A round up of the second week of Cancun news on REDD. The (many) articles are listed here in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). Apologies for the delay with this post – there were just too many articles written about REDD this week. REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.
Forest Peoples Programme, December 2010 | International negotiations about forests and climates now challenge us all with an alphabet soup of acronyms and a dense porridge of procedures. Navigating this world of global finance and intergovernmental agreements requires patience, concentration and the memory of an elephant. Yet the underlying principles that forest peoples are insisting on remain fundamentally the same. In making decisions about the future of forests, be it for sequestering carbon, biodiversity conservation or economic development, forest peoples’ rights must be recognised and upheld – to their lands, forests and resources, to self-governance and to give, or to withhold, their free, prior and informed consent to activities that may affect their rights. Although these rights are accepted in international law and endorsed by human rights treaties that most countries have ratified, forest peoples still struggle to get them recognised in other forums and on the ground.
By Richard Kimbowa, REDD-net, December 2010 | On Thursday I attended a couple of meetings on REDD+, typically giving experiences from different regions and on different issues. Being a new concept, REDD+ is generating substantive attention at the side events of this UNFCCC COP. Governance is one such issue that was the focus of discussion in an event organized by a Brazilian non-profit research institution – The Amazon Institute for People and the Environment (Imazon).
By Peter A. Minang, IISD, December 2010 | Despite predictions of a lame duck climate change meeting in Cancun in December 2010, potential areas for success exist. REDD-plus is one such area. A draft decision on REDD-plus is possible and would help to demonstrate that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations are heading in a positive direction. The Executive Director of the UNFCCC Secretariat, Christiana Figueres, remarked that a concrete outcome is needed at the Cancun climate change meetings to prevent the perception of multilateralism as a never-ending road. Forward movement on REDD-plus – a mechanism that has potential to provide substantial benefit to the poor in developing countries – would help to restore trust and belief in the UN negotiating system.
6 December 2010
By Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 6 December 2010 | Climate negotiations were dealt a bombshell at the weekend when ecologists reported that carbon emissions from the destruction of tropical forests are probably only half previous estimates. If we are emitting less carbon dioxide from deforestation that’s got to be good news, surely. The trouble is the findings seriously question the only success so far of the UN negotiations on curbing climate change under way in Cancun, Mexico. If cutting down trees emits far less CO2 than we thought, where’s the incentive to stop chopping? This is a dismaying thought when negotiators feel they are close to a deal on compensating tropical countries for curbing deforestation.
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 6 December 2010 | The chances of northern Europe facing a new ice age, or of catastrophic sea-level rises of almost four metres that swamp the planet over the next century, have been ruled out by leading scientists. But the risk of tropical forests succumbing to drought brought on by climate change as well as the acceleration of methane emissions from melting permafrost, is greater, according to the Met Office Hadley Centre, in its latest climate change review.
By Ruth Brandt, Climatico, 6 December 2010 | The first week of the COP16 has come and gone, with barely a mention of REDD+ in the official negotiations. Some delegates attribute this to the fact that the REDD+ negotiating text is one of the more advanced ones, and that negotiators either want to bring other texts to a comparable level or just rather not open a nearly completed text to further negotiations.
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR’s blog, 6 December 2010 | With one more week for the parties to agree on rolling out REDD+, influential leaders called on delegations to go full steam ahead with REDD+. As REDD+ stands the greatest chance at this conference than it ever has before, leaders are hoping for nothing less than a binding comprehensive agreement that benefits all. At Forest Day 4’s Global Update session, John Ashton, the special representative for climate change at the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office, said that there was no alternative to building a global legally binding framework “to harness the world’s collective efforts in response to climate change”.“Think about it for a moment – any alternative to it is less global, less inclusive, less serious in the commitments it contains. How can you justify something that’s not inclusive when you are dealing with a problem that affects everybody?”
By Beverly Natividad, CIFOR’s Blog, 6 December 2010 | The REDD will not be operating on a vacuum, nor will it deal with just trees. Forests host ecosystems and indigenous people. Cunningham said she fears a focus on the carbon that forests keep in might eventually move economic markets. The incentive to earn more will then shift the focus towards carbon markets and forget that tribal groups thrive in the area. “We fear carbon markets might evict indigenous peoples from their patrimony,” she said. Speaking about community forests in Mexico, Cunningham said it has been proven time and again that giving the residents of a forest area a sense of ownership of their land will encourage them to take care of it. REDD is fraught with good intentions and it is not at all bad to put a value on forests if only to encourage forest countries to preserve them.
By Meena Menon, The Hindu, 6 December 2010 | If you ever thought that these terms would apply to forests, think again. Economist Sven Wunder from CIFOR says the concept of REDD plus was based on global type of payments for environmental services where you could make conditional payments on the avoidance of deforestation, some avoided degradation and offer disincentives as well. REDD plus must stop deforestation and maximize benefits for the poor. However, he said if you had finite budgets then you cannot maximize more than one target. REDD plus is meant to sequester carbon, provide welfare activities for communities, and protect biodiversity with a single tool. You can`t always have a win-win situation, Wunder warns. There are some things that must take the front since “we’re in trade-off territory.”
By Ben Vickers, RECOFTC’s Blog, 6 December 2010 | I wish I could bring some more encouraging news on the REDD+ Partnership, but it’s looking unlikely at this rate. More shady dealings, it seems. After their meeting last weekend (27-28 Nov) the Partnership approved a document detailing their work program for the next two years… But it seems that something more than mere editing occurred by the time the document was sent back to Parties on Wednesday. The word ‘safeguards’ was still in the document, but stripped of nearly all the context and details it is now a vague commitment to some unspecified activity, quite easy to sidestep. The Secretariat could not have made such changes. What happened between the edited document leaving the Secretariat’s hands, and reaching the inboxes of the Parties? Where did it go? I leave such speculation to other, better-connected commentators…
ICIMOD, press release, 6 December 2010 | ‘Mountains in Peril: Mainstreaming the Sustainable Mountain Development Agenda into Climate Change Agreements’ in Cancun, Mexico. The side event was organised by ICIMOD on 2 October during COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico… Dr. Matthias Seebauer from UNIQUE Consultancy, Germany presented a research case study on a community-based REDD initiative in Nepal and highlighted the adaptation aspects of a REDD+ project. Mr Nabaraj Dahal from FECOFUN, Nepal, emphasised that “Local communities that manage and conserve forest must be recognised through REDD payments”, and gave a practical example of a community forest pilot REDD project implemented in collaboration with ICIMOD in three different watersheds in Nepal. The project is working towards establishing a Forest Carbon Trust Fund and REDD Payment mechanism so that local communities and indigenous peoples can benefit directly from REDD payments.
Survival International, 6 December 2010 | A leading churchman in West Papua has called on President Obama to withdraw US cooperation with Indonesia’s elite ‘Kopassus’ forces, after finding himself on a military ‘enemies’ list. Kopassus soldiers murdered a previous ‘enemy’, Papuan leader Theys Eluay, in 2001. Reverend Benny Giay, an outspoken defender of human rights in West Papua, has found himself on a list of ‘enemies’, which appears to have been leaked by Indonesia’s Kopassus forces. US assistance to Kopassus was renewed in July this year. Kopassus is notorious for human rights violations in West Papua and East Timor. Rev. Giay told Survival that by renewing ties with Kopassus, ‘The US is supporting the policy to oppress the Papuans, to wipe us out.’
