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.
Global Justice Ecology Project, November 2010 | The UN states that the chief aim of its program for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is “to make forests more valuable standing than they would be cut down, by creating a financial value for the carbon stored in trees. Once this carbon is assessed and quantified, the final phase of REDD involves developed countries paying developing countries carbon offsets for their standing forests.” On its face, the idea of “reducing emissions from deforestation” is extremely appealing. But the devil, as they say, is in the details. While the major multilateral institutions, including the UN, the World Bank, and many large environmental organizations, support REDD – indeed, accept it as a done deal – a vocal core of forest-dependent communities, environmental justice advocates, Indigenous organizations, and global South social movements see REDD as a Trojan Horse. Here’s why…
The REDD Desk, November 2010 | [R-M: The REDD Desk has posted a list of side events relating to forests and REDD in Cancun.]
By P. Minang (ed); H. Neufeldt (ed), Arid Lands Information Network, 2010 | Over 70 percent of Africa’s population depends on forests: for fuel wood, construction materials, medicine, food, and revenue from forest products. Governments and conservationists recognise Africa’s forests for their high biodiversity and environmental benefits. However, forests face increasing threats including the impacts of climate change, which will change temperature and rainfall patterns and put further stress on the continents forests. Reduced forest cover, the loss of forest species and the flooding of low-lying forests are possible future impacts of global warming… While there is great global interest in REDD, it is important to note the governance issues and monitoring and evaluation challenges that this new initiative raises for Africa. This issue of Joto Afrika identifies some important lessons…
By Alice Caravani and Neil Bird, Overseas Development Institute and Liane Schalatek, Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America, November 2010 | REDD-plus finance has received a lot of attention over the last two years. This Brief describes the funding initiatives in support of this major international mitigation strategy and raises some ongoing challenges for the equitable delivery of climate finance.
Antonio G.M. La Viña and Lawrence G. Ang, FIELD, November 2010 | The paper revisits the challenge faced by the global community since the Copenhagen Conference and presents the status of the current UNFCCC negotiations since the Tianjin intersessional last October. It highlights the several hurdles remaining and prospects for the Cancun Conference, and suggests a few ways forward towards a full legally-binding climate agreement.
By Gregory Hudson, Bridges Trade BioRes Review, November 2010 | Still a pilot project, REDD’s basic premise is simple: to have rich countries pay poor countries to preserve or replant their forests. In return, rich countries would get a “carbon credit” to offset other emissions in a wider carbon-trading scheme… However, while REDD’s premise is simple, the details of such a programme are complicated and the subject of negotiation and concerns about corruption, monitoring and verification pervade the programme. Less attention, though, has been given to the potential trade implications of REDD. To make REDD conducive to world trade, policymakers should consider its possible impact on two aspects of world trade: the currencies of recipient countries, and the incentives for logging in non-participating countries.
UN-REDD, November 2010 | November was an exciting month for the UN-REDD Programme. Our Policy Board approved US$15.2 million for five national programmes, which means the UN-REDD Programme now provides direct support to 12 countries and has partnerships with 17 others. These developments underscore the growing strength of the UN-REDD Programme’s community of practice, through which countries are learning from each other and sharing valuable lessons and experiences.
IUCN, November 2010 | IUCN believes that while negotiations continue towards the ultimate objective of a global, legally binding agreement, it is vital that the COP takes confidence building measures in the form of a balanced package of decisions on REDD-plus, adaptation, technology transfer and capacity building.
Climate Change Policiy & Practice, November 2010 | The report highlights key concerns and presents recommendations on how to optimize the opportunities of forests in the region. It outlines various opportunities and incentives that can contribute to realizing the potential of Asian forests, including: reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); payments for environmental services; increasing demand for recreation and ecotourism; integration of national and global supply chains; and forest law enforcement and governance and sustainable forest management as requisites for international market access. The authors advocate improving the enabling environment by improving land-use planning and through tenure and public sector reform. They also call for better management of human and natural resources by, inter alia investing in science, technology and human resources.
By Lisa Hayden, The Nature Conservancy, no date | Hosting the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), known as COP 16 in Cancun Nov. 29 – Dec. 10, Mexico is taking the opportunity to show how its government and people are preparing for climate change. With 70 percent of forested lands in communally owned ejidos, Mexico can play an important role in REDD+, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (the “plus” includes reforestation, sustainable forest management and conservation). In a December 7 event during the talks, the governors of three Mexican states, Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche, are scheduled to announce the launch of a REDD initiative in the Yucatan Peninsula – a region where The Nature Conservancy works to conserve large remaining corridors of the biodiverse Maya Forest.
22 November 2010
ICTSD, 22 November 2010 | With Cancun climate talks only a week away, the world’s largest carbon emitter says it will not accept a deal on climate financing if it hampers their ability to prioritise domestic policy. Huang Huikang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special representative for climate change talk, said Friday that so-called emissions transparency conditions would not be acceptable in any green fund… There are no expectations that next week’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP) in Cancun will yield a binding deal. But observers had been speculating that the low expectations may allow parties to make progress on key issues, such as the terms for a climate fund meant to assist poor countries in adapting to the effects of climate change and forestry issues through REDD-Plus.
