A 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.
World Agroforestry Centre, no date | This easy-to-read research summary explains how agroforestry is one REDD scheme with considerable potential in Africa but to be effective, policymakers must show their support. The summary was written by Festus Akinnifesi, the World Agroforestry Centre’s Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa, and published in Joto Afrika in September 2010. Joto Afrika is a series of printed briefings and online resources about adapting to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa. The series helps people understand the issues, constraints and opportunities that poor people face in adapting to climate change and escaping poverty.
The REDD desk, no date | Bangkok, Thailand, 25 October – 5 November 2010. Scholarship deadline: 1 June 2010. Application deadline: 25 September 2010. How can we link local actions at farm or forest levels to the broader landscape? This course introduces the landscape approach, a robust cross-sectoral and integrated approach that can contribute directly towards development goals for tackling poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability. In this hands-on course, participants will develop practical skills and experience in the use of tools applicable for landscape-level planning, monitoring, and implementation. It is jointly run by Wageningen UR-CDI and RECOFTC.
REDD-net, no date | The main principle underlying REDD+ is the transfer of large financial incentives from developed to developing countries, targeted at reducing deforestation and degradation. The scale of the payments is likely to be linked to rates of reduction in deforestation and degradation. REDD+ therefore has the potential to provide substantial financial benefits to tropical developing countries. The way in which these benefits are realised has become a major issue in REDD+. A particular concern is that the benefits (and costs) may not be equitably shared between different stakeholders and that poor people in particular could lose out because they have less power in decision making processes… Please find below a range of REDD-net research and insights into benefits sharing. These will be updated in the coming months including country updates and thematic bulletins.
REDD-net.org, no date | This set of 11 infosheets takes stock of the some of the key sources on a range of relevant issues. There has been an explosion of research reports, policy papers and other information sources on REDD+ over the last three years, making it increasingly difficult to navigate through the wide range of issues in the debate. This set of infosheets takes stock of the some of the key sources on a range of issues relevant to REDD+. Each one gives a short summary of the evidence that exists and highlights key references for further information. Topics discussed are: Catalysing REDD+ at the national level; Financing REDD+; Governing REDD+, REDD+ and targets; REDD+ and low carbon development; REDD+ and adaptation to climate change; Reference level setting for REDD+; Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of social and development issues; MRV of greenhouse gas emissions; The impact of REDD+ on poverty redcution; The role of grants versus loans.
By Hira Bahadur Thapa, The Rising Nepal, no date | When the ambitious UN Summit on Climate Change floundered in Copenhagen in December 2009, failing to forge consensus on practical measures to cut down on emission levels, the only relief that the world community got was an agreement on launching REDD projects… If Nepal pursues the REDD initiative, it has chances to enjoy the benefits by conserving her ecosystems as she is very rich in biodiversity. Her rich genetic resources can be utilised by mobilising international assistance. So far, the equitable utilisation of such rare resources has only been confined to rhetoric. Now is the time for Nepal to wake up to the call and re-energise her attempts to engage constructively in multilateral negotiations to finalise a Protocol to the Convention on Biodiversity. It is a fact that in the absence of such a protocol, the convention though signed more than a decade ago, has remained ineffective.
4 October 2010
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 4 October 2010 | Negotiators from all 194 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are meeting this week in Tianjin, China. It’s the last major meeting before year-end talks in Cancun, and officially they’re trying to iron out technical issues and overcome differences between developed and developing nations. The real news, however, may be coming from the REDD+ Partnership, which is meeting in a parallel track in close cooperation with the UNFCCC… In June, the [REDD+] Partnership released its interim partnership agreement, and co-chairs Junya Nakano of Japan and Federica Bietta of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations told Ecosystem Marketplace that they would spend the summer developing financing schemes and working on a plan that incorporates the needs of indigenous people.
Ben Vickers, RECOFTC blog, 4 October 2010 | Talks about talks about REDD are underway again. Two days before the Tianjin round officially began, the REDD+ partnership met to discuss how to pay for REDD+ readiness, how effective multilateral efforts have been so far, and the latest happenings with country-level work. So what’s new? Benoit Bosquet of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility reported that a planned analysis, looking at how multilateral institutions can link up for REDD readiness efforts, has not begun for lack of available consultants. Now that is a little puzzling – if there’s one thing the world is certainly not short of, it’s REDD consultants.
physorg.com, 4 October 2010 | In a warming 21st century, tropical forests will be at risk from a variety of threats, especially the conversion to cropland to sustain a growing population. A new report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition shows that crop productivity improvements and carbon emission limits together could prevent widespread tropical deforestation over the next 100 years – but if relying on either one alone, the world is at risk of losing many of its tropical forests… But the study clearly shows that improving crop productivity alone will not prevent tropical deforestation. Also needed is some form of economic incentive to store carbon in forests, for example, a plan to limit all carbon emissions – from burning fossil fuels, biofuels or whole forests to make way for crops or other land uses – through economic methods such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade program.