By Robert Eshelman, Mother Jones, 6 December 2010 | PT LUM has yet to start clearing around Sungai Tohor in earnest. But unless the government does step in, there’s nothing to stop it from doing so. The company has doled out work to villagers here and there, but nothing that would make up for loss of their sago. Standing in the clearing alongside one of PT LUM’s canals, farmer Numun Daya grips his machete. “It was 1903 that my ancestors first opened land here. When I think of that time, I think of the hardship for them,” he says. “We have lost 13 areas of sago, and there is only a tiny bit of work from the logging company. We still have six more sago areas in danger. “With those fields,” the farmer adds, “we have a future.”
By Gerard Wynn, Reuters, 6 December 2010 | The European Union wants to delay a deal to use carbon markets to reward countries which protect their tropical forests, beyond U.N. climate talks in Cancun, said EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard. The aim of a U.N. deal on tropical forests is to pay countries which preserve their trees, and so cut carbon emissions, also called reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). The EU thought it was too early to pay countries by giving them tradable carbon offsets, which they could then sell to rich countries to help them meet their carbon emissions caps. “The risk is if you do it in the wrong way that you risk undermining the whole carbon market,” Hedegaard told reporters at the November29-December 10 talks in the Mexican beach resort. “We hope that we can have an overall political understanding on REDD … here from Cancun.”
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 6 December 2010 | Meanwhile, sources close to the Partnership secretariat say the work program posted by co-chairs Federica Bietta of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Junya Nakano of Japan on December 2 is not the one that the secretariat had written. Technically, it is the prerogative of the co-chairs to alter text as they see fit – in part because the Partnership still has not agreed on rules of procedure. “This sort of thing has been going on intermittently over the last few months, and it’s put a lot of noses out of joint amongst the parties and environmental campaigners,” says Peg Putt, former leader of the Tasmanian Green Party in Australia and now a climate-change campaigner for The Wilderness Society. “The co-chairs persist in doing it, and in this case, again, the fingerprints of PNG are all over what’s happened.”
BusinessGreen, 6 December 2010 | This week in Cancun politicians from around the world are discussing a scheme to protect the world’s forests. Called REDD+, it is being hailed as a way to save the world’s forests and relies upon developed nations to give funds to developing countries to stop deforestation. It is well known the important role forests play in protecting our environment. But REDD+ puts the focus of responsibility on developing countries, with developed countries focused on giving money. There is another side to this coin. Around the world consumers use goods that come from forests everyday – wood, soya, palm oil and beef – to name a few. High consumer demand for these products means forests are worth more dead than alive. Developed nations need to think far more carefully about the effect their consumption has on the world’s forests.
GreenDump, 6 December 2010 | Last month in Bangkok, I sat in a small meeting room with 12 environmental journalists from eight countries in Asia-Pacific. Some of the journalists would be traveling to Cancun; others would be glued to their computer monitors covering the negotiations from their offices in Beijing, Hanoi or Manila. Few of them knew much about REDD+, although they knew that it was important… The media has a role to play in reminding us of this narrative telling accurate, balanced stories that matter for our planet in a way that draws readers in and helps them envision a way out. Programs like the USAID/TNC-led Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) partnership can be valuable resources to journalists in playing this role. In the end, that’s how societal change happens: people connect with issues and demand action to be taken in their names.
By Angela Dewan, CIFOR’s blog, 6 December 2010 | How to finance REDD+ is still under debate, but experts in Cancun have reiterated that a combination of financing mechanisms will be needed to ensure adequate REDD+ funding. Pavan Sukhdev, special advisor and head of the UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, stressed that REDD+ absolutely needed a market and that criticisms of a market-based financing mechanism were unfounded… He said that carbon offsets were not optional, but a mechanism to ensure a correct carbon pricing was needed to strengthen the market. This, he said, could be achieved by raising the cap levels under cap and trade schemes. “Carbon prices are not where they ought to be because caps are too lenient. If caps are too lenient, then you can trade away till kingdom come but you will not get the right price because you’ve created too much supply. It’s a little bit like a central bank flooding the market with too much money – you won’t get the right interest rates.”
Espacio climático Chiapas, 6 December 2010 | We recognize that the current negotiating text … contains some references to Indigenous Peoples, and these references must remain in the final agreement in Cancun. However, these references fall short of responding to our demands for the full recognition and implementation of the rights which, after 30 years of struggle, are now recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our rights must be included in all sections of the agreement coming out of Cancun, inter alia, the Preamble, Shared Vision and REDD sections. We also continue to reject the carbon market as a false solution to climate change. Our Mother Earth is not a commodity. In particular, we insist that forests serve a variety of functions and are the source of life for Indigenous Peoples around the world, including those in voluntary isolation. For this reason, they cannot be part of any program or scheme based on the carbon market.
Tina Gerhardt, Huffington Post, 6 December 2010 | On Friday, the normally staid and restrained atmosphere at UN meetings received a lively injection of energy and music, as about 30 indigenous delegates staged a peaceful demonstration at the Moon Palace, the main venue of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP16 in Cancún. Organized by the Indigenous Environmental Network, the group sang and chanted, as they called for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. Two things in particular concern the delegation: 1. language referring to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is deleted from the final negotiating text; and 2. the draft text takes a supportive position on the UN’s program on Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
Greenpeace press release, 6 December 2010 | Greenpeace today published new maps that expose the devastating consequences of forest development plans being pushed by Indonesian industries including the pulp, paper and palm oil sector, with support from some key government ministries. If allowed to advance these plans would make mockery of Indonesian President Yudhoyono’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the forest sector. Based on several report from Indonesian government and industry data, the maps show in detail how much natural forest and peatland is at risk with the high-carbon, high-deforestation development path Greenpeace revealed in its recent report, “Protection Money”.
By Gus Silva-Chavez, EDF blog, 6 December 2010 | Today marks the start of the second week of the U.N. climate conference in Cancún, and also the first day of negotiations on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Environment ministers meeting about REDD+ in Cancún this week are expected to focus on four main issues, and with enough political will, a decision on REDD+ is on the horizon.
By Dr. Peter Wood, Outreach, 6 December 2010 | There has been much talk about the potential for the Cancun climate talks to produce a decision on REDD+. Although no-one expected that all the details would be worked out, it was widely thought that there would be a basic decision establishing a framework for REDD+, setting the stage for further development under SBSTA. However, there are a number of fundamental issues that remain unresolved that hang in the balance, including environmental, social and governance safeguards, monitoring reporting and verification of safeguards, and the inclusion of logging in natural forests.
CIFOR press release, 6 December 2010 | Slowing the rate of deforestation represents the cheapest and easiest way to curb greenhouse gas emissions, climate and forestry experts said at a gathering on the sidelines of the U.N. climate talks in Mexico, while urging negotiators to find common ground on a REDD+ agreement… “While most of us still hope for an agreement on REDD this week, regardless of what happens in the negotiations, voluntary commitments and initiatives have a momentum of their own,” said Frances Seymour, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “Whether the objective is global climate protection, local adaptation, biodiversity conservation, or rural development, there is an increasing sense that the risks of no action on forests are far greater than the risks of moving ahead. It’s time to act,” she added.
By Glen Hurowitz, The Great Energy Challenge, 6 December 2010 | Even as a comprehensive agreement faces challenges, there’s relative consensus that the parties to the Kyoto Protocol, the predecessor climate agreement to the one being negotiated in Cancun, made a huge mistake when they refused to allow countries and companies to receive carbon credit for investing in conservation of forests and other carbon-rich ecosystems. Without these financial incentives to protect them, these forests are worth more dead than alive to landowners, companies, and even governments. As a result, they’ve been going up in smoke to make room for cattle ranches, palm oil plantations, illegal logging operations, and soybean fields. The Earth has lost more than 300 million acres of forest in the last fifteen years. That deforestation causes more carbon pollution than all the cars, trucks, ships, and planes in the world combined.