By Charity Knight, Climate Action Programme, 22 November 2010 | Across the world, indigenous people live in the environs our world has created. Unfortunately for some, these stunning landscapes are diminishing. One such indigenous group is the Forest People, a group which includes communities in countries such as Indonesia, Cameroon and Brazil. They are fighting with REDD to try and combat climate change due to deforestation, but frequently come against difficulties as few governments and policy makers include them in their talks… Andy White, co-ordinator of RRI, a US based think-tank, commented on a report about the Rights and Resources Initiative he co-wrote earlier this year. He said: “One of the difficult things that the world has learned over the years is that REDD is far more difficult that many people imagined… So the rather simplistic notion that money from the rich North can control or limit deforestation was unrealistic.”
By Gabriel Thuomi (Forest Carbon Offsets LLC), Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 November 2010 | Dr. Toby Gardner parlays 25 years of experience in conservation science into a concrete, discernible read. His Monitoring Forest Biodiversity combines, for the first time, the themes of forest management, forest biodiversity and ecological monitoring in a manner that will provide multiple benefits for forest carbon market participants. The book offers an accessible analysis with clear case studies on the context, nature and operational framework of forest biodiversity monitoring. Most important, it partners current on-the-ground applicability with a scientific framework that allows for easy repetition and monitoring. Broken into three parts, the book places forest biodiversity monitoring into an understandable context. It discusses likely challenges. And it offers a framework to achieve success.
Wetlands International, 22 November 2010 | Forested tropical peatlands are rapidly being converted into plantations, causing large greenhouse gas emissions, in south-east Asia about 900 Mtons of CO2 each year. Reducing emissions from organic soils under (former) forests should be addressed in a REDD+ mechanism. REDD+ should also be expanded to other ecosystems with substantial carbon stocks, such as non-forested peatlands, provided that emission reductions are MRV-proof. The restoration of yet deforested and drained peatswamp forests and non-forested peatlands should also be eligible as activity under REDD+ and/or be prioritized as low carbon strategies under NAMA’s.
Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development, 22 November 2010 | FIELD’s new REDD-plus briefing paper for negotiators attending the Cancun conference is now available in English, French and Spanish.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, 22 November 2010 | On 21 October, Minister Yaacob called his Indonesian counterpart, Pak Gusti, to convey Singapore’s concerns over the haze and to offer our assistance to combat the forest fires. I spoke to Foreign Minister Pak Marty Natalegawa the following morning to reiterate our concerns and our immediate readiness to assist Indonesia. Pak Marty told me that he was also concerned about the situation and assured me that the Indonesian authorities were trying to address the problem. And he stressed the importance of regional cooperation and how it had helped in the past… Indonesia is an active participant in REDD Plus. The donor countries of this initiative have pledged substantial amounts of money, both multilaterally and bilaterally, to help forest nations reduce deforestation. An example of this is the US$1 billion bilateral agreement between Norway and Indonesia.
Ravespot, 22 November 2010 | Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases by virtue of its love affair with the chainsaw and the bulldozer, which are tearing down its carbon-storing forests faster than Brazil is ripping up the Amazon. In an effort to stop the climate-warming carnage, Norway has offered to pay Indonesia a billion dollars in exchange for a two-year moratorium on forest clearing. The deal was announced in May to much fanfare and even song. The moratorium is due to start in January. The problem is no one knows what “forests” Indonesia is going to spare from the axe, raising very real fears even within the UN about the obvious potential for fraud by the nation’s rapacious palm oil and paper producers. In the latest clang of an alarm bell, a group of scientists has written to President Yudhoyono to urge him to include degraded forest in the moratorium.
Greenfudge.org, 22 November 2010 | The reason why Indonesia is so important for the U.N. is twofold. First, and this is good news, the country houses the most extensive rainforest cover in all of Asia. Second, and this is really bad news, the rainforest is being degraded and destroyed on a daily basis by agricultural plantation and planning, mining, logging and population increase. Because of this the country is not only cutting down the longs of the earth one tree at a time, it’s also increasing its carbon emissions at a scary rate. Back in September of 2009, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to reduce the deforestation rate of the Indonesian rainforests by 26 percent by 2020 (in the business as usual model of course) and by 41 percent if provided with international help.
23 November 2010
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 23 November 2010 | Indonesia plans to class large areas of its remaining natural forests as “degraded” land in order to cut them down and receive nearly $1bn of climate aid for replanting them with palm trees and biofuel crops, according to Greenpeace International. According to internal government documents from the forestry, agriculture and energy departments in Jakarta, the areas of land earmarked for industrial plantation expansion in the next 20 years include 37m ha of existing natural forest – 50% of the country’s orangutan habitat and 80% of its carbon-rich peatland. More than 60m ha – an area nearly five times the size of England – could be converted to palm oil and biofuel production in the next 20 years, say the papers.
Greenpeace press release, 23 November 2010 | A landmark US$1 billion deal between Indonesia and Norway … is in danger of being squandered, unless action is taken to protect it from notorious industrial rainforest destroyers in the palm oil, paper and pulp sectors. Expansion plans show that these sectors intend to utilise the Indonesian government’s ambiguous definitions of forests and degraded land to hijack the funds and use them to subsidise ongoing conversion of natural forests to plantations. Just a few days before the next round of international climate negotiations begins in Mexico, a new Greenpeace report released today titled “Protection Money”, shows how the ‘showcase’ deal – due to be announced in Cancun – could be undermined. Current expansion plans, pushed by industry with support within some Government ministries, seek to treble pulp & paper production by 2025 and double palm oil production by 2020, with additional targets for agriculture and biofuel production.
