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 Rainforest Movement, no date | The time has come to put aside discussion of false solutions that have been so eagerly espoused (“carbon sinks”, “avoided deforestation-REDD”, the “Clean Development Mechanism”, “carbon offsets”, etc.) to focus on the real problem: how to move beyond the fossil fuel era as quickly as possible. As a first step towards restoring their lost credibility, your governments should begin by committing themselves in Cancún to an immediate and permanent halt on the search for new fossil fuel reserves in their territories. At the same time, they should channel their efforts towards finding mechanisms of compensation to ensure that reserves already identified but not yet exploited remain untouched. Finally, they should set concrete deadlines for the total eradication of fossil fuels. We realize that this is an enormous challenge, but is it really too much to ask, when what is at stake is nothing less than the survival of life on earth?
[R-M: What it says on the tin: a list of registered side events at Cancun.]
USAID, no date | The U.S. Government is proud to announce the release of the United States’ strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increase carbon sequestration by forests in developing countries. This is commonly referred to as REDD+. This U.S. government-wide strategy outlines how the United States will allocate and invest the $1 billion dedicated for REDD+ announced by the Obama Administration in Copenhagen in December 2009 at the meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference, Bangkok, 10-13 November 2010 | A substantial amount of financial resources are likely to be invested for mitigating Climate Change through REDD+. The workshop will facilitate mutual learning between experts and practitioners from the forest & climate and anti-corruption communities to strengthen corruption prevention mechanisms in this area. The objective is to harness the potential of integrating preventive anti-corruption measures in designing a successful implementation of REDD+. The workshop should enhance a substantive anti-corruption perspective to the debate around REDD+ at an early stage.
UN Office on Drugs and Crime, no date | The new REDD+ programme, the hope of the world to save forests in critical regions is fraught with several risks, challenges and uncertainties that could undermine REDD+ national response in Indonesia. There are risks that can undermine REDD+ response owing to poor governance, like corruption, weak law enforcement, compromised judiciary, crime and fraud. In this context there are several questions that need consideration. Can REDD related funds strengthen governance mechanisms and institutions? In the alternative, should REDD funding be linked to governance performance for instance better law reform and enforcement? Is this an opportunity to incentivise good governance? How will incentivised law enforcement work? How compensation to communities and authorities can be legally worked out.
Climate Investment Funds, no date | A joint meeting of the governing bodies of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the Forest Investment Program (FIP) and the UN-REDD Programme, will be held in Washington, D.C., USA, on November 6, 2010, at the World Bank. The Secretariats of the three initiatives were requested to organize this meeting to foster closer integration of the initiatives, including the establishment of a joint platform to share country experiences, disseminate lessons learned, and facilitate strategic discussions. [R-M: presentations from the meeting available on the website.]
8 November 2010
UN-REDD blog, 8 November 2010 | In recognition of the urgent need to accelerate and improve international support for the world’s tropical forests, the governing bodies of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), Forest Investment Program (FIP) and UN-REDD Programme – the three largest global initiatives helping developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) – met in Washington, D.C. on 6 November. The gathering of representatives from 31 countries (both developing and industrialized) and a wide range of forest stakeholders, emphasized the continued work required to support forested developing countries in their efforts toward climate-smart and sustainable management of forests and low-carbon emissions development.
By Laura Carlsen, Huffington Post, 8 November 2010 | Following the failure of world leaders to arrive at any binding agreements during the last climate talks at Copenhagen, there appears to be little hope for meaningful action at the November/December climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico. In place of climate change skepticism, debunked by overwhelming scientific evidence, leaders are now relying on market-based mechanisms and technological fixes to further drag their feet and avoid confronting the economic model responsible for the crisis. The upcoming meetings in Cancun are expected to promote a number of deeply flawed market-based proposals. The Clean Development Mechanisms and the UN REDD program, for example, allow polluters to “offset” their emissions by pulling sustainable local communities into corporate management systems, jeopardizing the autonomy, rights, and control of indigenous communities. [R-M: N.B. also read the comment from “unredd” to this post.]
citola.com, 8 November 2010 | As was stated in a previous post, progress on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) is one reason to feel optimistic about COP16. The US government has recently laid out plans for investing US $1B in REDD+ from 2010-2012 and the “REDD+ Partnership” has pledged ~ USD $4 billion for measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Sir Nicholas Stern has stated in recent media that progress on climate finance can increase global progress and break the policy inertia. With the recent announcements of sovereign REDD funding, we will have to wait and see how this influences and progresses talks in Mexico.
European Parliament, 8 November 2010 | The carbon stored in the forest should be estimated and “measured”. For the respective quantity of avoided deforestation the countries should get “credits”. These credits could be sold in an international carbon market, or there could be financial compensations. The updated “REDD+” goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. MEPs from the Environment Committee in their motion for a resolution adopted in October called on the EU to support REDD+. The motion for resolution (which is on many climate issues) sets out the Committee’s position ahead of UN climate talks in Cancún, Mexico (29 November – 10 December). The plenary will debate preparations for Cancún during the November session in Strasbourg (24 November).
By Abdul Khalik, Jakarta Post, 8 November 2010 | The example set by Norway and Indonesia in tackling climate change through REDD+ could help encourage significant progress at the Cancun in Mexico, climate talks this year, the visiting Norwegian foreign minister says. Jonas Gahr Stoere said here Sunday that while global climate meetings, such as the Copenhagen conference, had failed to produce legally binding agreements to stop global warming, reducing emissions from deforestaion and forest degredation (REDD+) was among the very few examples of tangible progress. He said what Norway and Indonesia could do while waiting for the climate conference in Cancun and South Africa was to demonstrate that they had made tangible progress in their REDD+ deal. “When we come to Cancun, we will explain what we have done to preserve forests. And that will be the REDD+ stories of Indonesia, Norway and Brazil,” he told The Jakarta Post in an interview.