By Ingrid Anabella Arias Salas, CARE Guatemala Resources Mobilization Coordinator, careclimatechange.org, 6 December 2010 | During COP16, Indigenous Peoples Groups have organized events where they discuss REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degredation). Important issues for the communities and for the different groups are being presented and discussed among participants from all over the world. Among these important issues, the prior, informed and free consent has been identified as one of the most important requests that the groups bring to the table. They want to ensure their right to understand what REDD+ is, the potential benefits, the commitments associated with it, and to decide whether they will participate or not in REDD+ initiatives. Another important issue relates to how REDD+ initiatives can help in securing the rights to their lands and their livelihoods.
7 December 2010
By Stacy Feldman, SolveClimate News, 7 December 2010 | The prospect of a deal on forest protection at the Cancun climate talks has galvanized pressure groups at either end of the ideological axis to take common aim at keeping the UN out of the rainforests. On the one side are indigenous groups, who say the pact would add up to a privatization of their natural resources. On the other side is an industry-backed think tank named World Growth International (WGI) that is fighting to protect logging interests, even though WGI likes to frame its arguments inside leftist rhetoric of concern for the poor. Slowing deforestation stifles economic growth in forest-dependent communities, they say, and will increase poverty.
By Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 7 December 2010 | Australian Conservation Foundation executive director Don Henry, who is in Cancun, says it is too early to judge what progress will be made… According to Henry, there is also a reasonable chance for agreement on how to stop the cutting and burning of the world’s rainforests that is responsible for 18 per cent of global emissions. “It may need to go to South Africa next year to conclude, but it is a very big deal for our region,” Henry says. Wilderness Society campaigner Lyndon Schneiders says the society is looking for Cancun to include Australian forests in the global accounting. “It is important to have a forest recognised as being full of carbon whether it is in the developed or developing world,” Schneiders says. Under the present rules, a forest is treated one way if it is in Canada or Australia, and a different way if it is in Indonesia.
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 7 December 2010 | These green groups do a huge amount of admirable work and undoubtedly there are valid questions to be asked about the extent to which REDD will protect forest communities and the apparent ease of corporate access to top civil servants. But where precisely is the billions of dollars a year going to come from to improve forest protection if not through a market mechanism? And if you agree a market mechanism, can you really afford to turn down money from companies you don’t like, however poor their environmental record? Equally, the main reason the British government, like many other governments, finally has the pursuit of an international climate deal at heart is because it has realised such a deal would serve corporate interests.
AFP, 7 December 2010 | On the funding, some negotiators say that only public money should go to REDD. But others say it is more realistic to set up a market approach that would allow nations to swap assistance for credits in emission reduction goals. “There’s a really strong chance that we will get a solid agreement,” said Rane Cortez, the senior forest carbon advisor for the Nature Conservancy environmental group. “There is a lot of consensus coming on the text, but we need a few tweaks to get everyone onboard,” she said.
Bhutan Observer, 7 December 2010 | Last year in Copenhagen, Bhutan declared that it will remain carbon neutral for all time to come and serve as a carbon sequestration tank for the world. This comes at the cost of maintaining ecological balance against rising population, agricultural growth, urbanization and industrialization, and the cost of conservation… The best chances of getting an agreement are over REDD which is the way to finance developing countries and ways of micro-financing adaptation, and MRV which will account for action being taken by all countries and to report on progress, which is then verified by international agencies. Forests are sink for carbon dioxide. However, to go ahead with MRV and REDD, there has to be emission reduction targets from the big emitters. This has to be agreed upon first.
Climate Justice Now! 7 December 2010 | Indigenous Peoples, grassroots groups and environmental organizations warn that the UN forest protection scheme being negotiated in Cancún amid the UN 16th Conference of the Parties may severely undermine climate mitigation policies and exacerbate environmental and social problems. “No REDD, a Reader” includes groundbreaking research exposing links between REDD and carbon trading, International Financial Institutions, extractive industries, GMO trees and biotech. Moreover, original case study research explores problems with the Socio Bosque Programme in Ecuador; the threat to Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation in Perú; corruption and coercion in the REDD scheme in Papua New Guinea; and the real face of “community participation” in Indonesia, among others.
By Neil Marks, Climate Change Media Partnership 2010, 7 December 2010 | The president is known to be blunt when it comes to the LCDS and this includes bashing the World Bank, which is managing the funds being given to Guyana by Norway. In October, Jagdeo said that the release of the first tranche of the funding – US$30 million – was being delayed by “silly, useless” World Bank officials. Dr George Norton, an Amerindian parliamentarian with the main opposition party, which has rapped the government on its corruption record, does not agree. “The World Bank and other international financial agencies are trying to make certain that things are done the proper way,” he says, “And if it means slowing down a process, then so be it.” This past week, the World Bank’s climate change envoy, Andrew Steer, defended the Bank’s delay in disbursing the funds, saying that it wants to ensure that environmental and social safeguards are in place for the money to be used well.
By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, 7 December 2010 | “We know that deforestation is a global problem, and the only way to address that is with an international mechanism,” said Rebecca Chacko, climate policy director for the advocacy group Conservation International. “Now we finally have a moment where, if we’re successful this week, we can move forward and begin to invest for real.” … “There will not be a waterfall of money that will come from a final deal” in Cancun, said Andrew Deutz, the Nature Conservancy’s director of international government relations.
Deutsche Welle, 7 December 2010 | But even before negotiators get to the sticky issue of money, “the debate about the REDD agreement begins with the definition of the term ‘forest’,” said Christoph Thies of Greenpeace. To date no agreement has been reached in the negotiations: Some also want plantations to count as forests, while others think the term should only refer to primary forests. “For us at Greenpeace it’ quite clear: a forest is a natural ecosystem that is dominated by trees – but not a plantation. A tree plantation follows the principles of agriculture and is more of a tree farm for us,” Thies said. A tree farm or a plantation hardly stores any CO2. Even worse: To make room for the plantation, rain forest has to be cleared – and in this way CO2 and methane is released into the atmosphere. If this were rewarded in a REDD agreement, Thies thinks it would lose all credibility.
By Carol Sorensen, The Citizen, 7 December 2010 | On November 16, after many months of waiting, civil society organisations sat in quiet anticipation, eager and excited to finally have the National REDD Strategy shared publicly. They were waiting on Prof Pius Yanda, Secretariat to the National REDD Task Force, who had agreed to give a presentation on the strategy that day on behalf of the REDD task force. He began, “we plan to share this strategy with you all next week…” and once again, civil society has to wait. Once again, they remain left out of the discussion. He said the task force has been criticised for not sharing the strategy document with various stakeholders, and explained this ongoing and continued silence using a metaphor. “You can’t name a baby if it is still in the mother’s stomach,” which in this case means the National REDD Task Force does not want to share the National REDD Strategy with civil society because it is still in it’s infancy and is still being developed.
By Emma Lui, rabble.ca, 7 December 2010 | Estebancio Castro Diaz spoke about the Kuna Yala people of Panama. He spoke of his personal experience with REDD. He highlight how proponents of REDD only focus on one aspect of trees (the ability to convert carbon dioxide). Proponents fail to recognize trees for their ability to provide food, medicine and knowledge. He said REDD projects on the Kuna Yala territory are affecting their culture and changing their traditional lifestyle. Every spring, they go into the forest to cut trees and burn the land to plant food. However, they are now told they cannot do that anymore but are not told how much money they will be given in compensation. He ended his presentation by saying “No rights; No REDD.” If the rights of the Kuna Yala people are not recognized under REDD, governments should not implement this programme.