By Jeff Neilson, Inside Indonesia, 4 October 2010 | Implementing REDD+ depends on accurately identifying and mapping who has legitimate rights over the carbon stored in landscapes. Promoters of REDD+ presume that carbon rights are linked to established systems of resource rights. Such rights, however, are highly contested across Indonesia, with only tentative shifts towards acknowledging community property and resource use rights since the fall of Suharto… When asked about the benefits of the devolved forest management model in Lubuk Beringin, one villager replied, ‘the outside world needs the carbon in our forests, so now we can sell it to foreigners’. Optimism and knowledge of carbon markets are high. Yet there had been no specific announcement of REDD+ programs slated for the Lubuk Beringin land.
Stabroek News, 4 October 2010 | The contract awarded to Synergy is for “the upgrading of approximately 85 km of existing roadway, the design and construction of approximately 110 km of virgin roadway, the design and construction of two new pontoon crossings at the Essequibo and Kuribrong rivers.” The fourth part of the project is for the clearing of a pathway alongside the roadways to allow for the installation of approximately 65 km of transmission lines. President Bharrat Jagdeo announced at the GuyExpo opening on Thursday that with the payment of US$30 million by Norway into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) expected shortly, the Amaila Falls project can begin. “The first payment enables us to get started with removing our entire economy from fossil fuel dependence…and will form part of the government’s investment in the hydroelectricity plant at the Amaila Falls,” he said.
Jakarta Post, 4 October 2010 | Carbon footprint consultancy Carbon Conservation and Sinar Mas Group subsidiary Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) launched a project on Monday that aims to turn more than 15,000 hectares of pulpwood plantation concessions in Kampar, Riau, into a carbon reserve area. Multiple assessments have found that the peat reserve, or “dome’, which was previously designated as a pulpwood plantation concession owned by PT Putra Riau Perkasa (PRP), is rich in biodiversity and needs to be conserved, Carbon Investment chief executive officer Dorjee Sun said. PRP is an APP supplier. The peat dome was expected to preserve significant amounts of carbon for at least 33 years, Sun said, but will require an initial investment of US$2 million (Rp 17.5 billion).
By Sunanda Creagh and David Fogarty, Reuters, 4 October 2010 | Indonesian pulp and paper firm Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), accused by green groups of large-scale deforestation, has signed a deal to protect a large area of forest in return for carbon offset revenue. The deal is the first privately funded project turning a pulpwood plantation concession into a carbon reserve, said APP. The deal with APP and Singapore-based Carbon Conservation, which helps governments protect areas of forest, is to set aside 15,640 hectares (38,650 acres) of peat forest in a 33-year pilot project aimed at encouraging plantation firms to become greener.
OECD, 4 October 2010 | Biodiversity provides critical ecosystem services for our economy, society and human wellbeing – bees to fertilize crops, plants that provide medicines, and forests that clean air and regulate our climate… Policy makers are trying to find ways to scale-up such PES programmes. Internationally, one example is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD-plus) in developing countries, proposed under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Targeting REDD-plus to areas with high carbon as well as high biodiversity can help to capture global biodiversity benefits.
By Tom Phillips, Guardian, 4 October 2010 | Environmental campaigners and Green party activists heralded a breakthrough today after a former rubber-tapper from the Brazilian Amazon who rose to be a world-famous rainforest defender became the central figure in the second round of the country’s presidential election. Marina Silva, who was raised in the Amazon state of Acre and was illiterate until the age of 16, failed to make the second round but came away with 19% of the vote, far higher than pollsters had expected. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s chosen candidate, Dilma Rousseff, meanwhile missed out on a first-round majority, polling a disappointing 46.7%.
By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 4 October 2010 | The global carbon market will not be worth $1-2 trillion a year by 2020 if the United States does not speed up efforts for a federal emissions trading scheme, delegates warned at a carbon conference in London on Monday. “There will be, I’m afraid, no real expansion of the carbon markets to their global potential without movement in the U.S.,” said Henry Derwent, chief executive and president of the International Emissions Trading Association. “Until someone explains to them (the U.S.) how wrong they are, we will be stuck with a comfortable living in the European market but nothing, nothing near the potential we should be earning,” he added. Some expect the $144 billion global carbon market to grow to $1-2 trillion a year by 2020, as demand for carbon credits increases after 2012 when the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol is due to expire. However, the global market’s value fell by 9 percent in the third quarter this year to $28 billion…
By Chetan Chauban, Hindustan Times, 4 October 2010 | India is now world’s third biggest carbon dioxide emitting nation after China and the US. The new emission data from the United Nations is a probable cause of worry for India’s climate negotiators at the next round of talks that started in Tianjin in China on Monday, where rich countries are expected to ask India and China to take legally binding emission cuts after 2012, when present global climate treaty expires. China in 2009 moved to the top position while contributing 23 per cent of the total global emissions and India this year surpassed Russia to take the third position with five percent.
FECOFUN Press Release, 4 October 2010 | To diminish the rights of Community Forest Users Groups (CFUGS), the ad hoc government is in the process of amendment the Forest Act 1993 without any consultation with stakeholders. In this regards, Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN), an umbrella organization of 15,000 Community Forestry User Groups around Nepal, advocating for the rights of user has been protesting against the proposed amendment since August 18th 2010. In this process on October 3rd 2010, the peaceful demonstration was held in Kathmandu in the leadership of Chairperson Apsra Chapagain. All of the sudden Government/Nepal mobilized security forces and crushed the peaceful demonstration, around 200 people including Chairperson Apsara Chapagain and all National Executive Members /Forest Users detained for eight hours. Some activists are seriously injured. We strongly condemn on this action of government.