Greenpeace International, 23 November 2010 | How industry expansion plans would use climate funds to bankroll deforestation and undermine President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s commitment to low-carbon development… The Norwegian government’s pledge of $1 billion aids President SBY’s progressive agenda and ambition to end deforestation.The deal includes a two-year moratorium on allocation of further peatlands and natural forests for sector expansion, as well as a review of the land held by companies in existing concessions. A strong moratorium is a critical step toward implementing a meaningful low-carbon development plan. Greenpeace is calling for immediate protection of all peatlands and a temporary halt on all further natural forest clearance not only in new areas, as currently planned, but also existing concession areas.
By Jessica Brown (ODI), Reuters AlertNet, 23 November 2010 | International finance for climate change is a hotly debated issue at the international level, and has become an important barometer for how rich countries with high historical emissions will help developing countries shift away from carbon-intensive development to lower carbon development pathways. The Copenhagen Accord provides an indication of political consensus on the general need for the delivery of finance to developing countries, and concretely states that developed countries should provide new and additional resources for developing countries approaching $30 billion for the period 2010 to 2012 and that longer-term funding should come from both public and private sources to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020.
Clark Labs press release, 23 November 2010 | Clark Labs will be unveiling new tools for REDD+ at the Forest Day 4 event in Cancun that will enable users to measure carbon emissions with the BioCarbon Fund methodology as well as model the impacts of alternative economic policies with a new interface to the OSIRIS modeling tool. These new features will be publicly available within the Land Change Modeler application in the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing software in 2011.
Rights and Resources Initiative press release, 23 November 2010 | A study released today amid debate over how to reduce the loss and degradation of the world’s most vulnerable forests suggests that negotiators at the upcoming UN climate change conference in Cancun should look to Mexico’s forest communities for a solution. When allowed to benefit economically from their forests, forest communities in Mexico – made up of indigenous peoples and formerly landless laborers – are able to capture carbon more effectively than any other public or private group working to slow deforestation, according to a comprehensive review by researchers with the Consejo Civil Mexicano de Silvicultura Sostenible and the Rights and Resources Initiative, a US-based international coalition.
Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources, 23 November 2010 | An orientation program for journalists on “Climate Change, REDD+ and Indigenous Peoples’ Issues” was organized by Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN)-Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program in coordination with Association of Nepalese Indigenous Journalists (ANIJ) on 1 Nov. 2010 at Hotel Orchid, Kathmandu, Teku, Nepal. Twenty two indigenous journalists actively participated in the orientation program. Besides, Mr. Raj Kumar Lekhy, the Chairperson of NEFIN, there was also active participation of Ms. Tashi Syanghmo Gurungseni-Vice-Chair, Ms. Indira Jimee Yakkha-Vice-Chair, Ms. Bimala Sunuwar-Focal Person of Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program, Ms. Yasso Kanti Bhattachan-Secretary and Mr. Dandu Dhokpya-Treasurer.
By Florence Daviet, World Resources Institute, 23 November 2010 | An update on the role of forests and REDD+ in the international climate negotiations… Assuming that a more complete REDD+ decision moves forward in Cancun, a number of important elements of the text need to be finalized and agreed to in Cancun decision, including: Clarity around Safeguards… REDD+ Finance… Defining the Scope of REDD+… Giving SBSTA a Mandate… In addressing these key issues in Cancun, negotiators will be one step closer to reducing emissions from forest activities in a meaningful way.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 23 November 2010 | An interview with David Romo Vallejos. Ecuador’s big idea – potentially Earth-rattling – goes something like this: the international community pays the small South American nation not to drill for nearly a billion barrels of oil in a massive block of Yasuni National Park. While Ecuador receives hundred of millions in an UN-backed fund, what does the international community receive? Arguably the world’s most biodiverse rainforest is saved from oil extraction, two indigenous tribes’ requests to be left uncontacted are respected, and some 400 million metric tons of CO2 is not emitted from burning the oil. In other words, the international community is being asked to put money where its mouth is on climate change, indigenous rights, and biodiversity loss.
By Ama Marston, Bretton Woods Project, 23 November 2010 | A much awaited November report from the UN high level advisory group on climate change finance (AGF) drew criticism for recommending an increasing role for multilateral development banks (MDBs). The noise generated by the report also highlights concerns about the development of a new fund hoped to be decided in Cancun, additional trust funds announced at the Bank and the continued roll-out of the Bank-housed climate investment funds (CIFs)… Forestry continues to be an area of controversy (see Update 72, 65). An early November meeting held in Washington on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) brought together UN officials with those working on the Bank-housed Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and Forest Investment Program. An issue central to discussions was the Bank’s proposal to allow other multilateral institutions to become delivery partners for its REDD-related financing.
By Stephen Leahy, IPS, 23 November 2010 | Deforestation rates have slowed in Brazil and elsewhere in expectation of a windfall of green gold from billions of dollars of carbon credits being mobilised for climate protection, some experts believe. Next week, at the United Nations climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, the final details of a new international market for buying and selling carbon rights to forests will be under intense negotiation by 200 countries. This new financial tool called REDD is widely touted as the only way to mobilise $10 to $30 billion annually to halt deforestation, which contributes 15 to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation is also the primary driver of species extinctions and ecosystem destruction… “National or state-level agreements usually ignore the views of local people,” says Imam Basuki of the Indonesia-based Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
CIFOR press release, 23 November 2010 | Significant progress toward a deal on REDD+ may be made at the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Mexico, but negotiators will first have to find common ground on a range of sticky details about how it may work. REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) aims to reward developing nations for protecting, restoring and sustainably managing forests. It offers one of the cheapest options for cutting global greenhouses gases. Among the key issues likely to be addressed at the conference in Cancún, Mexico is whether to include REDD+ as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), said Dr. Louis Verchot, the principal climate change scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and co-author of a 2010 update of the publication, The State of REDD Negotiations.