By Jessica Cheam, eco-business.com, 7 December 2010 | At the press conference, [European Union climate action commissioner Connie] Hedegaard also said that there may not be a rapid conclusion to the global REDD mechanism, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. “We think it’s one of the complicated areas, where more methodology needs to be done before we can include it,” she said. Doing it wrong, she added, would undermine the entire carbon market. “We should be careful not to just open the doors wide on this… [as it will have] some impact on the carbon markets. We need to be very sure of what we’re doing… we need more details, but we hope to have overall political understanding on this issue”. Her comments come even as many expect an agreement on REDD to be one of the few achievable objectives at the climate talks.
Survival International, 7 December 2010 | Catholic Bishop Erwin Kräutler has accepted the Right Livelihood Award, known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’, for his work defending the rights of Brazilian tribes. He was honored ‘for a lifetime of work for the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples and for his tireless efforts to save the Amazon forest from destruction’, at the awards ceremony held yesterday at the Swedish parliament. In a hard-hitting acceptance speech, Bishop Kräutler highlighted the Guarani Indians’ ‘pain, despair and insecurity’ and said they are ‘confined to small areas, their young people see no prospect for their future and the suicide rate among them is alarmingly high… The current government is ignoring this cruel genocide in progress before their eyes.’
CIFOR’s blog, 7 December 2010 | CIFOR scientist Louis Verchot gives an update on REDD+ negotiations in Cancun. He says a REDD+ framework decision could emerge as early as today.
By Andrea Gunneng, climatemediapartnership.org, 7 December 2010 | International organisations have teamed up to call for greater recognition of women’s rights in initiatives that aim to tackle climate change by limiting deforestation. They argue that women risk being excluded from the benefits of these initiatives, which are known collectively as REDD+. They say that women are a distinct group among forest-dependent people but that – unlike the indigenous peoples – they have not had their rights recognised in either the multilateral negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or in national and local level projects. “There is a widespread omission of not seeing women as forest people too. I cannot say that the non-governmental organisations have their eyes open more than the governments do,” says Jeannette Gurung, founder and director of Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN).
UN-REDD blog, 7 December 2010 | The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) hosted a COP 16 side event in Cancun on 2 December on the UN-REDD Programme’s progress and experiences in upholding the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in Asia. The session opened with a presentation by Tim Clairs, UN-REDD Programme, UNDP, on the UN-REDD Programme’s approach to developing policies and methodologies to support the right to FPIC.
By Slayde Hawkins, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 December 2010 | The Brazilian state of Acre recently passed sweeping legislation that promotes sustainable development by incorporating the value of nature’s services into the state-wide economy. It’s a law that grew from the ground up, but it will only work if everyone from regulators and technical staff to landowners, land users, and communities can learn some fairly complex concepts – and fast.
By Matthew McDermott, TreeHugger, 7 December 2010 | Initially estimated at about 20% of total CO2 emissions, then revised downwards to about 15% last year, new research claims that the carbon emissions from deforestation may be just half of that lower estimate.
By Regan Suzuki, RECOFTC blog, 7 December 2010 | How should such ambitious and contentious negotiations be pursued? Tony La Vina, REDD+ facilitator during Copenhagen’s COP15, originally argued that there was no substitute for the drawn-out, messy processes of full public participation. This failed to take place in Copenhagen with the resulting accord falling short in the credibility department. Another more sensational advocate of full transparency is Julian Assange, the now-famous figure behind the WikiLeaks. The communiqués he has exposed extend to Cancun and the cynicism of various leaders on the potential of a climate change agreement. One has to wonder whether Julian believes that exposing these sentiments has brought the governments of the world any closer to closing a deal. The other strategy being advocated by commentators such as Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations is using discrete, if not down-right secretive, backroom negotiations.
By John O-Niles, Tropical Forest Group, 7 December 2010 | Here in Cancun at COP16, Bolivia is definitely trying to present itself as the moral guardian of forests and Mother Earth. However data by FAO and other sources and compiled on Mongabay (link is in the title bar) show that under the Morales Presidency (Morales was elected in 2006) rates of deforestation in Bolivia have jumped significantly. Currently, Bolivia is deforesting at a rate of approximately 840 hectares per day. This rate is in stark contrast to President Morales’s eco-grandstanding. President Morales has sent a knee to the groin of Cancun climate change negotiations (as he did in a soccer match recently). Hopefully he gets a REDD card here….
Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources, 7 December 2010 | In a press conference this morning at the COP16 climate negotiations in Cancun, Ambassador Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia said that a new text released yesterday by the Chair of the working group on Long-Term Cooperative Action is imbalanced, and excludes the proposals of Bolivia and many other developing nations. The main differences, Solon indicated, must be ironed out in negotiations among countries rather than unilaterally decided by a Chair.“Debates should continue on the negotiating text that includes the proposals of all parties,” Solon said.
By Lars Boggild, blogs.dal.ca, 7 December 2010 | First of all, let me qualify that the issues raised by The Indigenous Environmental Network regarding equity in emissions reductions and indigenous exploitation are a serious concern, and they must be addressed. However, we must recognize deforestation as a serious concern; after all, it is responsible for about 20% of global emissions . Additionally, most of global deforestation is industrial, take the example of the Amazon, where lands are being cleared for agriculture. Here a market incentive exists for people to clear land, so they can grow more food, and hopefully raise their standard of living. In order to prevent deforestation that incentive needs to be offset, and the only realistic way at the moment is to front the money to do so. I don’t think that this amounts to “commodification” of the air, and I certainly advocate that it remains a completely public good.
cancuntalks.blogspot.com, 7 December 2010 | REDDnet’s event on Carbon Rights took place last Saturday… The presentations by Robert O’Sullivan (Climate Focus – US); Guillermo Navarro (CATIE – Costa Rica); Alvaro Umana (Costa Rica), Yaw Osafo (Ghana), Marlea Munez (CoDeREDD – Phillipines) attempted to answer a set of questions. These included: what a carbon right is and whether, or under what circumstances, carbon rights constitute a new form of legal right that is specific to REDD+; Why and whether carbon rights need to be defined at all; implications on the interpretation of carbon rights in national REDD+ processes and projects doe different actors (opportunities and risks for local communities and indigenous peoples, governments and project developers); and the steps needed to ensure that the interpretation of carbon rights in REDD+ results in systems which are environmentally effective and equitable.
By Athena Drakou, athenadr.wordpress.com, 7 December 2010 | “For Forests” is a film showing the Loess Plateau in China in 1995 and the same plateau after 14 years of rehabilitation. It was produced by film-maker John Liu for the 4th COP 16 Forestry day, in Cancun Mexico. In this film Liu argues that the vicious cycle of poverty and environmental degradation can be reversed. Worldwide there are more than 1 billion hectares of degraded agricultural and forest lands that could be restored to functioning ecosystems, increasing livelihoods, food security and resilience to climate change.
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Blog, 7 December 2010 | Given that the momentum for mitigation 1b(iii), or REDD, appears to be dwindling, attention falls on adaptation to table the first draft decision for AWG-LCA. The earliest to start negotiations based on proposed text, much progress has been achieved after a guerilla warfare, which tackled different issues at different times, before the debate was focused on the establishment of an adaptation committee, as a permanent body to facilitate the implementation of adaptation actions by countries. As it stands currently, positions of negotiating partners have been drawn closer, and the spirit of compromise and flexibility will likely lead to an agreement on the text regarding the establishment of the adaptation committee and its functions.