By Tilde Herrera, GreenBiz.com, 8 November 2010 | A tough political atmosphere in which Congress backed away from comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation may have been the nail in the coffin for one of the voluntary carbon market’s early pioneers. The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) will discontinue its voluntary greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program next month, according to Intercontinental Exchange Inc., its parent company. In its place, CCX will launch a new registry program for 2011 and 2012 carbon offsets.
By Nikhil Kumar, Independent, 8 November 2010 | Most British businesses fail to comply with government guidance on reporting their carbon footprints, a Deloitte survey of 100 listed firms reveals. Of the companies polled, only a handful came “within striking distance” of complying with the guidance, suggesting that reporting practices would need to undergo a significant overhaul if the rules become mandatory. “Many companies, particularly those outside the top tier of FTSE companies, could do better,” said Jenny Harrison, a director of Deloitte’s energy practice and carbon reporting and assurance team.
Speech By: The Right Honorable Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman’s at the launching of the International Conference on Forests and Climate change – Decoding and Realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (Sabah)
sabah.gov.my, 8 November 2010 | The development of REDD and now REDD-plus is timely in enhancing forest carbon stocks. There are opportunities in Sabah for carbon enhancement through forest management, regeneration or rehabilitation. Through Sabah Foundation, we have pioneered the INFAPRO Carbon Sequestration Project with FACE The-Future, and Carbon RIL (Reduced Impact Logging) with New England Power. The two projects have respectively demonstrated the potential of sequestering 35 tonnes of carbon for every hectare through enrichment planting, and halving potential carbon emissions due to improved logging techniques. n addition, several studies have also suggested that Sustainable Forest Management increases carbon storage in tropical forests with a net effect of 54 tonnes of carbon per hectare. This translates to about 140 million tonnes of enhanced carbon due to the practice of Sustainable Forest Management at Sabah’s 2.6 million hectares of commercial forest reserves.
By Vincent Piket, EU delegation to Malaysia, 8 November 2010 | Why both FLEGT and REDD, you might ask. Because, Ladies and Gentlemen, FLEGT and REDD processes are mutually reinforcing… We have to keep in mind that REDD is not a technical exercise divorced from forest governance, rights and accountability to the civil society and forest dependant communities. REDD can only work if it improves governance. This is where FLEGT can help form the backbone of governance that REDD needs. More so, FLEGT addresses some of the drivers of forest degradation. It creates enabling conditions for scaled-up investments. It provides a transparent and inclusive national process for policy-making in the land use sector. All of which is needed for REDD. Where REDD builds on the process of a VPA, there is guarantee for success.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 8 November 2010 | The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciai (INPE), the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, have concluded a Letter of Intention (LOI) to cooperate in the program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+)*1 using JAXA’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite “DAICHI” (ALOS). The LOI was signed on November 8, 2010, at the JAXA Tokyo Office by JAXA President Keiji Tachikawa, and INPE Director Gilberto Camara. Following the REDD+ Partnership Ministerial Meeting that was held, in Nagoya, Japan on October 26, 2010, it wasagreed to develop a comprehensive REDD+ Partnership Work Program up to 2012. In contribution to this agreement, JAXA and INPE will verify the utilisation of the Synthetic Aperture Radar onboard DAICHI to monitor tropical deforestation.
9 November 2010
By Shawn McCarthy, Globe and Mail, 9 November 2010 | The International Energy Agency wants to wean the world off fossil-fuel subsidies that it says artificially inflate global energy demand. The agency is urging Group of 20 nations to slash their estimated $312-billion (U.S.) in annual support.
Biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean, 9 November 2010 | The first week of November is celebrated worldwide Forest Week and despite the importance of forests for the survival of planet Earth in Peru lost an average of 150 thousand hectares. This was revealed by a report of the Ombudsman’s Office submitted some months ago and it should be recalled at a time when we reflect on the importance of forest conservation for the survival of humanity.
By Priestley Habru, The Guardian, 9 November 2010 | The smaller outer islands in the Solomon Islands are already seeing devastating impacts of the rising sea level… On the larger islands, the unsustainable rate of logging leads to more carbon emitted into the atmosphere. To reverse the 60% of government revenue from logging, I think the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiative should be explored. At the moment, logging as the main income stream for Solomon Islands is causing division among landowners, and cultivating corrupt leaders who act without a thought for future generations… The REDD Plus initiative, if negotiated in Canún, should be embraced by the Solomon Islands as an alternative to its unsustainable logging industry.
Kaieteur News, 9 November 2010 | The Auditor General’s (AG) Report of 2008 highlighted the inability of the Ministry of Finance to handle its own finances. The 2009 report is no different. It points out that for yet another year the Ministry of Finance continues to flout sound operational procedures for accounting agencies. By way of explanation the Ministry says, “… This matter continues to engage the attention of the Ministry as a matter of policy.” The 2009 report highlights several issues that have appeared in the AG’s reports for a number of years and have been receiving the same answer from the Ministry.
People’s Network, 9 November 2010 | People’s Daily Xinhua Beijing November 8, Bank of America Charitable Foundation and The Nature Conservancy and local Chinese government agencies have been working together to promote a new pilot project of “social public welfare nature conservation projects. Bank of America will provide 100 million dollars in seed money to support the development of the project. In addition, U.S. Bank will also invest $ 1,000,000 to support The Nature Conservancy in Brazil and Indonesia, the innovative model of forest protection and forest carbon sequestration demonstration projects.