VOANews.com, 4 October 2010 | The final report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 – says global deforestation has decreased over the past 10 years, but remains alarmingly high in many countries… [Mette] Wilkie [coordinator of FAO’s Forestry Resource Assessment] says countries like Brazil and Indonesia have both managed to significantly reduce their deforestation rates in the past 10 years. In Brazil, there’s been a very high political will to do this and they’ve had an excellent monitoring system put in place to detect very early on cutting of forests. In Indonesia, too, she said there’s been more emphasis on sustainable forest management.
carbonpositive.net, 4 October 2010 | The CDM’s forest carbon rules surrounding eligibility of both land and activity type need to be reformed if the forest sector is going to make its contribution to the climate change mitigation effort, argues Dr Promode Kant of India’s Institute of Green Economy: Until today forestry projects form a bare 0.53 per cent of all registered CDM projects because it is almost impossible to find eligible lands for CDM forestry projects that are also biologically suitable for raising trees. The lands most suitable for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, without compromising food security, are the degraded forest lands that extend over 280 million hectares (Mha) worldwide.
baiganchoka.com, 4 October 2010 | Last week, President Jagdeo noted that the financial agreement between Norway and Guyana via the Forest Protection Memorandum will see Guyana with the first installment of 30 million USD this week… Critics of the agreement noted many inconsistencies with the President Jagdeo’s low carbon strategy. One critic in particular is Guyanese professor Janet Bulkan who holds a PHD from Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She has been outspoken on the subject and highly criticized for her point of view by the government of Guyana… I have also been a critic of the President’s strategy, noting that presidentJagdeo is blatantly lying to the Global community about Guyana’s current abilities to protect the rain forest and its current operations in place. I highlighted in 2009, the inconsistencies with the president’s forest pitch.
5 October 2010
By Meena Raman, Climate Justice Now!, 5 October 2010 | The African Group also said that the long-term solution to the climate crisis is an effective and ambitious global effort to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG)… On the issue of REDD-plus, (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation etc. in developing countries), it said that it was necessary to launch the “readiness phase”.
UN-REDD blog, 5 October 2010 | Monday 4 October was the opening day of the Regional Consultation between Indigenous Peoples Organisations from Latin America and the Caribbean and the UN-REDD Programme on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and Recourse Mechanisms for REDD+. Held at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, Panama, the first day brought together representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay. Also present were civil society representatives from organisations based in the USA and Europe (e.g., the Bank Information Center, ClientEarth, and the Forest Peoples Programme).
By Beaumont Smith, Asia Times, 5 October 2010 | The widespread destruction of the forests of Malaysia and Indonesia to make way for biofuel, palm-oil, rubber and paper-pulp plantations has been well-documented, and witnessed in the smog that frequently floats over the region from slash-and-burn deforestation. Now, the impact from years of unregulated logging in Laos, often presumed to be one of the last bastions of old forest in the region, is coming into sharper view. The fact that the Laotian military maintains both legal and illegal logging operations is an open secret here; what is less known are the details of the profit-sharing agreements the military has with neighboring Vietnam and how these deals have contributed to massive deforestation in recent years. The Vietnamese army is widely believed to be extracting payment in timber along the border for the costs it incurs to help defend Laotian territory.
By Christina Adkins, blogs.worldwatch.org, 5 October 2010 | From August 31 to September 3, the National Forestry Commission of Mexico and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment held an international conference in Oaxaca, Mexico, in preparation for the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in 2011. The focus of the workshops was on forest governance, management, and finance, with a particular emphasis on implementating the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism and the rights of communities relating to REDD+. REDD+ measures seek to create financial incentives for developing countries to decrease their emissions from forests while at the same time alleviating poverty. However, skeptics worry that more centralized forest governance will infringe on the rights of local communities to manage their own forest resources.
Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD), 5 October 2010 | FIELD has prepared a new guide on REDD-plus – its purpose is to assist developing country negotiators and others who are working on REDD-plus. FIELD provides this information on a neutral non partisan basis. The guide is available in English, French and Spanish.
By John Vidal, Guardian, 5 October 2010 | Wildlife and the world’s last uncontacted tribe both at risk as Mennonites turn Chaco forest into prairie-style farmlands… Worldwide food shortages and rock-bottom land prices in Paraguay have made the Chaco the last agricultural frontier. Great swaths of the virgin thorn forest once dubbed Latin America’s “green hell”, are being turned into prairie-style grasslands to rear meat for Europe and grow biofuel crops for cars. Recent satellite imagery confirmed that about one million hectares, or nearly 10%, of the virgin, dry forest in northern Paraguay has been cleared in just four years by ranchers using fire, chains and bulldozers to open up land… The Mennonites … believe in a strict interpretation of the bible and often seek isolation in remote areas. But the Chaco land rush, which has seen prices rise from under $10 a hectare to over $200 in a few years, has made the sect worth at least $500m.
By Mridul Chadha, Ecopolitology, 5 October 2010 | The Indian space agency plans to launch a satellites dedicated to monitor deforestation activities and afforestation efforts in 2013. The minister of Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, had earlier announced the plans of launching a satellite which would measure India’s greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions. This satellite is scheduled for launch in 2012. Both the satellites would help India achieve important international and domestic goals.