IUCN press release, 7 December 2010 | Governments need to put more attention and resources into making sure vulnerable people get their fair share of benefits from REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), according to IUCN. A new analysis by IUCN of 17 countries that have submitted budget proposals to the World Bank shows that they are to invest triple the amount of money in measuring and reporting on the carbon in forests than on national capacity building and consulting with local people. Vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous people and the poor, risk being sidelined if REDD initiatives fail to adequately inform and engage them and build their capacity, according to IUCN.
World Agroforestry Centre press release, 7 December 2010 | An exclusive focus on forests – as opposed to the entire landscape – could lead to inequitable and destructive outcomes for the poor in developing countries, said a Nairobi-based agroforestry research organization today. Most deforestation and forest degradation is driven by forces outside forests, so capturing emissions and managing carbon stocks from land uses that involve the whole landscape, not just forests, must be included for the successful implementation of REDD+, according to World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). A recently published ICRAF policy brief noted that the emissions from changes in land use in Indonesia, which is the highest in the developing world, are as high outside as inside what is defined as a forest area. Yet, most REDD+ discussions so far have bypassed the trees on farms and the changes in agroforests.
praxis pictures, 7 December 2010 | As thousands of people marched today on the COP-16 climate summit to condemn the false solutions and backroom deals being pushed in the negotiations, solidarity actions unfolded in over 100 cities around the world. The march was organized by La Via Campesina, the world’s largest federation of peasant and smallholder farmers, and was the anchor action of the 1000 Cancúns Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.
IUCN, 7 December 2010 | How enhanced multi-stakeholder processes can ensure REDD-plus works for vulnerable communities. IUCN has published a brochure on the contributions that enhanced multi-stakeholder dialogues can make to more effective and equitable REDD-plus planning. REDD-plus offers major opportunities to turn around tropical deforestation and degradation, but if not designed well, implementation can result in direct and significant harm to marginalized, forest dependent groups.
Rainforest Foundation UK press release, 7 December 2010 | International NGOs call for a halt to REDD+ until guarantees can be made that indigenous rights can be respected, it will not be funded by carbon trading and funds will not be diverted to logging and agribusiness.
By William Booth, Washington Post, 7 December 2010 | The loneliest man at the Cancun climate conference? It just might be Alan Oxley of the group World Growth. Why? Oxley and his people are advocating deforestation… When asked who supports his work, Oxley declined to answer. It sounds like it’s the palm oil council? “We don’t disclose our funders,” he said. Perhaps the governments of Indonesia or Malaysia, which grow 85 percent of the palm oil, which is used not only for cooking, but in cosmetics and biofuel? Or palm oil players such as Unilever, Nestlé or Procter & Gamble? “It’s beside the point,” Oxley said.
By Francesca de Gasparis, The Green Belt Movement, 7 December 2010 | This week is when official decision making happens and we start to see if there will indeed be any progress. Last year in Copenhagen was a disaster in this stage of the process. The climate change talks are one of the only truly representative legally binding agreements globally, each country has a seat at the decision making “table” (actually rows of tables). However in Copenhagen as it has been widely reported the negotiations and texts that countries had been working on (which takes months, years of process) were thrown out and a new simple, and non-legally binding text the Copenhagen accord was produced. The main problem with it is that countries don’t have to commit to reducing their emissions and it would not adequately address the real issue to prevent the rise of global temperatures to less than 2 degrees.
8 December 2010
By Simon Counsell, The Guardian, 8 December 2010 | Rich countries will never be able to exert the moral authority required to genuinely convert poor countries to the cause of forest conservation until they themselves show a willingness to take tough political decisions and reduce carbon emissions at home. So far, this week, they have totally failed to do so, and it is why forest conservationists such as myself now expect only the worst to emerge from Cancún – a deal that promises to reduce emissions from deforestation, but will almost certainly fail to do so, while we continue spewing carbon dioxide into an ever-warming atmosphere.
By Dennis Martinez, National Geographic NewsWatch, 8 December 2010 | So they are at it again. At last year’s summit in Copenhagen for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the most powerful nations on the planet failed to set binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, this week, the industrialized countries are repeating the performance. They are, again, avoiding the drastic cuts recommended by scientists — and, again, diverting attention to the alternative these countries put forward in Copenhagen: a proposal that allows them to continue polluting, and offset the results via forest conservation… “Mitigation policies of the developed world will kill us before climate change does!” Ramiro Batzin, a Keqchikel Maya from Guatemala, recently told the World Bank’s Economic and Social Development Policy Section.
By Ruxandra Guidi, National Geographic NewsWatch, 8 December 2010 | But now it appears they may lose even this haven, if certain interests have their way. In April 2007, without informing or consulting the Kuna, representatives of the Panamanian environmental ministry met with World Bank officials in Berlin to claim the bonigana. The Panamanian officials volunteered the forest – along with others in indigenous lands – as a solution for climate change. In particular, they wanted to use the carbon stored in its trees for a worldwide climate-mitigation plan called REDD… A multi-billion dollar conservation package financed by the World Bank and up for UN approval in Cancún this week, REDD would set aside carbon-absorbing tropical forests in developing countries in order to offset pollution by industrialized ones. At the Berlin meeting, the World Bank approved Panama’s draft plan for REDD. The Kuna found out about the meeting several months after the fact.
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 8 December 2010 | Campaigners nearly reached a deal on forests at the Copenhagen climate summit last year. Led by Norway and America, the international community has pledged $4.5bn for forest protection. A number of corporates are also interested in forest protection – to gild their image, or in anticipation of using them to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions. But prospects for a deal at Cancun are hostage to the American all-or-nothing negotiating position. The US envoy, Todd Stern, has said repeatedly he will not sign on to a deal on deforestation or other issues unless he sees progress on the core US demand of transparency. Bolivia also has strong objections to creating a market system around forests. The US stance has frustrated campaigners. “An agreement on forests is very much within reach here in Cancún,” said Avoided Deforestation Partners.
By Eric Bellman, Wall Street Journal, 8 December 2010 | “Everyone is still waiting to see whether Indonesia can do it,” Agus Purnomo, head of secretariat for Indonesia’s National Council on Climate Change said in Jakarta before leaving for Cancun. “We will show the world that we mean business.” … Mr. Purnomo, one of Indonesia’s top environmental officials and a former head of the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia, is also in Cancún this week. Mr. Purnomo said if the program can weather the skepticism, it will prove that the right incentives can trigger a transformation in developing countries. “I have seen many forestry ministers come and go, and every time they left they have hurt the forest,” he said. “Now the stars are aligned for us to suddenly make a big change.”
Living on Earth, 8 December 2010 | REDD is also a major opportunity for conservationists who, for decades, have been trying to save the world’s rain forests with little success. Under REDD, owners of forests would be paid to stop deforestation and keep the carbon in their trees. The Nature Conservancy, perhaps the world’s richest environmental organization, is already trying to get REDD going on the ground. It’s piloting a new approach in Borneo that could provide a template for the rest of Indonesia, and other countries as well. From eastern Borneo, Living On Earth’s Ingrid Lobet reports.
Survival International, 8 December 2010 | As environment ministers from around the world meet in Mexico for the UN climate change conference, tribes in the rainforests of Borneo are facing a double ‘green energy’ threat as hydroelectric dams destroy their rivers and their forests are cleared for palm oil plantations. Tribes in Sarawak, in the Malaysian part of Borneo, reacted with horror when the huge Rajang river shrank to a trickle, after it was blocked in October to flood the state’s notorious Bakun dam. Ten thousand indigenous people were displaced to make way for the Bakun dam, and the Sarawak government plans to build 12 more hydroelectric dams across the state. The drying up of the Rajang has increased alarm among Sarawak’s tribes about these plans.