By Omer Redi, IPS, 9 November 2010 | It has been decades since the people of the Humbo Woreda have been self-sufficient in food. A CDM project … centred on the reforestation of the plateau at the heart of the district, is restoring the local environment – and sustainable livelihoods along with it. The Humbo plateau, some 400 kilometres south of Ethiopia’s capital, is in the most densely populated part of Ethiopia. It’s a dry and dusty district that has experienced frequent drought; average rainfall is 800-900 mm and temperatures routinely rise to 40 degrees. The stripping of trees has made the low-lying areas susceptible to flooding. But a CDM project initiated by international development organisation World Vision has organised 40,000 people in the worst-affected areas to regenerate and protect 2,700 hectares of forest land. The CDM project will bring in at least $726,000 over the next ten years, in addition to permitting the sustainable harvesting of trees from 2020.
David Diaz, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 November 2010 | As billions of dollars continue to be put on the table for REDD, donors, forested nations, and observers all want to make sure the money for curbing forest loss gets deployed smoothly and effectively. But transforming a handful of nascent funds designed to pass along millions of dollars in capacity-building activities into longer-term financial vehicles for funneling billions of dollars into developing nations each year is a tall order, as Francesco Martone of the Forest Peoples Programme made all too clear in his July paper, The Emergence of the REDD Hydra… “We know REDD will not save the world. We still do think it will be necessary to solve certain legal issues in countries, and we cannot solve those with overarching principles or standards,” [Susanne Breitkopf of Greenpeace International] said. “If we do not solve these as a part of the readiness process, it will lead to conflicts in the future.”
By Neil Bentley (CBI), Guardian, 9 November 2010 | No one is holding their breath for Cancún. The politicians attending are unambigious that we should not get our hopes up, and as Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, has explicitly said: “No one expects a binding deal to come this December”. The most optimistic assessment for 2010’s UN climate change conference in Mexico, is that it might create the right atmosphere for something to happen the following year in Cape Town. The pity is how needlessly slow this pace is. We need agreement and we need action that keeps pace with what is happening in business.
Borneo Post, 9 November 2010 | Studies have suggested that Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) increase carbon storage in tropical forests with a net effect of 54 tonnes of carbon per hectare. With Sabah’s 2.6 million hectares of commercial forest reserves on which Sustainable Forest Management is practised, it translates to about 140 million tonnes of enhanced carbon, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. “So with a conservative price of USD5 to USD8 per tonne of carbon, the potential value of carbon in Sabah may range from USD680 million to USD1.2 billion,” he said when officiating at the international conference on “Forest and Climate Change – Decoding and Realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) with specific focus on Sabah” here yesterday.
Borneo Post, 9 November 2010 | Climate initiatives based on tropical forest management was initiated in Sabah in 1992 covering 25,000 hectares in Ulu Segama under the Sabah Foundation. The initiatives are still ongoing, said Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Manan at the opening of the international conference on “Forest and Climate Change – Decoding and Realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) with specific focus on Sabah” here yesterday. However, after 20 years hardly any substantial money has come in and this is still an experiment, he said adding that the baseline surveys, analysis and more analysis and paralysis had caused some Sabah scientists the best part of their lives and youth to be lost to 20 years of carbon measuring. “We heard from prominent world leaders at the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCC) Conference in Copenhagen in December last year on how important tropical rainforests are.
Daily Express, 9 November 2010 | Sabah needs to invest about RM2 billion in the next 20 years to get its forests right again, according to Sabah Forestry Department Director, Datuk Sam Mannan. However, he said getting the billions pledged for tropical forests under the conservation and management of tropical rainforests such as the REDD scheme (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and now REDD-plus programme) is difficult. “(In fact) Malaysia will be lucky to get one cent,” he said, considering that under REDD-plus, Sabah “passed all the tests.” He said the Government could not live on love alone because good forest governance needs good money – lots of it. Mannan noted that Malaysia is slightly in a disadvantaged position because it is considered a fairly rich nation. Hence the reason for the UN-funded REDD-plus focusing their attention on other countries, he said.
Carbon Conservation job advert, 9 November 2010 | 2 Forest Carbon Specialists; 1 x Sr. Forest Carbon Specialist; 1 x Jr. Forest Carbon Specialist. Carbon Conservation, project developer of the CCBA registered Ulu Masen REDD project is seeking dynamic results-orientated individuals with experience in forest and carbon standards. The position is a senior position, however those with experience are encouraged to apply if they feel the can meet the job requirements.
By Federica Bietta, Climate-L.org, 9 November 2010 | The overarching objective of the REDD+ Partnership is monumental. As partners, we seek to slow, stop and reverse one of the most significant sources of carbon emissions and losses of biodiversity in the history of mankind! Thoughtfully designed, REDD+ can fulfill international objectives related to climate change, conservation, biodiversity preservation, sustainable livelihoods, and the REDD+ Partnership can be instrumental toward achieving these goals. To succeed, the Partnership must catalyze action on finance, mitigation, adaptation, technology and capacity. Leadership will be required of both developed and developing countries. In the short time since the REDD+ Partnership was established, Partners have accomplished a great deal. We have resolved some key process issues necessary for a new platform, such as the role of the co-chairs, modalities for stakeholder participation, and the provision of secretariat services.