Business Spectator, 5 October 2010 | The insurance arm of Western Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers has signed a deal to offset its 2010 carbon emissions. Wesfarmers Insurance says the deal will see carbon forest sink developer Carbon Conscious Ltd plant 26,000 eucalyptus trees in West Australian farmland. “We are pleased to be a part of a program where Carbon Conscious was planting trees in many of the regional areas where our business operates. Additionally, by retiring voluntary carbon units, we have also ensured that we will be National Carbon Offset Standard compliant and this is important to our efforts around sustainability,” Wesfarmers Insurance corporate affairs manager Georgie Morell said in a statement. Carbon Conscious has carried out similar carbon offsetting projects with Origin Energy and BP Singapore, the statement said.
6 October 2010
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 6 October 2010 | The REDD+ Partnership was supposed to provide an “action track” to help countries that support REDD develop financing and pilot projects that save forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Negotiations, however, have split along the same demographic lines that hobble UNFCCC negotiations. The Partners are meeting in Tianjin, Chin, on the sidelines of the last major UN climate-change meeting before year-end talks in Cancun. The week began with frustration on the part of developing countries, angry over industrialized nations’ refusal to discuss issues of action in 2011 and 2012. “Developed nations seem content to simply agree on operational measures for 2010, and will not entertain scaling up of REDD+ finance and action or results-based payments,” a source close to the negotiations said on Tuesday. “Things may come to a head tonight.”
By Ben Vickers, RECOFTC blog, 6 October 2010 | I attended my first REDD+ partnership meeting last night (Monday). I can now officially report that it is indeed as dysfunctional as I’ve heard, and perhaps more so than I expected. My sunny, optimistic outlook has taken a severe hit… It could be that the chair of the meeting was simply not up to the job, as I’d previously heard. Or perhaps there was a deliberate intention on the part of some individuals to avoid the topic of stakeholder participation. What can be done to move things along? Perhaps those who achieve great things by asking great nations to move aside should take their own advice…
By Liam Cochrane, ABC Asia Pacific News, 6 October 2010 | One of Indonesia’s most notorious logging companies has teamed up with a Time Magazine environmental hero to set up a carbon reserve on the island of Sumatra. Asia Pulp and Paper will join forces with Carbon Conservation, a company headed by Dorjee Sun, whose campaign to save Indonesian forests was the subject of the documentary ‘The Burning Season’… Dorjee Sun says he has encouraged APP to rethink its approach. “They’ve made the commitment, working with us, to stop the logging and stop the plantation development. And in exchange, protect it and develop the local community for preservation rather than exploitation. And that creates carbon credits from protecting that carbon, which we trade to create the financial transaction… In these circumstances, you need to get the poacher, to know the ways of the poacher, to become the protector.”
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 6 October 2010 | An interview with Scott Poynton of The Forest Trust… Legislation that made it illegal to trade in any product linked with illegal deforestation e.g. a food product containing palm oil, soy or beef from plantations, farms or ranches created by illegal forest clearance would be extremely powerful – so long as it had teeth. My view is that we don’t need REDD and we don’t need Copenhagen type meetings – whilst everyone is wringing their hands over REDD, REDD+ our forests continue to go up in smoke. What we need is a global economy that demands “No Deforestation” in the products it uses and that enshrines the key elements of the Nestlé RSGs – High Conservation Value Forests, high carbon value forests, peat, laws, FPIC. Then we can set about saving forests – today.
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 6 October 2010 | A new global assessment of forest stocks by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows continuing loss of primary forests since 2005 despite gains in the extent of protected areas. FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 reveals some 13 million hectares of forest were cleared between 2000 and 2010, down from around 16 million hectares per year during the 1990s. Loss of primary forest – mostly a consequence of logging – averaged 4.2 million hectares per year, down from 4.7 million hectares per year in the 1990s, but the figures exclude Canada, which doesn’t report any change in old growth forest cover despite being a major timber exporter.
UN-REDD blog, 6 October 2010 | On the second day of COFO delegates discussed in a parallel plenary session new developments on forest finance. Panelists from the UN-REDD Programme, Global Environment Facility, World Bank, Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, UNFF and Canada made presentations on current work programs and financing targeted for forestry, and in particular on REDD+, forestry management and conservation, capacity development and reforms, investments, and forest landscape restoration. Panelists highlighted, among other things, the need to collaborate and closely coordinate these efforts to maximize the potential for financing forest activities to mitigate climate change.
By Elise Hugus, capenews.net, 6 October 2010 | The Woods Hole Research Center was like a miniature United Nations last month, as scholars from Africa, South America, and Asia took part in a two-week workshop at the Woods Hole Road campus… The WHRC is leading an effort to create the first pan-tropical biomass map that will demonstrate the future effects of deforestation and land use change across the globe. This information is key in developing the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) policy initiative being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Under the REDD system, countries like the United States that emit a large amount of greenhouse gas could purchase carbon credits from countries like Gabon that have a lot of forest, but need cash to continue to protect it.