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta Post, 8 December 2010 | The Jakarta Post’s Adianto P. Simamora interviewed Brazil’s lead negotiator for REDD affairs, Thelma Krug, on what Brazil, the nation with the world’s largest rainforest, has done to prepare for the implementation of REDD… Brazil doesn’t see REDD being implemented through project-based mechanisms because we think REDD is a mechanism related to forms of more sustainable development change. The project-based approach would not lead us to that… One condition that Brazil demands of donors providing money to the Amazon Fund is that their projects never generate certified emission reductions or any carbon trading. We have made it clear since the beginning that all money given to the Amazon Fund should be voluntary contributions. So, there is absolutely no offsetting with any carbon reduction achieved through the Amazon Fund.
By Diana Cariboni, IPS, 8 December 2010 | he short-cuts that the United Nations system is offering companies to profit from strategies against global warming were the target of loud protests on the Day of Action for Climate Justice… There is a “near agreement” to include carbon capture and storage under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme, under discussion in the COP16, could include market incentives. But the protesters changed “REDD no, REDD no, REDD no”.
Shub Niggurath Climate, 8 December 2010 | This is why there is no global treaty, agreement, or Kyoto at Cancun. What is left is “inspissate, obfuscatory, obnubilating, obscurantist draft agreements” – the smoke and the fog that hides REDD, and its bastard child, subnational REDD. Why does the US want REDD to work? The forces at work are easy enough to discern, and the larger failure of the idea of Copenhagen, has meant that the numbers of serious players in the game has shrunken. Who are these peculiar entities still interested in REDD – the business of ‘saving’ the ‘planet’s climate’ by not cutting trees – even as no country has accepted to not emit CO2 thereby apparently dooming the same planet anyway?
Forest Carbon Portal, 8 December 2010 | Thousands of climate-minded visitors are swarming over Cancún. As United Nations climate talks progress and appear poised for a decision on REDD+, some of the other negotiating points (such as the land-use accounting “logging loophole”) remain unresolved. With boots on the ground, Ecosystem Marketplace has been covering the overwhelming volume of news and events happening each day and distilling the major outcomes. The talks will be winding up on Friday, and more news and analysis are sure to emerge.
The Nature Conservancy, 8 December 2010 | “REDD is the lowest hanging fruit for a positive outcome in Cancun,” said Duncan Marsh, international climate change policy director for The Nature Conservancy. “There is an impressive level of consensus around a very solid agreement.”
EU, 8 December 2010 | An increasing number of developing countries are outsourcing deforestation to help protect and restore their local forests, according to a new study. The research was funded in part by the REDD-ALERT (‘Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation through alternative land uses in rainforests of the Tropics’) project, which clinched EUR 3.49 million under the Environment Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could affect measures currently being taken to ensure the sustainability of the world’s remaining forests. Researchers from Stanford University and Rutgers University in the US and the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Belgium said our planet’s forests are disappearing at a rate of more than 32 million acres each year – an area that is about the size of England.
By Kristian Beadle, Miller-McCune, 8 December 2010 | One concern is finding a common language between multinational financiers and forest dwellers, so that equitable benefits go to locals and foreigners. Another concern is whether the price of carbon is sufficiently stable, achievable under a regulated market, but less likely in today’s voluntary carbon market. Despite these speed bumps, the market is taking notice of forest conservation. As described in Yale e360, Merrill Lynch has invested $9 million one Sumatra project, and Brazil is creating mechanisms to raise $21 billion by 2021. Forestry workshop participants in Oaxaca visited and were likewise impressed by the cooperatives in the Sierra but wondered if their successes can translate to other places. After all, the unique communal ownership that emerged from Mexico’s particular agrarian reforms (despite its flaws and limitations) plays a key role in these cooperatives’ business structure, and may not be replicable.
By Michael Gary, Transparency International, 8 December 2010 | A recent TI working paper has found that systematic bribes paid by companies to forestry officials for the issuance of logging permits have been reported all over the Asia Pacific region, including Malaysia, Laos and Indonesia. A study conducted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in Indonesia earlier this year found irregularities in the issuance of forest concessions of 79 forest concession holders in Riau. It also found indications that about one-third of the 2.3 million hectares of forest areas granted for plantation use were not used in accordance with the permits. In addition, corruption that begins in timber licensing also becomes very corrosive to other sectors, as it breaks down the web of processes, laws and regulations overseeing the forestry sector and beyond. As Cancun and REDD talks are underway, it is imperative to address corruption issues.
Tropical Forest Group, 8 December 2010 | The new LCA text is out, with even more brackets on key issues. One area that has not received a lot of attending is the SBSTA mandate. In the new (and old) text, Annex III is a request to SBSTA for a REDD+ work program. TFG believes the SBSTA mandate is a very good start (including national and sub-national modalities for key issues such as reference levels) but misses the most important work SBSTA should do in coming years.
WWF, 8 December 2010 | A global strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as REDD+, is among the key agreements that need to come out of the United Nations climate talks ongoing in Cancun… “REDD+ is ripe for a decision in Cancun,” said Gerald Steindlegger, Policy Director of WWF’s Forest Carbon Initiative. “But because a few critical issues are unresolved, there’s a real risk that governments could end up with a REDD+ deal that doesn’t benefit people or the planet. The world’s governments need to ensure they get REDD+ right.”
By Servaas Van den Bosch, climatemediapartnership.org, 8 December 2010 | “It’s not logging or fires that are the biggest threats to our forests, but development in the tourism, mining and agricultural sectors,” says Sergio Madrid Zubirán of the Consejo Civil Mexicana para la Silvicultura Sostenible, a network of NGOs that work on forests. The Consejo supports four forest projects which it hopes will benefit from a future REDD scheme by sequestering carbon and protecting trees. San Antonia Tuk lies in one of the larger zones, a 70,000-hectare community forest in the heavily deforested state of Quintana Roo, home to 54 Mayan communities.
By Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company, 8 December 2010 | The bigger problem is that a mandated trade in carbon credits is dead for now in the U.S., causing the collapse of voluntary carbon markets in its wake, which makes it hard to see how any such a scheme could get off the ground.
BusinessWorld, 8 December 2010 | “My fearless forecast as an expert is that we will have at the end of the week a ‘balanced package,’ which includes a REDD-plus agreement, an agreement on technology transfer, perhaps major progress in adaptation [programs] and the launching of processes for mitigation and finance,” said Antonio G. M. La Viña, Ateneo School of Government dean and a member of the 51-man Philippine delegation, in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.
By Juliet Eilperin, Washinton Post, 8 December 2010 | Avoided Deforestation Partners brought together politicians, financiers and conservationists for a high-level discussion on how best to preserve the world’s tropical forests — but even the group’s founder, Jeffrey Horowitz, couldn’t have predicted the fireworks between Guyana’s president, Bharrat Jagdeo, and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg about how long it’s taking to compensate the South American nation for preserving its forests… “The international community has a very poor track record of delivering help,” he said, adding that he appreciates Norway’s generosity. “But I can’t get the money.” … “It’s a waste of money,” Jagdeo said of the World Bank’s role as an intermediary. When it comes to turning on the spigot for the funds, he said, “It’s not Norway. They can’t get it.”
FAO & Climate Change, 8 December 2010 | The Avoided Deforestation Partners had an impressive gathering this afternoon… unlike in Copenhagen where delegations were firmly stuck in negotiations, this time the speakers were all present. They inculded Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway and President Jagdeo of Guyana. President Jagdeo made a passionate speech about the commitment made by his country to achieve REDD+. He then went on to express the frustration that finance is not provided at the necessary scale and speed by the international systems. Projects are ready to go, but without finance, the commitment and expectation may wither. If REDD+ can’t be done in Guyana, it can’t be done anywhere, he said. He then went on to single out the World Bank as being particularly inept in channeling finance for the purpose. This comment drew long applauds from the audience, which included many from northern NGOs.
By Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, 8 December 2010 | We are here in Cancun to make progress on all fronts in the climate negotiations. At the same time, we need to dramatically increase actions that will help to prevent runaway climate change and strengthen climate resilience. That is why it is essential that we do all we can to support the REDD-Plus initiative… REDD-Plus cannot solve the problem on its own. But preventing deforestation and sustainably managing forests does offer four significant advantages. First, we already know how to do it, so gains are a given. Second, it can have an immediate effect in reducing emissions. Third, it is one of the most cost-effective climate change mitigation measures available. Fourth, it has multiple co-benefits, including soil conservation, flood control and biodiversity protection. Such services are worth many billions of dollars.
9 December 2010
By Meena Menon, The Hindu, 9 December 2010 | Hector Rodriguez, who runs an alternative radio station in Cancun called Reptil, decided on a novel way to protest the commercialisation of forestry. As hundreds of people marched to the venue of the United Nations Climate Change Conference on Tuesday, Mr. Rodriguez walked up to the posse of Mexican policemen with riot shields and launched into an impassioned plea to help Mother Earth. “Help, help me,” he pleaded to the policemen, who quickly moved back, unsure of how to react. Hector’s clothes literally made a statement. The white cloth that barely covered him screamed: ‘No to REDD’ and ‘No to capitalism of forests.’ The protest, organised by Via Campesina and other groups with an estimated 3,000-5,000 people, was against market-based solutions to climate change and opposed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) plus, a proposal that seeks to help people manage forests and sequester carbon, among other things.
By Laura Carlsen, Huffington Post, 9 December 2010 | The UN Climate Conference (COP16) in Cancun is turning out to be both anti-climactic and anti-climatic. There will be no major agreement to stop global warming this week, despite the timed release of a number of reports that show that the phenomenon is advancing more rapidly than expected, with lethal consequences. There likely will be announcements of progress in schemes to allow contaminating industries and nations to continue with business as usual and add another lucrative area to their portfolios–trade in carbon offsets and credits. It’s a worst-case scenario for the planet. Most negotiators seem to agree on abandoning or postponing the essential goal of mandatory emissions controls, while promoting markets for the global trade of permits to pollute.
ClearSky Climate Solutions, 9 December 2010 | The heavy interest in REDD+ projects is palpable here in Cancun. What is not so evident is that the compliance markets are going to be ready to move the REDD+ agenda forward. Even if an agreement comes out of this COP, it will effectively be authorizing the technical working groups to begin work on the REDD+ protocols and methodologies for national level REDD. I repeat, to BEGIN work. That leaves the non-UN markets to lead the way and pioneer the path forward for REDD+.
Kevin Rudd MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Greg Combet MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency joint press release, 9 December 2010 | Australia is a strong supporter of Indonesia’s efforts to address climate change and today announced an allocation of $45 million to Indonesia as part of Australia’s $599 million fast start climate change financing. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said that Australia welcomed Indonesia’s strong leadership on climate change and the opportunity to build on Australia’s long-standing cooperation with Indonesia on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and climate change adaptation. “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation — which accounts for 18 per cent of global emissions and more than 60% of Indonesia’s total emissions in 2005 — is critical to achieving a global outcome on climate change,” Mr Rudd said.
Thainy.com, 9 December 2010 | Activists from Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF under the umbrella of A-FAB coalition (ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious, and Binding Global Deal) called on ASEAN delegates at Cancun Climate Conference to stand firmly as a bloc and push forward the interests of the 10-nation group in order to secure the future of the region… “In negotiations on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), for example, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and other forest countries of ASEAN who will gain from a good REDD deal must speak up. Thesub-national accounting of reduced deforestation in the new text for discussion this week must define sub-national carefully to prevent deforestation from one part of the country to the other, while developed countries can use the reduced deforestation to increase their fossil fuel emissions.” Zelda [Soriano, political advisor of Greenpeace Southeast Asia] added.
Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 9 December 2010 | Fiji is aiming to be REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation)-ready by 2012 with the recent drafting of the national REDD-plus strategy and action plan. A planning workshop held from 25 to 26 November 2010 allowed various stakeholders and agencies to draft the REDD-plus strategy that will act as a guide for the next two years’ planned activities.
By Nick Aster, Triple Pundit, 9 December 2010 | The UNFCCC is desperately trying to get at least one agreement at this conference, so they can keep hope alive and say progress is being made.REDD, bringing credits for avoiding deforestation into the international carbon market, is the one they’re focusing on. From my perspective, REDD revenue is a critical component of financing forest maintenance; it delivers a revenue stream that, with other forest revenues, could underpin forest bonds for sustainable development. Saudi Arabia had been a barrier, but they’ve now agreed to let it to go forward. It’s now down to Bolivia’s blocking; their position is essentially ideological – they don’t believe in market mechanisms. Their line is to focus on direct transfers from rich countries to poor (climate justice).
By Mark Stevenson, Forbes, 9 December 2010 | Pedro Chuc May climbs a big zapote tree, braces himself against the trunk with a rope sling and uses his sharp machete to slash v-shaped cuts in the rough bark to let the tree’s resin – the base for natural chewing gum – flow into a cut-off soda bottle below. Chuc May’s ancient Mayan chicle-tapping technique doesn’t harm the trees, if done right, but it earns him only about $450 per year. A U.N. program under debate at the climate change conference in Cancun, a few hours north of his patch of trees, could help May and millions of others who live in the world’s forests earn more while slowing the deforestation that accounts for one-fifth of the carbon dioxide emissions blamed for warming the planet. For Chuc, it might mean a new distributor and a fairer price. He could be paid to plant trees, care for the forest, fight fires or be hired as a forest ranger – just about anything that helps keep forests standing…
By Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, 9 December 2010 | India has agreed to allow a market mechanism in a forestry scheme, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), though critics claim this may weaken the traditional forest rights of tribals. However, environment minister Jairam Ramesh insisted REDD schemes would have no impact on India as most of the money will go to Brazil and Indonesia. “We will receive a negligible amount,” he said, while noting India did not oppose the market mechanism. This means companies can pay to plant forests to compensate for carbon emissions they emit elsewhere, with the money being paid to the government where the foresting is taking place.
By Keya Acharya, IPS, 9 December 2010 | An entire body of leaders, spearheaded by U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, is now looking at REDD+ as a panacea to global warming with multiple benefits thrown in… In May 2010, Norway signed a $1 billion deal with Indonesia, which Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of Indonesia’s government REDD+ Unit, said was a partnership that is the best way to approach the climate change problem and which he hoped would become a worldwide model. Kuntoro, however, added that the process of REDD+ needed careful consideration in its implementation. “From an economy that was based on cutting trees, we are now introducing a new way of managing things without cutting. It needs a whole new paradigm of government change,” said Kuntoro.
By Ada Aroneanu, tcktcktck.org, 9 December 2010 | Yesterday, I sat in on a policy briefing of the U.S. government’s plans on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). The four speakers included Joe Aldy, Special Assistant to the President on the Environment, Maura O’Neill of USAID, Billy Pizer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy at the Department of Treasury, and Patrick Smith of USAID. The speakers presented a united front about the US’s REDD+ plan, focusing on how the U.S. has carved out funding for international projects but expects the private sector to contribute in a major way. In perhaps the most spectacular bird-dogging action I have ever seen, a cohesive environmental justice front spread out across the room and asked over ten different questions about the plan. Representatives from EJCC, Energy Action, IEN, Mozambique, and Lewis and Clark Law School hammered home some key concepts.