New Sabah Times, 9 November 2010 | Sabah is interested to explore how implementing reduced emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD-Plus) can help realise its carbon potential and increase the value of the forests while addressing climate change. This is especially crucial to Sabah given the now evident impending decline of revenue from the timber sector, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman at the launch of the ‘International Conference on Forest & Climate Change-Decoding & Realising REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo (Sabah)’ at a resort here yesterday. In his speech read by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, he said the State is hard pressed to demonstrate and realise tangible benefits in maintaining its forest reserves and protected areas, failing which, their sustainability will come under threat.
Jakarta Post, 9 November 2010 | Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Stoere signed here Monday a declaration to boost bilateral cooperation and to join hand in hand in tackling global problems… In bilateral cooperation, Norway and Indonesia will focus among others on tackling climate change and energy security, and seeking the possibility of exploring marine resources. “We celebrate our 60th anniversary of relations this year. We will take it to the next level with this declaration,” Stoere told The Jakarta Post in a separate interview Sunday… Stoere said Indonesia was on the right track to meet the money disbursement requirements. “When there is progress on the Indonesian side, the resources will be unleashed. Once that happens in 2011 then we are ready to go,” he said.
CompromisoRSE, 9 November 2010 | Greenpeace reports that several Spanish companies provide multi-role of Asia Pulp and Paper Indonesia (implicated in China’s deforestation ) to the fields of packaging, printing and publishing, as well as various government and public universities. The report highlights cases like Argent Plot, printing that makes the cases of some brands of perfumes Puig managed by the company, among which Mr. Cotton, Victorio and Lucchino, Rosario Flores and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, who can see how His image is impaired by the Plot Argent relations with Asia Pulp and Paper Bin (APP). It also draws attention to the presence of APP in counseling role of the Government of the Region of Murcia and the Junta de Castilla y León, and in some faculties and schools of the universities of Alcalá de Henares and the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
10 November 2010
Carbon Finance, 10 November 2010 | The World Bank Group has been urged to curtail buying carbon credits from hydropower projects, shifting the emphasis of its carbon finance activities to areas where it can have more influence. A report by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) says: “Carbon finance needs to be redirected away from hydropower, where it has minimal impact on project bankability, to applications where it can have more leverage.” Post-2012 funds run by the bank, such as the Carbon Partnership Facility, should focus on demonstrating technical and financial approaches, the report says, and should have “clear exit strategies” once the private market matures.
By Iain Hollingshed, Telegraph, 10 November 2010 | In an inter-connected world of global travel, trade and communication, it seems almost impossible that there are still pockets of people who have absolutely no contact with the outside world. And yet yesterday an extraordinary storm erupted between the Natural History Museum, which is planning on sending a 60-strong expedition of scientists to Paraguay, and indigenous leaders who claim that contact with previously isolated tribes in the area will lead to “genocide”. There are thought to be around 150 Ayoreo Indians in Paraguay – the only place in South America outside the Amazon populated by “uncontacted” Indians – living in six or seven isolated groups in the vast forest known as the Gran Chaco. They live nomadically, hunting, gathering fruit and honey, and fishing during the wet season. Although no one has had any direct contact with them, they have occasionally been viewed from a distance.
Borneo Post, 10 November 2010 | The state government will ensure close cooperation among all relevant agencies in order to achieve a sustainable forest management in Sabah, said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun. He pointed out that the state has significantly contributed to tackling climate issues with activities which were in line with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD-plus), such as forest biodiversity conservation, protection, restoration and rehabilitation.
By Peter Persaud, Guyana Chronicle, 10 November 2010 | It is known that a Guyanese cabal opposed to Guyana’s LCDS is linked to an overseas-based ring providing misleading information about Guyana’s LCDS. This overseas based ring then writes what is told to them by the Guyanese cabal who are political power seekers masquerading as nature conservationist and concerned citizens. No doubt John Palmer feel prey to the Guyanese cabal and penned his notes on Guyana’s LCDS which are only good for the garbage bin.
Guyana Chronicle, 10 November 2010 | Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said yesterday that Guyana’s deforestation rate is still below 50 percent of the allowable level, in response to a recent article in another section of the media. In a statement, the Minister said that the first report on Deforestation Rates produced under Guyana’s MRVS presented the results of a series of assessments that concludes on a number of important areas. These, he said, included total forest cover within the agreed Marrakech Accord definition ranges, historical deforestation assessment across three time periods (1990-1999, 2000-2004, and 2005 to September 30, 2009), and deforestation assessment across various drivers of change, “that together derive a total deforestation rate which allows for reference to be made, to an agreed level, between Guyana and Norway under the current Agreement.”
By Robert M Persaud, letter to the editor Stabroek News, 10 November 2010 | The main finding emanating for the MRVS Year 1 (October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010), Report on Interim Measures, is that the gross deforestation rate was assessed at 0.06%. This is effectively more than 50% below the allowable level on which payment is set to be computed, a basis which is clearly outlined in the Joint Concept Note. This is the main finding and also one of the more all-encompassing measures for the annual interim report. However, this vital fact seems to have gotten obscured by the Stabroek News article and undermines that prominence and implication of this main finding of the report, which is that Guyana is fully compliant with set levels and has performed favourably in the assessment period. The importance of this rate of gross deforestation cannot be overemphasized since it allows for an important benchmark to be set…
Survival International, 10 November 2010 | Botswana’s minister of environment, wildlife and tourism is the most recent government official to make disparaging remarks about the Kalahari Bushmen. In an interview with the BBC, Kitso Mokaila said, ‘I don’t believe you would want to see your own kind living in the dark ages in the middle of nowhere as a choice, when you know that the world has moved forward and has become so technological’. Mokaila’s remarks are the latest in a long line of insults by government officials, and are an indication of the deep-rooted racism towards the Bushmen.