UN-REDD blog, 6 October 2010 | In the afternoon on day 2 of COFO over 60 delegates gathered in the German Room to discuss the national and international developments on REDD+, from current arrangements on REDD+ to financing for REDD+ activities and beyond. Tiina Vahanen, Senior Global Programme Officer, UN-REDD Programme, highlighted some of the current bilateral, regional and national REDD+ arrangements and financing potential for REDD+ activities. Estimated financing for REDD+ activities in the current bilateral arrangements (UN-REDD, FCPF and FIP) is approximately US$ 900 million. In addition, the REDD+ Partnership, established in Oslo in May 2010 has taken immediate action to significantly scale up funding for REDD+, with the support of its 68 country membership. Some of the take home messages are that the scale of funding is significantly larger than conventional international forest financing, and that REDD+ is an opportunity not to be missed.
EUbusiness.com, 6 October 2010 | Deforestation and forest degradation account for close to 20% of global emissions, more than the entire global transport sector. Rapid and significant emissions reductions from reduced deforestation and degradation (REDD) are essential to avoid global warming above 2°C. The 2008 EC Communication on deforestation underscored the importance of positive incentives to encourage developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation by encouraging them to maintain forest carbon and to invest in low-carbon sustainable development strategies. The EC is supporting the development of REDD strategies through country specific development assistance as well as supporting international efforts such as the Forest Carbon Partnership steered by the World Bank.
ELAW, 6 October 2010 | This booklet is designed to help landowners and forest communities in the Pacific region that are thinking about participating in projects for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation’ (‘REDD’). This is a new and complex type of forest project.
By Mary Louise Kelly, NPR, 6 October 2010 | After Copenhagen, there was Bonn. Now there’s Tianjin, China. Next month, there will be Cancun, Mexico. It seems the United Nations is continually holding climate change meetings that require thousands of delegates to fly all over the world in an effort to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s a big question whether any of these talks will produce a concrete result. If not, there’s always next year’s big meeting in South Africa. NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks with Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, about the carbon footprint of this rolling series of international meetings, proposals to reduce it, and what is actually supposed to be taking place.
By Jonathan Watts, Guardian, 6 October 2010 | The world’s two biggest carbon emitters clashed at UN climate talks in China today as the United States’ top climate envoy accused his counterparts of trying to renegotiate last year’s global climate agreement, and threatened to pursue alternatives to the United Nations negotiation track. China retaliated by calling the US’s overall negotiating stance “totally unacceptable.” Jonathan Pershing, the US deputy special envoy for climate change, said the first three days of talks in Tianjin had yielded disappointing results because participants were revisiting old arguments over procedure rather than building on the Copenhagen accord. “What is frustrating in these negotiations is to see countries not using that as the basis, but relitigating things that we more resolved over the course of the Copenhagen negations,” he said.
7 October 2010
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 October 2010 | REDD+ Partnership talks officially launched on Monday after a weekend workshop. Since then, the Partners haven’t completed a single agenda item, and a large number of donors, recipients, and stakeholders lay the blame on co-chairs Papua New Guinea and Japan. A spokesperson for the Rainforest Coalition, however, says donors are stalling to avoid paying their share… The first item on the agenda when talks opened on Monday was, in fact, the agenda itself – and that item remained unfulfilled when the meeting broke up four hours later. It stayed unfulfilled through talks on Tuesday, and led to the cancellation of talks on Wednesday and Thursday… Bietta, however, was adamant about starting with the work program in an effort to explicitly lay out donor nation obligations. That led to the current stalemate, and the first agenda item – namely, the routine task of agreeing on the agenda – was never completed.
By Ilya Gridneff, AAP, 7 October 2010 | Greenpeace has criticised Papua New Guinea for stalling crucial global climate change talks in China… The global bickering centres on the details of the complex UN plan to reduce climate change through its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) agenda. PNG, as co-chair of the REDD negotiations, is arguing for less scrutiny on donor funding as a way to fast-track the process. But Greenpeace forests campaigner in PNG, Sam Moko, said this was a worry showing PNG appeared more interested in donor money than seriously tackling climate change. “With a reputation of corruption, complete disregard for land owner rights, free and prior informed consent and accurate estimations of likely benefits accruing from REDD, PNG is in no fit state to be receiving REDD funding without strict conditions in place,” he said.
Ben Vickers, RECOFTC blog, 7 October 2010 | The REDD+ partnership descended into a public farce on Tuesday evening. I’m not letting any cats out of the bag by noting that the Papua New Guinea delegation is being pointedly blamed for derailing these important discussions, by the whole spectrum of participants here in Tianjin… On Tuesday evening, the co-chair of the partnership, representing PNG, infuriated a roomful of delegates and civil society observers by single-handedly blocking – again – any discussions on stakeholder participation. Against the express wishes of the vast majority of delegations, stakeholder participation was at the bottom of the agenda… Eventually, visibly distressed by the experience, she requested a five minute recess to confer with her Japanese co-chair, but instead made a half-hour phone call to a mysterious contact… However, PNG must not be blamed for this. The co-chair herself is not from the country – apparently she has never set foot there.
By Meena Raman, Climate Justice Now!, 7 October 2010 | At the UNFCCC climate talks in Tianjin, a “stock-taking” meeting was held on October 6 which revealed divergent views among several Parties on what the outcome of the forthcoming Cancun conference should be and how the process should move forward from Tianjin to Cancun… Australia said that for the Umbrella Group, mitigation, MRV, ICA, REDD-plus, finance and technology are all part of a carefully designed package. It said that there has not been progress in relation to mitigation, MRV and ICA and asked for focus on these issues. There was need for affirmation of the mitigation pledges of developed and developing countries and for update of the pledges in the AWG-LCA and also the Kyoto Protocol. It stressed the need for an operational framework for MRV and ICA.
By Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 7 October 2010 | China is this week playing host to the last stage of preparatory climate talks before delegates gather at the annual United Nations climate change summit, in Cancún, Mexico, in December. They will attempt once again to reach a deal on limiting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. But any deal may fail because those emissions cannot yet be measured with sufficient accuracy. This has been a significant sticking point in talks. The world badly needs an independent carbon police to check the figures and catch the carbon frauds. Can science deliver? … REDD would offer cash to countries that conserve their forests so they can soak up atmospheric CO2. This means knowing how much carbon is actually being absorbed by the forests. In August, a study of Peruvian forests by Greg Asner of Stanford University, California, found existing estimates of carbon stored and released could be out by as much as 50 per cent.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 7 October 2010 | Indonesia has asked Norway to postpone the disbursement of millions of dollars under a climate partnership deal because Jakarta has not completed necessary preparatory steps stipulated in the deal, a minister said. It is not clear when the decision was made but the first disbursement of US$30 million of Norway’s pledged $1 billion was expected to take place this year. “President [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] suggests that we not take the money now, and wait for preparations to be improved,” Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta told reporters at a meeting on biodiversity on Wednesday. The statement comes as Indonesian officials, led by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, arrived home after a study tour to Brazil to learn about implementation procedures there to pave the way for the implementation of a REDD plus agreement signed by Brazil and Norway that covers areas in the Amazon rainforest.
By D. James Baker (Clinton Foundation), Letter to the editor, The Economist, 7 October 2010 | Your special report on forests (“Seeing the wood”, September 25th) succinctly captured the fact that monetary flow through the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism to forest communities is slowed by the problems of unclear land ownership. A key factor in the success of REDD is the application of geospatial technology in the form of geographical information systems (GIS) to collate, map and report forest carbon emission information to investors and international regulatory agencies. GIS is the same technology that under-pins the determination of property lines and land tenure, as well as the mapping of land-use patterns in general. Thus investments in REDD, by providing support for implementing GIS for forestry, have a dual benefit.
By Jake Davis and Bryce Oates (Dogwood Carbon), stltoday.com, 7 October 2010 | Making matters worse, a large group of politicians, policy wonks and pollute-and-run corporations have done serious damage to this effort by scaring the public about the pending “Cap-and-Tax” legislation. To hear these guys tell it, putting a limit on greenhouse gas emissions and a price on pollution will destroy the economy and lead to the decline of our American way of life. Quite often during the question-and-answer sessions in our meetings, we get references to a great conspiracy involving Al Gore, California liberals and Wall Street shenanigans. But after some good spirited jabs, we feel it’s important to set the record straight about what a carbon market can do for forest landowners throughout the Ozarks. They can earn annual income, gain access to forest management assistance, retain their property rights and build a more valuable forest asset over time by growing bigger trees.
JBIC, 7 October 2010 | The REDD+ Seminar was held on July 27, 2010, jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of the Environment (MOE), JBIC, and Japan Institute for Overseas Investment (JOI). The Seminar comprised presentations and a panel discussion on such themes as the trend of carbon market and REDD+ credit, the current state of progress and the prospect of international negotiations about REDD+, how Japan is addressing REDD+, and the methodology to measure emissions reductions. Over 170 participants attended the Seminar, including representatives of industries and other stakeholders.
isria.com, 7 October 2010 | As a developing country we see technology transfer and financing as the core to enabling developing countries to realize their goals, while preserving the environment for future generations. This is a reality that the world must recognize. Sri Lanka would support REDD-Plus activities, which are country driven and voluntary. These activities must be subject to adequate, predictable and sustainable financing and technological support. Indigenous people and local communities should be involved in the implementation of REDD-Plus activities.
By Pat Mooney, allfafrica.com, 7 October 2010 | Mapping technologies make it easier to collect data on biodiversity, making biopiracy easier and taking intellectual property out of the hands of indigenous communities. ‘New forms of biopiracy and new strategies for biomass control may mean that the realisation of rights, benefits and justice for indigenous peoples are receding,’ Pat Mooney writes.
8 October 2010
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 October 2010 | After two days of cancelled meetings and frantic bilateral discussions, the REDD+ Partnership on Friday convened an open meeting to discuss the fractious issue of stakeholder participation, which had been pushed to the top of the agenda after a draft stakeholder participation agreement was pieced together during the week. Instead of opening with the customary review of the draft agreement, however, Friday’s meeting opened with confirmation of news we reported this morning that a much-anticipated workshop slated to take place on October 25 alongside the tenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10) in Nagoya, Japan, had been cancelled, along with a technical meeting slated for the same day.
AFP, 8 October 2010 | An ambitious plan to fight climate change by paying states to preserve their forests could be a rare bright spot at next month’s UN climate talks — but many questions remain unresolved. The REDD+ mechanism – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – offers financial compensation to countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and Congo River basin states if they protect vital tropical forests… “Corruption is a big threat because there is really going to be a lot of money,” said Victoria Tauli-Carpuz, a member of the delegation from the Philippines in Tianjin. The number of outstanding issues will require years of negotiation, Greenpeace’s Winn said. In the meantime, some 13 million hectares (32.1 million acres) of forest – a space equal to the size of Greece – vanishes each year.