24 November 2010
By Jeremy van Loon and Claire Leow, Bloomberg, 24 November 2010 | When United Nations climate negotiators meet next week in Mexico and debate protecting tropical rainforests, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd. and rival oil- palm growers in Southeast Asia will be paying attention. Any UN-led accord that restricts clearing rainforest for planting more palm trees would limit the supply of the edible oil crushed from their fruit and be a boon to prices for growers, said Dorab Mistry, a director at oil trader Godrej International Ltd. More than 80 percent of the world’s palm oil comes from the rainforest nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. “It’s a no-brainer that such exercises are bullish for prices,” said Mistry, who has traded edible oils for more than 30 years. Global supply of edible oils will fail to keep pace with demand for a third year, he said in an interview.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 24 November 2010 | Indonesia has high hopes prior to the upcoming Cancun climate talks of setting up a new fund body to start disbursing US$30 billion pledged by developed nations… Indonesia also expressed hope that the new fund could be used to finance adaptation, mitigation and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD plus).
UPI.com, 24 November 2010 | Indonesia is eyeing $1 billion in climate aid – intended to halt deforestation and reduce carbon emissions – to subsidize the ongoing conversion of natural forests to plantations, Greenpeace says… [I]n its report, “REDD Alert: Protection Money,” released Tuesday, Greenpeace said that because of vague definitions, continued clearance of forest could be allowed in Indonesia under the guise of rehabilitation of degraded forest areas. Greenpeace said documents from the forestry, agriculture and energy departments in Jakarta reveal plans for expansion in the pulp, palm, agriculture, biofuel and coal sectors that could bring an additional 156 million acres of land into use by 2030. “The land is roughly equivalent to all the currently undeveloped land in Indonesia,” says the report. “The government plans for a trebling of pulp and paper production by 2015 and a doubling of palm oil production by 2020.”
By Arlina Arshad, AFP, 24 November 2010 | Greenpeace on Tuesday warned that a billion-dollar deal between Norway and Indonesia to cut carbon emissions from deforestation is in danger of being hijacked by timber and oil palm companies. The environmental group said “notorious industrial rainforest destroyers” such as palm oil and pulp producers intended to manipulate the funds to subsidise further conversion of natural forests to plantations. The allegations came in a new Greenpeace report called “REDD Alert: Protection Money”, expressing doubts about Indonesia’s plans to use a UN-backed scheme to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 24 November 2010 | A major wood-pulp company is misleading the public over its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a carbon conservation project in Sumatra, claims Greenomics, an Indonesian activist group. Greenomics says Asia Pulp & Paper’s carbon conservation project on the Kampar Peninsula – announced with much fanfare in early October – is little more than “an attempt to dupe the public into believing that the company is ‘going green.'” Greenomics said PT Putra Riau Perkasa, a supplier of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), never intended to develop the land for pulp plantations because the company concluded “the land satisfied all the legal requirements for designation as a protected zone.” Therefore APP’s claim that it is voluntarily setting aside the land for conservation is without merit, according to the group. Greenomics says APP could face “legal consequences” over its claims.
Ravespot, 24 November 2010 | For the low-down on Indonesia’s forests, Norway’s billions and the collective effort to save the planet by reducing carbon emissions from deforestation (REDD), check out this new report from Greenpeace. In a nutshell, it says: “There is a potential that international money intended for the protection of Indonesia’s forests and peatlands could end up being used to support their destruction.” The title – “Protection Money” – is an abrasive way of spelling out the danger: unless Indonesia changes its business-as-usual approach of allowing the pulp and palm oil companies carte blanche over its forests, REDD funds will end up lining the pockets of environmental racketeers.
Greenfudge.org, 24 November 2010 | “REDD Alert: Protection Money”, an extensive report issued by Greenpeace last Tuesday, claims that the Indonesian government has plans to use the billion dollars the country will get from the U.S., Norway and the U.K. under the REDD program to cut down 37 million acres of rainforest. Greenpeace’s findings are based on leaked documents from the ministry of Agriculture, Energy and Forestry. The report states that Indonesia’s greenhouse gas reduction proposals “may create perverse incentives to clear forests and peat lands, create opportunities for corruption and actually drive an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.”
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 24 November 2010 | Scientists have warned that mechanisms for cutting carbon emissions from the forestry sector may undermine long-term prospects for biodiversity conservation in tropical countries… Scientists from the University of Kent warned, however, that the bulk of REDD funds were targeted at peatland, where deforestation is high but biodiversity is low… In Biodiversity Conservation in the REDD, a study published in the journal Carbon Balance and Management on Tuesday, scientists used examples from Indonesia — one of the most biodiverse countries in the world but also the third-largest global carbon emitter — to highlight ways in which emission reduction strategies could turn sour for local wildlife. The study was led by Gary Paoli of Daemeter Consulting, a firm in Bogor that specializes on sustainable development.