The Nation (Thailand), 10 November 2010 | The Cabinet yesterday agreed to remove tax from carbon credit-related income as well as increase income-tax deductions on money spent on reading materials to be donated. The Cabinet said the carbon-credit tax waiver would be effective for three years from the day that the projects win endorsement from the Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board or when the Greenhouse Gas Management issues a voluntary emission reductions certificate to project operators. Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said the waiver would promote clean energy and reduce greenhouse-gas emission, which will improve the Kingdom’s environment. Thailand is in the forefront of promoting clean energy, and several projects are looking to sell carbon credits to industrial operators from developed countries, as they make investments to offset greenhouse gases they emit in their home countries.
Bangkok Post, 10 November 2010 | Southern villagers facing fines for encroaching on forests and contributing to global warming are fighting back with administrative charges against the agencies that protect forests. Boon Saejung, a coordinator of Bantad Mountain community, said yesterday the Royal Forest and National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation departments had used forest-related laws to limit people’s right to make a living on their own land. “Our ancestors lived on and worked this land long before the forest laws were created,” Mr Boon said. “Even worse, we have been ordered to pay compensation for ecological damage to our own land.” Mr Boon and 30 other villagers were in Bangkok yesterday to testify before the National Human Rights Commission, which has been investigating the villagers’ complaints against forest authorities of unfair treatment.
By Rhett A. Butler, wildmadagascar.org, 10 November 2010 | Authorities in Madagascar successfully blocked an attempt to ship illegally logged rosewood from the port of Vohemar over the weekend, according to local reports. The incident – while isolated – suggests citizens, the Waters and Forests Administration, local media, and shipping companies are having an impact on slowing the rosewood trade that has devastated Madagascar’s rainforest parks, wildlife, ecotourism industry, and rural communities. News of the pending shipment broke on November 2 when a local newspaper, La Verité, reported that preparations were being made to ship up to 100 containers of rosewood – with a retail value of $20 million – despite a nation-wide ban on rosewood exports.
IUCN, 10 November 2010 | After the failure in Copenhagen by world leaders to commit to binding targets for reducing climate warming emissions, hopes for a breakthrough in climate negotiations starting at the end of November are not high. Key solutions such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, making sure new and additional money is avaiable for developing countries to fight the impact of a warmer planet, and Adaptation will help restore lost confidence, according to IUCN’s Ninni Ikkala.
Jakarta Post, 10 November 2010 | It would be misguided for Indonesian companies to boycott or quit the Kuala Lumpur-based Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), as demanded by several executives of the palm oil producers association (Gapkindo) and the government-sponsored Palm Oil Board. Such a move against RSPO, which opened its eighth annual conference and exhibition here Tuesday, would not resolve the international attacks on several major Indonesian palm oil companies for allegedly damaging natural forests through plantation expansion. The core issue is that big buyers in Europe such as Unilever and Nestle have been pressured by environmental campaigners such as Greenpeace and consumer organizations to stop buying palm oil from Indonesian producers that have not gained green certification under the RSPO principles and criteria.
By Ahmad Aris, Bisnis Indonesia, 10 November 2010 | The government stated policy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry sector through the activities of reducing emission from deforestation and forest plus Degradation (REDD plus) will not disturb the achievement of national economic growth targets. Deputy Minister of Planning / Deputy Head of Bappenas Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo say REDD implementation plus not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also supports economic development and welfare of the community. “There should be no great sacrifice to the community, which depends on the forest area,” he said in the event of the National Consultation of the National Strategy Formulation REDD plus in Jakarta today.
Jakarta Post, 10 November 2010 | The Indonesian government hit out at the Kuala Lumpur-based Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) on Tuesday, asserting that it was finalizing its own scheme for sustainable palm oil production. “The Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil [ISPO] scheme is designed to make palm oil production sustainable in compliance with Indonesian laws and regulations,” Agriculture Minister Suswono said in a written address at the opening of the eighth annual RSPO conference.
By Rangga D. Fadillah, Jakarta Post, 10 November 2010 | The two-year moratorium on forest and peatland conversions will not affect the development of new plantation areas because investors will still be permitted to open up new plantation areas, albeit in a special forest area, a forestry official said. The Forestry Ministry secretary-general, Hadi Daryanto, said Tuesday that the government had allocated up to 41 million hectares as so-called special forest areas. “Only 25 million hectares of forest areas have been used,” he told a discussion held by private television station Metro TV in Jakarta. He said that under the two-year moratorium, which would begin next year, the government would only halt conversions of primary forests and peatlands, not the productive forests allocated for businesses.
Jakarta Post, 10 November 2010 | Police have arrested 15 squatters in Mount Leuser National Park (TNGL) in Langkat regency, North Sumatra, while hundreds of refugees from conflict-torn Aceh, who are also believed to have cleared the forest, were allowed to remain. The squatters were caught destroying five hectares of protected forest in Tanjung Kusta and Sei Minyak in Langkat, TNGL head Harijoko said. There were still squatters roaming freely in the area, he added. “Most of them come from outside Langkat. They are well-organized and hard to detect,” he said Monday, adding that the 15 squatters arrested had been felling trees in protected areas for two years.