By Daniel Nelson, oneworld.net, 8 October 2010 | The fate of the first global agreement to curb climate change by protecting forests is in the balance. Unless crucial holes are plugged, it could subsidise their destruction, warned forest and climate experts from the Ecosystems Climate Alliance (ECA) at UN climate change talks here today… “We need a REDD decision that will change business as usual, but what we see right now is a failure to focus on protecting intact natural forests and securing the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities,” said Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway… ECA’s “REDD Alert” identifies four areas crucial to the success of REDD – none of which are resolved in the draft agreement under consideration.
OneWorldTV, 8 October 2010 | Kate Dooley talks to OneClimate about some of the challenges associated with REDD – the set of policies being negotiated at the UN Climate talks which are aiming to deal with emissions from deforestation in the developing world. [R-M: video interview on youtube.]
Guyana Chronicle, 8 October 2010 | Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Mr. Geoffrey Da Silva said, yesterday, that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) will not impact the furniture sector adversely. Responding to concerns raised by some manufacturers who participated in the just concluded GuyExpo 2010, he said the problem is sourcing material when needed not its unavailability. According to him, that is a challenge the Private Sector and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) are working to address. Da Silva noted that the LCDS, in seeking to protect Guyana’s forests, will not affect the availability of raw materials for manufacturing, especially furniture. He said, to move forward, manufacturers should place increasing emphasis on high end products and access more lucrative markets where buyers who will pay good prices.
ELAW Spotlight, 8 October 2010 | I’ve followed the UN climate negotiations for four years with particular attention to an emissions mitigation policy framework called “REDD” (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). Below are my thoughts on one of the most controversial aspects of REDD — transparency of bilateral financial arrangements to reduce deforestation in developing countries such as Indonesia… What happens with REDD in Indonesia will have enormous repercussions in many less-developed countries with ambitions to implement REDD policies and projects. Like it or not, we need to understand REDD. For much of the developed world, REDD is being viewed as a cheap and quick mechanism to reduce global GHG emissions. At present, developed nations and regions (e.g. U.S., Canada, Australia and EU) are facing severe economic and political roadblocks to implementing concrete emissions reduction targets through domestic legislation.
By Adele Ramos, Amandala, 8 October 2010 | We’ve heard recently of the use of satellite imagery in petroleum exploration work in Belize. Local and global observation systems are now being advanced that would allow people around the globe to collect and share data, as easily as one browses the Internet… A September 2010 report, Forest Cover and Deforestation in Belize: 1980-2010, was produced by a team of scientists led by Emil A. Cherrington, Senior Scientist, Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America & the Caribbean (CATHALAC — Centro del Agua del Trópico Húmedo para América Latina y El Caribe); along with Dan Irwin of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the US); Edgar Ek; Percival Cho and others. They say that Belize has the highest relative forest cover in the region. While Belize comprises 5% of Central America’s land mass, it accounts for 10% of the region’s forest carbon stock.
By Philip Hii, The Star, 8 October 2010 | A major environmental disaster is unfolding in the state, as kilometre after kilometre of logs and wood debris flow down the Rajang. It was believed that heavy rain in the upper reaches of Balleh River – a tributary of the Rajang – had caused landslides at log ponds of a major timber camp and brought down the logs and wood debris… River transport was cut off when logs and debris started filling the entire width of the river by 4pm. At 7.30pm, the debris was reported to have reached Song and was expected to hit Sibu early in the morning. Sibu residents are worried by the extent of damage the logs and wood debris would cause to their properties such as jetties and boats. “We are also worried whether the foundation of the Durin and Lanang bridges are strong enough to withstand the pressure,” said Sibu resident Simon Ting.
By Shiona Tregaskis, Guardian, 8 October 2010 | Are there any reasons to feel optimistic? A few. Negotiators may well benefit from a subdued tone at Cancún. As leaders have been working to temper expectations, envoys will be under less pressure to deliver dramatic outcomes. Negotiators from the developing world look poised to make the most of the talks. For example, “Redd” forestry talks have been progressing well, says Brazil’s ambassador for climate change, Sergio Serra, who hopes it will help fund safeguards to prevent further deforestation in the Amazon.
carbonpositive.net, 8 October 2010 | Global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions are at risk of a 30-percent overshoot above the limit deemed to trigger dangerous climate change, according to new figures from WWF. Released to coincide with the a session of UN climate talks in Tianjin, China this week, the environmental group says to keep global warming to safe and manageable levels, annual world-wide emissions need to peak at no greater than 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year by 2020. This future emissions profile is believed necessary to contain future temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Yet the current trajectory of emissions puts the world on track to reach at least 48 and up to 53 billion tonnes, it says, if the major emitting nations do no better than the emissions reductions they have pledged so far.