By Annas Radin Syarif, Indigenous Portal, 24 November 2010 | The Working Group of AMAN on Climate Change and REDD, at 18 to 21 November 2010, Held a meeting in crowford lodge, Bogor, Indonesia. This meeting is the second time (first in January 2010) since its inception in 2008 in AMAN Strategic meeting at Sinarresmi, west Java ago. This time, more focused discussion about how to strengthen the position of indigenous peoples and ensure the rights in the policy. Attended by members of the AMAN’s Working Group on Climate Change and REDD consisting of representatives of indigenous peoples in various regions. Moreover, as speakers, presenting Abdon Nababan (Secretary General of AMAN), Huan Martin (World Bank) and Stenly (researchers from HuMA).
Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 November 2010 | As we ramp up to Cancún at the end of the month, an abundance of forest carbon flowers are starting to bloom. From the grass roots up, we heard this week about innovative new projects to harness forests (and increasingly, agriculture) for climate change mitigation, the publication of new guides on evaluating and developing forest carbon projects, all the way up to state-level demonstration projects being announced by the Governor’s Climate and Forests Taskforce.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 24 November 2010 | As more nations adopt better laws and policies to save and restore forests at home, they may, in fact, be outsourcing deforestation to other parts of the world, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Looking at six developing nations where forests are recovering—instead of receding—the study found only one of them did not outsource deforestation to meet local demand for wood-products and food, a process known as ‘leakage’. “Our study found that strengthened forest-conservation policies and economic expansion often increased the demand for imported timber and agricultural products, which contributed to deforestation abroad.” explained study co-author Eric Lambin of Stanford University in California and the University of Louvain in Belgium, in a press release.
By Nnimmo Bassey, 234next.com, 24 November 2010 | For about two weeks, starting from next Monday, the world will be locked into another session of negotiations on how to tackle climate change. The conference, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, has drawn less excitement than its predecessor held in Copenhagen, Denmark, a year ago… It is also argued that that any reduced deforestation may not be sustained, as deforesters may just shift to another forest or zone to continue with their activities. In other words, REDD is a pretty fiction that may pump money into the pockets of some countries and corporations, but will marginalise forest peoples and will not help to fight climate change. The attraction, as critics have said, is that if this mechanism is linked to the carbon market, it will allow developed countries pay money to REDD-projects that preserve forests in developing countries, and in return receive carbon credits – buying the right to pollute.
25 November 2010
Climate Justice Now!, 25 November 2010 | On the eve of COP16, the Global Forest Coalition has released a new report: “Getting to the Roots. The underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and drivers of forest restoration”. The report will be formally launched next Wednesday in Cancun. This report summarizes the findings of the Global Forest Coalition’s three year global program of workshops investigating the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and the incentives and other underlying causes underpinning successful forest conservation and restoration initiatives by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
By Natasha Maguder, CNN, 25 November 2010 | Only when flying over the treetops of the Brazilian Amazon was I finally able to comprehend the scale of the forest. The Amazon rainforest is the biggest in the world. It stretches into nine different countries, and covers over three million square miles. These trees are important to all of us. They are vital to the world’s water system and the generation of oxygen. One fifth of the world’s rainfall comes from the Amazon ecosystem. As we flew over the forests the views from the aeroplane windows began to change. The lush green carpet of trees gave way to cleared areas with what looked like matchsticks, strewn on the ground. This is the reality of deforestation. I realized that in all the articles I’ve ever read about deforestation, I’ve never been able to picture the reality of what it looks like on the ground. And the scale of the damage is unimaginable.
mongabay.com, 25 November 2010 | Industrial interests are threatening to undermine Norway’s billion dollar partnership with Indonesia, potentially turning the forest conservation deal into a scheme that subsidizes conversion of rainforests and peatlands for oil palm and pulp and paper plantations, logging concessions, and energy production, claims a new report from Greenpeace. The report, Protection Money, argues that the forestry and energy sectors are working to influence Indonesia’s national REDD strategy to continue on a business-as-usual expansion model. “Expansion plans show that these sectors intend to utilize the Indonesian government’s ambiguous definitions of forests and degraded land to hijack the funds and use them to subsidize ongoing conversion of natural forests to plantations,” said Greenpeace in a statement.
carbonpositive.net, 25 November 2010 | A second improved forest management (IFM) project methodology has been approved for use with the Voluntary Carbon Standard, an important step in applying carbon market finance to the restoration of degraded native tropical forests. The methodology was produced by project developer Face the Future to measure the carbon emissions reductions generated by its rehabilitation project in the severley damaged Infapro rainforest in Malaysia’s Sabah province on Borneo.
CIFOR press release, 25 November 2010 | Massive amounts of carbon are being released into the atmosphere as swathes of forests growing on peat swamps in Southeast Asia are being converted to palm oil plantations, new analysis has shown, prompting scientists to call for a special focus on them in the upcoming climate talks. Peatlands cover about 3% of the earth’s land area, but store as much as one-third of all soil carbon. If that carbon is emitted into the atmosphere, it would be equal to about 75 years of burning fossil fuels at the current global rate… In a peer-reviewed article published this month in the journal PNAS, scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Daniel Murdiyarso, Kristell Hergoualc’h and Louis Verchot, called for a special focus on peatlands in any future deal on REDD+ … as well as the conservation and sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources, 25 November 2010 | Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN)-Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program organized a national refreshment Training of Trainers (ToT) on “Climate Change, REDD+ and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights” in Sauraha, Chitwan, Nepal at Hotel Wild Life Camp. The two days national refreshment ToT started on 18 Nov. 2010. The awareness songs embodied with the position paper of NEFIN on climate change and REDD were launched in the ToT. The songs are composed by Mr. Khem Jung Gurung-Chairperson of NEFIN, District Coordination Council (DCC), Lamjung.