11 November 2010
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 11 November 2010 | The struggle against Brazil’s Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River continues as today indigenous groups sent a formal petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to suspend the dam’s construction, stating the dam violates human rights. The dam, which has been contentious in Brazil for decades, would flood 500 square miles of rainforest, lead to the removal of at least 12,000 people in the region, and upturn the lives of 45,000 indigenous people who depend on the Xingu River for survival. The petition, put forth by Xingu Alive Forever Movement, and signed by representatives of communities that would be impacted, contends that “despite the gravity and irreversibility of the impacts of the project to local communities, there were no appropriate measures taken to ensure the protection of human rights and the environment.”
Ecosystem Marketplace, 11 November 2010 | Last week US citizens lined up to vote for their Congressional representatives and, at least in California, key issues related to climate change. Across the nation, the outlook was dreary for carbon reductions. A wave of Republicans that overwhelmingly oppose carbon regulation are set to take over the US House of Representatives, and even market-driven climate policy is looking down and out. At the same time, President Obama commented last week that he would look to legislation other than cap-and-trade to achieve emission reduction targets. For voluntary carbon markets, the Chicago Climate Exchange’s announcement that it will be closing the doors of its cap-and-trade program after 8 years is also surely a game-changer. Citing a lack of policy movement and assurances at the federal level, the CCX is scaling back to solely function as a registry for 2011-2012 offset credits.
By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 11 November 2010 | The European Union may allow use of emission credits from forest protection to help fill any gap from a ban of some industrial-gas credits, a banker at BNP Paribas SA said. The EU carbon market may have room in its third phase, which runs from 2013 to 2020, for credits under a program known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD, should the bloc restrict industrial-gas credits and adopt a tighter emission-reduction target for 2020, said Christian Del Valle, director of environmental markets and forestry at the Paris-based bank. The region’s target is currently to cut emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels. “Policy makers might seek to offer another source of credits for cost control,” Del Valle said yesterday in an interview at the Climate Finance 2010 conference in London. “Some member states may be open to allowing REDD in certain circumstances.”
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR’s blog, 11 November 2010 | The issue of measurement, reporting and verification of carbon levels is set for the agenda at COP 16 in Cancun next month. Experts warn, however, that more attention must be given to the monitoring and reporting of REDD+ financial flows, which stand to be caught up in complex webs of corruption… “We need to focus on prevention, because once money is put into accounts abroad, they become very difficult to trace,” said Ajit Joy, Indonesian country manager of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime. Joy was speaking at the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok, joined by other experts in a session on forest crime, organised by CIFOR and Transparency International.
By April Reese, New York Times, 11 November 2010 | Forests in the Interior West could soon flip from carbon sink to carbon source, forest experts say. The region’s forests once absorbed and stored more carbon from the atmosphere than they released. But huge conflagrations — like the 138,000-acre Hayman Fire in Colorado in 2002 and the Yellowstone fires of 1988, which scorched 1.2 million acres — combined with a series of severe bark beetle infestations and disease outbreaks, have left large swaths of dead, decomposing trees in almost every major Western forest. Those dead trees are releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide, turning the region into a net emitter of carbon rather than a CO2 sponge.
By Rebecca Leaver, Pacific.Scoop, 11 November 2010 | The naked body of reporter Ardiansyah Matra’is was found, his arm tethered to a tree, in the Gudang Arang River in West Papua. He braved months of harassment for his reports on illegal logging. News reports said he had been tortured but police deny this and claim his death to be suicide. His death joins a growing list of violent acts against journalists in the Indonesian province once known as Irian Jaya. “Ardiansyah Matra’is was my friend and we worked together,” said Wensislaus Fatubun, who worked as Matra’is’ cameraman before his death. Fatubun said: “We were approached by a member of Kopassus (the Special Forces Command of the Indonesian government). Ardiansyah got very paranoid after Kopassus kept contacting him.” Weeks before his death he reportedly accepted an invitation by a group of people claiming to be journalists to help them investigate illegal logging.
Jakarta Post, 11 November 2010 | The ongoing emissions cuts under REDD are unlikely to disrupt Indonesia’s efforts to reach its economic growth target of between 7 and 7.7 percent by 2014, a senior official says… Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto said Wednesday that the government was reducing emissions by using proper principles of sustainable forest management. He said such management would provide not only wider employment opportunities but also higher emissions reductions. “We have arranged many strategies to implement the REDD which will not affect our economic growth negatively,” he said on the sidelines of a discussion on REDD implementation. The ministry, he said, was carrying out several conservation programs, including zero burning of peatland from land clearing, the development of new oil-palm plantations on degraded lands only and the implementation of a reduced-impact logging program for companies with forest concessions.
By Celia A. Harvey, Jonah Busch and Muhammad Farid (Conservation International), Jakarta Post, 11 November 2010 | In Indonesia alone, it is estimated that roughly 1 million hectares of forests are lost each year, resulting in the annual emission of more than a billion tons of CO2, and negatively impacting Indonesia’s biodiversity… REDD+ offers an opportunity to tackle both of these problems simultaneously. REDD+ is an international policy mechanism in which developed countries provide incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation, and to enhance carbon sequestration through forest conservation, carbon stock enhancement and sustainable management. For Indonesia, REDD+ is an unprecedented opportunity to conserve its remaining forests, significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and earn revenue in support of sustainable development.
By Slamet Susanto, Jakarta Post, 11 November 2010 | Thick volcanic ash spewed by Mount Merapi has killed trees and created a virtual dead zone inside 20-kilometer danger zone surrounding the volcano. In Ngepos in Magelang, Central Java, volcanic ash continued to cover fallen trees along the village’s roads. Ash has also weakened the branches of thousands of coconut and salak pondoh (snake fruit) trees in the region, causing their fruits to decompose.