9 October 2010
EDF press release, 9 October 2010 | Countries at the UN climate negotiations this week made only limited progress narrowing their differences in preparation for next month’s Conference of Parties (COP-16) in Cancún, Mexico… Setting a troubling precedent, the parties appear poised to finalize in Cancún accounting rules for emissions from forest management that would allow developed countries to claim carbon credits or avoid debits without changing their activities on the ground. “Although negotiators spent the week crafting a mechanism to make this accounting method more transparent, the review process would do little more than make a bad approach transparently bad,” said [Environmental Defense Fund’s Jennifer] Haverkamp. Similarly disappointing was the lack of progress in the REDD+ Partnership, which 50 countries launched in May 2010 to provide billions of dollars to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
10 October 2010
By Ben Vickers, RECOFTC blog, 10 October 2010 | So we move on again. For the REDD+ partnership, the next stop was to be Nagoya, where the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will meet for its 10th COP later this month. A ministerial meeting at this event, which would have made REDD+ a bridge between the CBD and UNFCCC processes, is off. After several wasted meetings, on Friday the Japanese co-chair announced the cancellation of the Nagoya summit. There is nothing of practical significance for ministers to endorse. As the delegate from the Dominican Republic put it; ‘I cannot ask my minister to fly 24 hours to announce the launch of a website’… Bolivia would like the backing of global indigenous peoples’ groups for their strident anti-market position on REDD+. But, despite the sympathy of many IPs with this position, formal support is unlikely. These groups value their independence above all, and will probably not formally tie themselves to any government body.
The Hindu, 10 October 2010 | The Tianjin talks also featured a public dispute between the United States and China on the question of steep emission cuts necessary to meet the goal of the Copenhagen Accord, which is to keep the increase in global temperature below 2° Celsius… The good thing is that there is convergence on a major issue such as deforestation, which is estimated to produce more emissions than the transport sector. It is essential, therefore, that a comprehensive REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation+) is formalised at Cancun for implementation post-2012.
By Emily Kirkland and Guy Edwards, Latino Cambio, 10 October 2010 | In the jungle of acronyms and arguments that characterize efforts to confront climate change, it is hard to beat the complexities of REDD+. However, in the Brazilian Amazon a number of pioneering schemes are offering a way out of the melee… There are dozens of different anti-deforestation programmes underway in the Brazilian Amazon that could prove compatible with REDD+. Five programmes in particular merit special attention. All five work with individuals and families to reduce deforestation in return for cash payments, an approach known as payments for ecosystem services which overlaps closely with REDD+.
Guyana Chronicle, 10 October 2010 | The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) was established Friday, and the first payment from Norway to the Fund of approximately US$30 million is now being processed, the World Bank said in a release yesterday. GRIF is the financial mechanism for the ongoing cooperation on climate change between Guyana and Norway, and according to the financial institution, the latter will pay for Guyana’s performance on limiting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and for progress made against governance-related indicators. It added that Guyana will invest the payments it receives, and any income earned on them, in its Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The Governments of Guyana and Norway have asked the World Bank to act as the Trustee of the GRIF.
Stabroek News, 10 October 2010 | The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) was established yesterday with the signing of an administrative agreement between Norway and the World Bank at the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington DC… “Today represents a big step forward in our joint efforts to show that we can create a low deforestation, low carbon, climate resilient economy in Guyana,” said the release quoted Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh as saying. “Our two countries are forging new ground in trying to work out how REDD+ can help to reconcile the world’s need for urgent action to avert climate catastrophe with Guyana’s sustainable development.” “Today, Guyana, the World Bank and Norway have shown the world that developed and developing countries can solve complex problems together for the good of all,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development of Norway Erik Solheim was quoted as saying.
Kaieteur News, 10 October 2010 | The World Bank yesterday announced the establishment of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), saying that the first payment from Norway to the Fund of approximately US$30 million is now being processed… To develop a globally relevant model and therefore help give insights that may advance the negotiations, the Governments of Guyana and Norway will invite internationally reputable institutions to act as GRIF partner entities, starting with the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and specialised agencies of the UN that are members of the United Nations Development Group. The safeguards of any one of these organisations, which are internationally accepted, will be used in the implementation of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund. As on all other aspects of the agreement, adjustments will, if necessary, be made whenever agreement on a REDD+ mechanism is reached under the UNFCCC, to ensure conformity with that agreement.
Guyana Chronicle, 10 October 2010 | President Bharrat Jagdeo plugged this country’s climate change programme before a university audience in Washington, D.C. Friday, explaining the rationale of avoided deforestation and the economics of the Guyana-Norway agreement. He also called on students to play an active role in promoting ‘green thinking’, noting that college students in the United States and elsewhere have a long history of advocating for change… In his speech, Mr. Jagdeo noted that combating the worst effects of climate change is too important to be left to philanthropy. He said the international community must urgently find ways to make progress on scaling back the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, which if left uncontained, would produce cataclysmic effects the world over.
By Jagdish Poudel, The Himalayan Times, 10 October 2010 | Community-based forest management in Nepal has been the mainstream forest policy for almost two decades and is the key strategy to involve local communities in forest protection, management, resource utilization and one of the least cost options for offsetting carbon and cheap way to mitigate climate change. If the new United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) policy entitle’ Reduced emission from deforestation in developing countries (REDD)’ is adopted, carbon abated by REDD and by forest enhancement(REDD+) may be eligible for carbon crediting. This opens the possibilities for communities that are engaged in forest management to earn revenue for carbon sequestration and to participate in the global carbon market.