Bleeding Edge Blog, 25 November 2010 | 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 and this will help fund safeguards to prevent further deforestation in the Amazon and rainforests elsewhere if defined right. Ofcourse it can also spell the death of ancient forests everywhere if the REDD definition of forest, isn’t differentiated from new plantation forests. Those plantation forests allow dishonest governments to destroy their ancient Biodiverse forests and get compensated by the UNFCCC credit mechanisms for CDMs, for this by creating mono culture crop forests for the production of Biofuels and Palm oil. Destroying ancient rainforests or classical first growth forests for Biofuels and such… is a crime. Getting paid for it with Climate Aid is a major crime against humanity.
mongabay.com, 25 November 2010 | A widely used representation of greenhouse gas emissions abatement costs doesn’t reflect the true costs of forest conservation, making the proposed reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism seem cheaper than it actually is, argues a new report from the Rainforest Foundation UK. Developed by McKinsey & Company, a consultancy, the carbon mitigation cost-curve shows the size of various opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for different activities in order of cost. Potential emissions savings (abatement) are on the x-axis and the cost (per metric ton of carbon dioxide) is listed on the y-axis. The model has been applied by several countries developing REDD strategies, including Indonesia, Guyana, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Papua New Guinea.
26 November 2010
Friends of the Earth International press release, 26 November 2010 | Ahead of the United Nations climate talks in Cancún that start on Monday, November 29th, Friends of the Earth International calls on governments to reject the role of carbon markets in international climate agreements… Proposals related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) are progressing rapidly, but there is a major risk that they will be linked to carbon markets. This would lead to developed countries paying for forest offset projects that essentially privatize developing country forests in order to buy the right to pollute. Forest carbon offset schemes risk taking forest ownership out of the hands of local communities and prevent real action from rich industrialized countries to make their necessary emission cuts at home.
By Greg Picker & Fergus Green, Business Spectator, 26 November 2010 | The games are about to begin again. A year after Copenhagen, negotiators, ministers, industry lobbyists, activists, scientists and others are about to descend on Cancun in their thousands for the next round of international climate change negotiations. The issues they will wrestle with are the same as last December… Vexed questions about the monitoring of countries’ performance in reducing emissions and the consequences for failing to meet their pledges will also be discussed. While an agreement covering all of these issues is not achievable at Cancun, there is hope that several elements may be able to be agreed, including REDD and the technical details on accounting for emissions from the land sector.
carbonpositive.net, 26 November 2010 | After years of delay, dispute and disappointment, success at 2010’s annual UN climate talks will be measured on whether they make it possible to reach the ultimate goal at next year’s conference. Negotiators from 194 nations go into the annual UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, on Monday with expectations of reaching a new climate accord at any time far lower than they were at Copenhagen a year ago. Reality bit in Denmark over how far the world was from a meaningful agreement on the next round of global action covering the period 2013 to 2020… The key areas to be negotiated are the level of emissions reductions targets and how they are shared between rich and poor countries, funding from rich countries to poor to tackle climate change, mechanisms to transfer clean technology to poorer countries (such as the UN CDM), and a global mechanism to halt deforestation in poor countries, or REDD+.
By Jessica Shankleman, businessGreen, 26 November 2010 | UK businesses should prepare for international climate change negotiators to strike a deal on how rich nations will pay to help reduce emissions from deforestation at Cancun, according to experts from leading green groups. Speaking at BusinessGreen’s lecture evening on the Cancun Summit yesterday, Adam Gibbon, climate change technical specialist from Rainforest Alliance said there was “great hope” negotiators will agree on the UN’s proposed reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation mechanism, known as REDD+… James Cameron, executive director of Climate Change Capital, said he too was optimistic a deal could be reached on forestry in Cancun, while the British delegation for Cancun is known to be similarly confident that progress on forestry protection can be delivered over the next two weeks.
Nigerian Compass, 26 November 2010 | In a bid to reduce the severity of climate change, scientists have called for the preservation of Africa’s surviving tropical forests and planting new trees to replace those lost to deforestation. They added that the forests ease the local impact of climate change by absorbing more carbon from the air and by regulating local weather conditions. They also cited the forests’ roles as watersheds, defences against soil erosion and conservation pools for biodiversity. During the 2010 Open Day of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), which was marked with the planting of indigenous trees by institutes’ workers in Ibadan, the Manager of the IITA – Leventis Foundation Project, Dr. John Peacock, said that reforestation and education on the benefits of conservation were critical to stemming and reclaiming Africa’s lost forest and biodiversity.
By Greg Poulgrain, Jakarta Post, 26 November 2010 | The Indonesian province to be the test-case for Norway’s 1 billion dollar environmental deal will be announced during the 16th UN Climate Change Conference starting on Nov. 29 at Cancun, Mexico. The LoI (Letter-of-Intent) signed in Oslo last May requires an Indonesian province “with large intact tracts of rainforest” to stop deforestation for two years. This “REDD+ agreement” (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, with special reference to the indigenous population) could make Indonesia a world-leader in facing the threat of climate change… Lars Løvold, director of Rainforest Foundation Norway, told the Norwegian government: “Unless Papua is targeted as one of the first provinces to implement REDD, it is highly likely that much of this forest will disappear before a national REDD structure is in place.”
