal to offer in terms of the fight against climate change… The State Secretary for Climate Change recalled that Spain has been investing in various funds for many years now, including the World Bank Biocarbon Fund, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the Forma Project for forestation and reforestation training under the Clean Development Mechanism in Latin America, among others…

Congo among nations advancing on forest carbon

By Alistair Doyle, Reuters, 17 September 2010 | Nations including DR Congo are making surprise progress towards taking part in a $200 million project for slowing deforestation from late 2010, World Bank experts said. They also said Latin America, with forested nations around the Amazon, had strong incentives to take part since most of the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions came from deforestation and shifts in land use, rather than use of fossil fuels. “We intend to start operations later this year,” Benoit Bosquet, lead carbon finance specialist at the World Bank, told Reuters of the Carbon Fund, part of a facility that involves 37 forested developing nations and 14 donors. The fund, a public-private project for which the World Bank is trustee, so far has pledges totalling $50 million and aims for a total $200 million… The $4 billion “is a very important part of the fast-start funds,” said Sergio Jellinek, World Bank manager of external affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cold comfort on Kyoto

Business Standard, 17 September 2010 | The clarification by a United Nations’ climate change official that the Kyoto protocol will continue even after 2012, when its scheduled emission reduction commitment period ends, provides only cold comfort. Unless there are fresh binding commitments for reduction in the emission of environment-injurious greenhouse gases (GHGs), the continuation of the toothless Kyoto accord will be pointless. In any case, even the action stipulated in the Kyoto accord for combating global warming fell far short of putting an end to global warming, though it was deemed a good beginning towards that end. Sadly, even the modest GHG reduction targets set for the developed countries under the Kyoto pact are unlikely to be fully met. This apart, the carbon market-based clean development mechanism (CDM) launched under the Kyoto protocol has also been found to suffer from several imperfections.

18 September 2010

It’s a jungle out there, in the forest

By Julia Suryakusuma, Jakarta Post, 18 September 2010 | In Oslo, May this year, Prime Minister Stoltenbery issued a statement at a joint press conference held with President Yudhoyono, “Indonesia is a key country in terms of reducing deforestation, therefore this agreement and Indonesia’s commitment is a great step forward in achieving large scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”. Fine words, but the reality of what’s involved in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is very different on the ground in inner Kalimantan. Perhaps Stoltenbery and the REDD team should come directly to Putussibau where the betrayals, lies, corruption — and the logging of virgin ancestral forest — is still going on. They should talk not only to officials, whose pockets depend on the destruction of these forests, but talk to the Dayaks, whose lives depends on them. If not, it will really be a jungle out there, but one without any forest, just rivers of blood.

Community Forestry Management, Indigenous Peoples, and REDD

Planting Empowerment, 18 September 2010 | I recently visited the community of Ixtpal de Juarez, an indigenous community in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico. The 19,000 hectares of forest that the community manages generates almost $2 million/year in revenue and more employment than the community can fill. I recently visited the community of Ixtpal de Juarez, an indigenous community in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico. The 19,000 hectares of forest that the community manages generates almost $2 million/year in revenue and more employment than the community can fill. The heart of this operation is a forestry management unit that uses sustainable practices on the 3600 hectares… One of the reasons for success is significant technical assistance during the first 10 years and access to cheap or free capital. Technical assistance isn’t free nor is the expensive saw in the sawmill. Cashflows from a REDD project on community land could be used to finance these requirements.

19 September 2010

‘Promote carbon trading’

Business Standard, 19 September 2010 | “As EU is not interested in buying carbon credit from the agriculture sector due to the cumbersome procedures prescribed under Kyoto Protocol, the government should take the initiative to put a mechanism in the country for facilitating carbon trading in the country,” James Jacob, director of Rubber Research Institute of India, said. He also said, of the 2,362 the Indian projects approved under clean development mechanism (CDM,) only 15 were from the plantation sector. Referring to this matter, A K Mangotra, additional secretary of Ministry of Commerce, said, “We are constantly trying to push the case of plantation sector on the issue of Kyoto protocol. We will again raise this issue in the next round of conference of parties in December, 2010.” … “As the acreage under plantation grows in India, there is scope for earning more credit from the sector,” T V Alexander, president of UPASI said.

The missing legal framework of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy

By Abiola Inniss, Demerara Waves, 19 September 2010 | The Guyana low carbon development strategy has been hailed internationally for its innovative attempt at mitigating the damage inflicted by carbon emissions globally. The issue of greatest concern and interest however is that this bilateral agreement with Norway does not seem to have a readily identifiable legal and regulatory framework to which Guyanese may apply for guidance on such matters as intellectual property rights , trade rights and the rights and mechanisms of redress for breaches of fundamental business law issues within the ambit of the LCDS. The Memorandum of Understanding and concept note between Guyana and Norway ,give some indication of the mechanisms for the monitoring of the funds coming from Norway and the standards which are to be met in order that funding might be sustained, it is clear however that it is for Guyana to implement the necessary mechanisms for development of this strategy.

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