By Masayu Yulien Vinanda, WWF Indonesia, 11 November 2010 | In the context of REDD+, WWF encourages the government to set a concrete quantitative target, by 2020, Indonesia reaches zero net deforestation. To achieve that target, WWF will actively takes part by providing information, helping the government design the strategy and other technical support. “We expect, the Cancun meeting will produce a legally binding international standards, at least on REDD+ implementation which can become a guideline at the national level. If the agreement couldn’t be met, we would lose our opportunity to reduce deforestation and forest degradation both at global and national level,” WWF-Indonesia Forest Climate Policy Coordinator Iwan Wibisono said.
By Alok Jha, Guardian, 11 November 2010 | It is generally acknowledged that a warming world will harm the world’s forests. Higher temperatures mean water becomes more scarce, spelling death for plants – or perhaps not always. According to a study of ancient rainforests, trees may be hardier than previously thought. Carlos Jaramillo, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), examined pollen from ancient plants trapped in rocks in Colombia and Venezuela. “There are many climactic models today suggesting that … if the temperature increases in the tropics by a couple of degrees, most of the forest is going to be extinct,” he said. “What we found was the opposite to what we were expecting: we didn’t find any extinction event [in plants] associated with the increase in temperature, we didn’t find that the precipitation decreased.”
12 November 2010
By Peter Harmsen, AFP, 12 November 2010 | The world’s 20 largest rich and emerging economies including China vowed Friday to “spare no effort” at upcoming climate change talks in Mexico, a year after Beijing stymied a deal in Copenhagen. “We will spare no effort to reach a balanced and successful outcome in Cancun,” the Group of 20 said in a statement issued at the end of two days of talks in Seoul.
By John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail, 12 November 2010 | The Harper government stepped up to the plate Friday, formally signing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ending Canada’s isolation as one of two countries that refused to endorse the text. The non-binding declaration commits member states to protect the rights and resources of indigenous peoples within the state. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand refused to sign when the accord was adopted in 2007, claiming that resource rights and other claims included in the text clashed with their constitutions. Australia and New Zealand have since signed on.
By Vanessa Narine, Guyana Chronicle, 12 November 2010 | The Amerindian Act 2006 (Commencement) Bill 2010 was passed in the National Assembly last evening. The new legislation corrects an oversight which saw the Amerindian Act 2006 failing to come into force. The Bill was piloted by Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai who explained that the Bill seeks to validate the commencement of the Amerindian Act 2006, with effect from March 14th 2006. The Amerindian Act brought before the National Assembly in August 2005, was debated in October of the same year, and was sent to Select Committee, thereafter being subject to another round of debates, and finally passed in February 2006. President Bharrat Jagdeo assented to it sometime after and it was expected to come into effect from March 14, 2006.
By Gary Eleazar, Kaieteur News, 12 November 2010 | A legal snafu which has seen the denial of access to several hundred million dollars for Amerindians for the development of their communities was after four years rectified yesterday, when the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, piloted the Amerindian Act 2006 (Commencement) Bill. The Minister said that the Bill is an attempt to validate all of the actions taken under the provisions of the Act over the years. Under the Act, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission would have to pay over a percentage of their royalties to a special account, which would in turn be used for Amerindian Community Development, but this was never done. However, some of the acts under the Law which never came into force include the setting up of the National Toshaos Council as well as land demarcation exercise among others.
By Kwesi Isles, Stabroek News, 12 November 2010 | Government was yesterday unable to provide details on a fund which was to be set up since 2006 for royalties accruing to indigenous peoples from mining activities on their lands. The absence of the fund came to light after it was discovered that the revised Amerindian Act had not bee brought into force four years after it had been passed. The government hurriedly tried to remedy this by tabling a commencement bill. The matter came up in the National Assembly yesterday when Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai led debate on the second reading of the Amerindian Act 2006 (Commencement) Bill 2010. According to Clause 51(3) of the Amerindian Act 2006 “The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission shall transfer 20% of the royalties from the mining activities to a fund designated by the Minister for the benefit of the Amerindian Communities.”
By Catriona Davies, CNN, 12 November 2010 | Brazil has begun to auction parts of its rainforest to private companies for logging. One million hectares are being made available as logging concessions this year, expected to rise to 11 million hectares within five years. Eventually, up to 10 percent of Brazil’s 280 million hectares of public forest could be managed by logging companies, with the land remaining publicly owned. While this may sound like an environmentalist’s worst nightmare, the Brazilian government claims it will reduce demand for illegal logging and make sure the forests are managed in a sustainable way. So could the policy help save the Amazon rainforest, or does it simply legitimize its destruction?
By Nigel Pitman, New York Times, 12 November 2010 | You can learn a lot muddling around a forest in the middle of nowhere, but you also learn a lot once you’re back in the city catching up on your email. In the field we worried about why it was raining so little. Back in Iquitos, Peru, we discovered that our field work had coincided with the worst drought ever recorded in the Amazon basin. Reading the previous two-and-a-half weeks of email, it was possible to track the drought’s progress through the newsletters I receive every few days from a Brazilian research institute. First there was a note saying that the river level gauge at Manaus was at the twelfth lowest stage in recorded history. A few days later, a note said it was at the second lowest stage in history, and then, on Oct 26, a note confirmed that the river had dropped to the lowest recorded level since measuring began 108 years ago… Two of the three worst Amazon droughts in history have now occurred within the last 5 years.