Ravespot, 26 November 2010 | The Australian government is spending 40 million dollars to boost Indonesia’s ability to take part in schemes to reduce carbon emissions through deforestation and degradation (REDD). That’s tiny by Norway’s one-billion-dollar standards, and even tinier when you consider how much money Australian-based mining firms make every year from exporting fossil fuels like coal. That mining industry and Australia’s need to “offset” its massive carbon emissions without actually cutting them explain its enthusiasm for REDD pilot schemes in Indonesia, according to environmentalists. Australia’s support includes a project to develop Indonesia’s National Carbon Accounting System and Forest Resource Information System, which the Australian government says will “enable Indonesia to measure, report and verify emissions reductions from practical REDD activities”.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 26 November 2010 | Climate-change negotiators from around the world are on their way to Cancun, Mexico for the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which runs from Monday, 29 November, through Friday, 10 December. Ecosystem Marketplace will be providing daily coverage of events relating to land-use, forestry, and voluntary carbon. Here’s a quick overview of how we’ll be following and participating in the world’s most prominent climate effort…
cop16cancun2010, 26 November 2010 | We will be visiting a pilot forest carbon offset – REDD+ project in the Maya Forest called Much Kanan K’aax… One of the principal objectives of the community reserve is to protect and regenerate the “lungs” that the Maya Forest represents via reforestation and conservation and, later, the sale of carbon credits on local, national and international markets. Thus, Mayan communities are working to help mitigate climate change, the effects of which Mexico in general and the Yucatan Peninsula in particular have witnessed in recent years. This “carbon offset” and REDD+ project is the first to be developed in the Yucatan Peninsula.
By Mark Stevenson, Associated Press, 26 November 2010 | Forest preservation is the goal of a popular U.N.-sponsored program known as REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, which garnered more mentions than any other program approved at the last international climate meeting in Copenhagen. The hope is for developed nations to pay poorer ones $22 to $38 billion per year to help them preserve forests. “It is not a hypothetical idea or theory,” said Mexico’s Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada of the REDD program. “It’s working in many countries around the world. What we really require is….that it convert into an agreement at Cancun.”
Global Forest Coalition and Indigenous Environmental Network press release, 26 November 2010 | Indigenous and environmental rights groups warn that an agreement on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) at the upcoming UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico will spell disaster for forest peoples worldwide, limiting the rights of indigenous and peasant people over their territories. The real solution, the groups argue, is for developed countries to reduce fossil fuel emissions at the source. While negotiators at COP 16 hope to forge an agreement on REDD, the Global Forest Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network and a wide range of civil society and indigenous organizations, warn that any REDD deal will reduce forests to carbon stocks, disregarding their value for biodiversity and rural livelihoods.
Tanzania Natural Resource Forum, 26 November 2010 | In an effort to advocate for an equitable, scientifically sound and environmental international REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) agreement, a group of civil society organizations developed a position for the REDD negotiations at COP 16. The position is being released just days before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s sixteenth Conference of the Parties is set to begin in Cancun, Mexico. Eight CSO’s have signed onto the position, including all the REDD pilot projects that are currently implementing REDD in Tanzania.
By Yolande Cole, Straight.com, 26 November 2010 | Proposed rules for forest carbon offset projects are receiving criticism as a new draft protocol is opened up for public review. The B.C. government released the draft Forest Carbon Offset Protocol (FCOP) Tuesday (November 23) and is requesting comments from the public on the document… Ben West, the healthy communities campaigner for the Wilderness Committee, said using carbon offsets as forest protection is a “step in the wrong direction”. “As much as I do believe there’s a certain logic to protecting the value of a forest and providing some resources or revenue to folks to give them an incentive not to cut forests down that do provide a service that’s useful to all of us…we just simply can’t allow for the additional emissions to be justified by protecting forests,” West told the Straight by phone today (November 26).
By David Fogarty, Reuters, 26 November 2010 | It took just 30 seconds to fell the tree. Hendri, 27, a skinny Indonesian from Central Kalimantan on Borneo island, skilfully wielded the chainsaw more than half his height… In Central Kalimantan, there are a number of large REDD projects, including where Hendri and his workers were operating. But project developers know that their investments will only pay off if the loggers are found new jobs, such as rangers, guides for ecotourists or given assistance to set up their own cash crops, such as rubber, rattan or even quick growing timber. It’s a key focus of Indonesian business partners Rezal Kusumaatmadja and Dharsono Hartono, who are working hard to preserve and restore a carbon-rich peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan between the Mentaya and Katingan rivers. About 100,000 people live around the oval shaped project that stretches about 120 km (70 miles) end to end, many in the large trading town of Sampit.
27 November 2010
By Ben Vickers, RECOFTC blog, 27 November 2010 | Copenhagen wasn’t the end. Another year, another COP. But what a contrast. Compared to the hype and hope of last year’s event, the build-up to Cancun 2010 is remarkably understated… My favourite forum of the year, the REDD+ Partnership, is holding its multi-stakeholder workshop as I write, three days before the negotiations officially start. I received my invite last week (thanks, guys), just a little too late to change my travel plans. So perhaps not too many NGOs will be present at this meeting. But they are certainly on their way in force and, armed with Greenpeace’s latest report on Indonesia’s REDD+ strategy, they will demand answers.
Newsweek, 27 November 2010 | The international carbon markets also appeal to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Her country has faced massive economic and ecological problems as it has rebuilt itself after decades of civil war that wiped out its agricultural sector and decimated its forests. Sirleaf has taken a number of steps to repair the damage, including … the establishment of a “peace park” to protect the Gola Forest. Saving the Gola may also be a smart economic move, thanks to a United Nations–backed program, with the acronym REDD, which aims to reward developing countries (possibly with carbon credits) in return for forest protection. But already the process has run into snags: a British company made a deal with corrupt officials to purchase one fifth of Liberia’s forest for carbon offsetting, a scheme that officials say could have bankrupted the country if its trees failed to deliver the full estimated carbon savings.
CNN, 27 November 2010 | Louis Verchot, a leading climate scientist, in Indonesia to measure carbon emissions through deforestation, illustrated the problem. “Around us here we have a very young oil palm plantation and around the oil palms you can see the stumps of the trees, this area was probably logged between three and five years ago,” he said. “We’re trying to understand how this change from forest through degradation to oil palm affects the emission of greenhouse gases.” But there is a solution, in the form of the United Nations program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (REDD, which has Indonesia as one of its pilot countries… Verchot, too, is optimistic the policy can be a success. He is trying to measure the emissions caused by a change from forest to palm oil plantations to give solid data on Indonesia’s carbon emissions. “I think we’re at a turning point,” said Verchot. “A lot has changed but we’re not quite there yet.
Reuters, 27 November 2010 | Local landowners collectively running a small lumber yard in the pine forests of central Mexico say they are making profits from logging and cutting carbon emissions at the same time. Eleven communities share one sawmill in the town of Agua Bendita, processing planks for furniture and construction and earning enough to convince them that saving the forest is better than clear-cutting for agriculture. “The forests here have owners and the owners have the right to use the forests,” Fernando Canto, a technician for the co-op, said at a control tower where members spot fires in the dry season.
28 November 2010
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 28 November 2010 | Some of the world’s largest oil, mining, car and gas corporations will make hundreds of millions of dollars from a UN-backed forest protection scheme, according to a new report from the Friends of the Earth International. The group’s new report – launched on the first day of the global climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, where 193 countries hope to thrash out a new agreement – is the first major assessment of the several hundred, large-scale Redd (Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation) pilot schemes. It shows that banks, airlines, charitable foundations, carbon traders, conservation groups, gas companies and palm plantation companies have also scrambled into forestry protection.
Guyana Chronicle, 28 November 2010 | The following is the full text of the Declaration agreed here in Georgetown, Guyana, at the IV Ordinary Meeting of The Council of Heads of State and Government of The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) on Friday November 26, 2010… Express their satisfaction with the assuming of duties by the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, as Pro Tempore President of UNASUR… Declare their commitment to promote the sustainable development of their natural resources, including forests, through national and regional initiatives. They instruct the Council of Delegates, under the Chairmanship of Guyana, to invite a representative of the Amazon Co-operation Treaty Organisation to examine possible areas of co-operation between both organizations.
Guyana Chronicle, 28 November 2010 | Guyana made further strides towards deepening its integration with its largest neighbour and hemispheric superpower Brazil at the IV Summit of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) which ended here Friday. Just days after Guyana and Suriname reported they were taking their cooperation to new heights by advancing plans for a bridge across the border Corentyne River and other initiatives between the two neighbours, Brazil announced some of its plans to help Guyana to further integrate with the continent by assisting with a road to complement the bridge across the Takutu River.
By Andrew Hedges, Norton Rose Australia, 28 November 2010 | This report draws from public material and our experience in acting for a range of government and private participants in the area of REDD+ to ask how forest carbon rights are being approached in practice. In light of our experience and the excitement about the potential contribution of REDD+ in Africa, we have focused our attention on five African nations: Kenya, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
By Peter Holmgren (FAO), FAO & Climate Change, 28 November 2010 | As to REDD+, there was good progress in Copenhagen and the text was considered nearly ready. While negotiations over the past year has reopened some items, there seems to be agreement on how REDD+ is to function. Some may want to bet on a REDD+ decision in Cancún. This would certainly be an important decision for FAO as we are deeply engaged in, e.g., the UN-REDD Programme as well as the REDD+ Partnership.
By Eka Melisa, Jakarta Globe, 28 November 2010 | While domestic actions and political commitments top the list of how to make progress in climate change policy, the participation and contributions of all stakeholders will be essential to the process. Significant progress on REDD+ negotiations in Cancun will be an important step toward ensuring Indonesia can reach its targets.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 28 November 2010 | Before heading to Mexico for climate talks, Indonesia has said nothing about ambitions for a new treaty to restrain emissions, saying instead that the Cancun conference would serve as a stepping stone to seal a binding deal a year later. Indonesia’s chief climate envoy to the talks, Rachmat Witoelar, made a pledge that the country’s delegation to the two-week conference in the Mexican resort city, which begins Monday, will bring home results that would benefit national interests. “If I can bet, [at least] there will be a decision on REDD,” he told a press conference about Indonesia’s Cancun agenda… “If Cancun is still unable to resolve all issues on REDD, we at least expect a deal on a readiness phase,” Rachmat said.