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR’s blog, 12 November 2010 | CIFOR’s director of climate governance, Andrew Wardell, said that while the internet ensures a global and rapid reach, there were few mechanisms to check the accuracy of this information. “We feel the critical role of independent research institutes in providing accurate science-based policy advice, particularly in the context of the growing role of the media and the internet, and as I suggested, the misrepresentation of science,” Wardell said. One misconception he pointed to was the idea that two-thirds of deforestation is driven by low-income people in poor countries. “There is ample scientific evidence that suggests this is not the case,” he said. He said that this misinformation was the work of corporate lobbyists, and that even NGOs have distorted facts to push their interests.
By Alice Kenny, Ecosystem Marketplace, 12 November 2010 | The front lines of environmental defense are many, and most of them aren’t manned by protesters and khaki-clad revolutionaries. Today, the battle is being waged by an interdisciplinary phalanx of foresters, botanists, lawyers and economists who aim to make sure the laws of man recognize both the laws of nature and the laws of supply and demand. They do, however, wear khaki… “We need to get financing in place before roads go through,” says Jacob Olander, who runs the Katoomba Incubator and also belongs to the new Katoomba Rapid Response Team (RRT)… The RRT is its latest tactic, says Sissel Waage, the RRT’s senior coordinator, from her home office in San Francisco. It mobilizes an international set of experts on PES projects, laws and policies to help governments, businesses, practioners, and local citizens break through bottlenecks and access new and emerging ecosystem markets.
By Al Edwards, Jamaica Observer, 12 November 2010 | Guyana is making a concerted effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It has elicited the help of both the World Bank and Norway in formulating a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Speaking at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings held in Washington DC last month, Norway’s State Secretary for Environment and International Development, Ingrid Fiskaa said that last year, Norway and Guyana set out on a joint partnership to work together to provide the world with a working example of how partnership between developed and developing countries can save the world’s tropical forests. The partnership is based on the concept of ” payment for ecosystem services” and aims to contribute to the creation of a global regime to assign economic value to standing forests.
Republika, 12 November 2010 | Member of Parliament from Aceh HM Ali Yacob recognizes many board members do not understand the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). “Parliament did not understand REDD. It makes me confused like to invite discussion with anyone there,” he said in discussions with a number of environmental activists in the secretariat of Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI) in Banda Aceh, Aceh, on Friday. REDD is a carbon trading scheme is offset by the amount of money by big industrial companies producing carbon dioxide in the world with countries that have forests. As is known, he said, the forests of Aceh became the belle of the world even touted as the best virgin forest after the Amazon forest in Brazil. The existence of Aceh’s forests can be included in REDD schemes.
13 November 2010
Voice of America, 13 November 2010 | Anti-corruption experts convened in Thailand this week and made a number of recommendations to fight graft across the globe. The 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok came to a close Saturday with a pledge by attending nations to accelerate efforts to fight corruption and fully honor existing anti-corruption agreements… High on the conference’s agenda was the issue of corruption and climate change policy, particularly in the UN-backed forest conservation scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD. Estelle Pach, a REDD analyst with the UN Development Program in New York, warned of the potential for corruption in current REDD plans. “The risks are there because forest governance is not perfect anywhere at all, and then because of the influx of money that is going to come from a REDD mechanism, there’s potential for large scale or petty scale corruption,” said Pach.
14 November 2010
By David Cleary (TNC), Financial Times, 14 November 2010 | The incoming government in 2011 will be very aware of the 20 per cent of the vote that Marina Silva of the Green Party won in the first round of the presidential election. No government can ignore Ms Silva’s better educated and more affluent voters without paying a high political price. Politicians of left and right usually emphasise development over conservation; much hangs on whether a more nuanced view can prevail. Outsiders obsess about the Amazon, but environmental issues go well beyond the rainforest. The rise of agriculture has occurred largely in the Cerrado, a biodiverse savannah in the centre of the country that is now the world’s largest and most dynamic agricultural frontier. Even in the Amazon, where deforestation reached record lows in the past two burning seasons, a deforestation spike looks likely in 2011 reflecting Brazil’s rapid recovery from recession.
By Tracy McVeigh, The Observer, 14 November 2010 | The government has backed away from legislation that would outlaw the possession of illegally logged timber from the world’s rainforests. A previous commitment to make it against the law to own, as well as to import, illegal wood, has been quietly dropped, say campaigners, including Green MP Caroline Lucas, who has clashed with the environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, over the issue. During a meeting of the Commons environmental audit committee, Spelman denied there had been a U-turn and said new EU regulations, due to come into force in 2013, would make it against the law to bring illegal timber into Europe. But Tory MP Zac Goldsmith pointed out that the pledge had been made last year by William Hague and Greg Barker. The committee, chaired by the Labour MP Joan Walley, pressed Spelman on why the government was backtracking on its coalition agreement to “make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence”.
By Michael Simire, Daily Independent, 14 November 2010 | Lamenting the nation’s environmental challenges such as desertification, flooding, coastal erosion as well as gully erosion, Ewah Eleri of NigeriaCan/ICEED said at the forum with theme “Towards Cancun – Communicating Climate Change Negotiations” listed ongoing climate reforms to include building institutions (such as the proposed National Climate Change Commission), developing policy/legislative frameworks (the Clean Energy Bill) and developing plans (such as REDD Readiness Plan and Finance Needs Assessment)… Attempting an overview of Nigeria’s perspective on REDD+ negotiations, the National REDD+ Coordinator, Salisu Dahiru, disclosed that Nigeria’s negotiation efforts centered on massive deforestation and a rapidly advancing rate of desertification in the country.