Solomon Times, 9 December 2010 | At the 2009 Pacific Regional Heads of Forestry Services (HOFS) meeting in Nadi, Fiji Islands, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) member countries and territories called for the development of regional and national policies and institutional frameworks for the implementation of REDD and capacity development in this sector. In response to the HOFS recommendations, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), in partnership with SPC, secured funding support from the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety for a regional project titled ‘Climate protection through forest conservation in the Pacific Island countries’. The project will have funding of EUR 4.9 million over a four-year period from November 2010 to the end of 2014…
ClearSky Climate Solutions, 9 December 2010 | When I ask delegates “what looks good?”, they unanimously answer REDD+ seems to be looking good! That is Great News! But it is also a result of the significant work done to get agreement on REDD+ prior to everyone arriving in Cancun. That said, Bolivia and a few other countries are very opposed to a market mechanism for REDD+, and may have some influence on the final nature of the agreement and the language of the agreement. I attended a high profile session last night where the message of REDD+ as a mainstream idea was evident. The event, put on by the Avoided Deforestation Partners, included Presidents and Prime Ministers of some countries, as well as Presidents and CEOs of the World Bank, big conservation organizations and Wal- Mart.
By Laura Carlsen, Counter Punch, 9 December 2010 | Here in Cancun they are expected to announce progress in increasing the market-based incentives like the UN Reduction of Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) proposal and the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. Both allow developed-country polluters to use peasant and indigenous lands and projects in developing countries to offset continued pollution. In the bargain, not only do polluters avoid having to reduce emissions, but the land-management contracts involved for verifying offsets typically strip traditional communities of their rights over the carbon-absorbing lands they have preserved for millenia.
By Ben Grossman-Cohen, Huffington Post, 9 December 2010 | In the daily U.S. press conference yesterday afternoon Todd Stern, lead negotiator for the American delegation, opined on the need for countries working towards a global climate deal to avoid letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Stern said that pursuit of a legally binding deal should not prevent progress on important issues like a global climate fund, REDD and the development of clean technology. “Let’s not do nothing,” he said. “Let’s not be hung up for year after year after year.” Yes! Exactly! Stern’s plea is a shrewd reminder that negotiations require us to seize success where it’s available. So it is all the more hair pulling that U.S. negotiators seem to be taking exactly the opposite approach in Cancun.
AFP, 9 December 2010 | Australia on Thursday doubled its funding for Indonesia’s efforts to slash its greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, and praised the country’s “strong leadership” on climate change. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced an additional 45 million dollars (44 million US dollars) in funding for cooperation on reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD) and climate change adaptation. “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – which accounts for 18 percent of global emissions and more than 60 percent of Indonesia’s total emissions in 2005 – is critical to achieving a global outcome on climate change,” Rudd said during a visit to Bali. The funds include 30 million dollars to extend support for a REDD pilot project in Kalimantan and to develop a national carbon accounting system to verify emissions cuts from reduced deforestation, according to a press release.
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 9 December 2010 | The former head of the UN climate change secretariat, Yvo de Boer, has expressed confidence the on-going negotiations in Cancun will deliver tangible and significant progress by the time the summit closes on Friday evening. Speaking from the summit, De Boer, who is attending in his role as special advisor to consultancy giant KPMG, told BusinessGreen the talks were being conducted in a far more constructive atmosphere than last year’s summit in Copenhagen, his last as executive director of the UNFCC… De Boer acknowledged that negotiations on the “legal status” of any deal would have to continue next year, but he expressed confidence a number of “operational issues” could be resolved, noting good progress was being made on issues such as the REDD forestry protection scheme, the formation of a new international green fund, verification of emission reductions, and technology transfer mechanisms.
By Gerard Wynn, Reuters, 9 December 2010 | U.N. decisions have to be agreed by consensus, and Zoellick said countries should not be fazed by agreeing more limited deals among a majority of countries, for example to save forests, or reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation – REDD – in U.N. jargon. “If you get 150 countries which make progress on REDD, you know, if Bolivia objects then so be it, let’s move ahead with 150,” Zoellick said. The United Nations should remain the main forum, he added, to avoid a “political firestorm.” But countries may choose to break out specialized issues, for example among small island states or big emitters.
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 9 December 2010 | The event on the edges of the Cancún climate change summit was meant to inspire: a gathering of the powerful and the worthy to celebrate a pioneering Norwegian strategy of fighting poverty and global warming by preserving the world’s tropical forests… “It’s a nightmare. It is a test of the sincerity of the developed world, and the delivery on development assistance has been abysmal,” said Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana’s president. There was no sign of the $30m scheduled for payment in 2010 even though Guyana had met conditions demanded by Norway, Jagdeo said. “We have not seen a single cent expended as yet on the projects that are so vital to transformation.” There was a burst of applause. Stoltenberg, who had been staring hard at Jagdeo during his speech, did not join in… “This one’s wrapped up and ready to move,” said Zoellick. “Let’s close the deal.”
By Neil Marks, Kaieteur News, 9 December 2010 | “We all accept that we cannot secure a global, legally binding climate agreement here,” said Jagdeo. “But we can secure decisions to make progress in a number of areas that advance our work towards such an agreement.” He suggested that progress can be made on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD); the mechanics of a green fund to help invest in mitigation and adaptation in the most vulnerable countries; technology transfer; and on financing. But on financing, Jagdeo argued whether rich countries were really committed to providing immediate financing to the poor countries.
By Peter Persaud, letter to the editor Guyana Chronicle, 9 December 2010 | But who does Peter Persaud represent? The eight Toshaos asked in their letter. I represent the rights and interest of Guyana’s indigenous peoples on a voluntary basis since 1993. I am not paid for my services whether internally or externally and I do so both vigorously and vociferously that is why I am recognized and invited to meetings both at National and International levels. In this regard, I have no one to blame but my Arawakans or Lokono blood which is present in the marrow of my bones.
Guyana Chronicle, 9 December 2010 | “We can make progress on addressing deforestation and forest degradation, we can make progress on the mechanics of a green fund to help invest in mitigation and in adaptation to help the most vulnerable, we can make progress on technology transfer and we can make progress on financing. But ultimately, the question at Cancun is more profound than might be implied by simply listing these areas for action. Ultimately, the question at Cancun is a question of ‘Sincerity’,” President Jagdeo declared.
By Bryan Walsh, Time, 9 December 2010 | Someone speaking the truth – it’s an unusual occurrence at any government event (unless you have a link to Wikileaks) and it’s even rarer at the highly stage-managed U.N. climate talks. But that’s exactly what happened last night in Cancún at an event put on by Avoided Deforestation Partners, an NGO dedicated to promoting REDD, or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation… Bharrat Jagdeo, the president of the heavily-forested South American country of Guyana, was sharing a panel with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and a number of other heavy-hitters in the sector, including the billionaire philanthropist George Soros… Jagdeo said on stage that he wasn’t getting the money. “We have not seen a single cent on projects for transforming the country,” he said, to the visible discomfort of the Norwegian Prime Minister, seated to his left. “It hasn’t been forthcoming.”
By Jeff Conant, Global Exchange, 9 December 2010 | Miguel Lovera of the Paraguayan delegation offered a cogent summary of what many here see as a fundamental failure in approach at COP 16: “There is a lot of talk here in Cancun about money, about chainsaws, and about plantations, but there is little talk about forests, or about the real work of the people who confront climate change everyday.” In a similar vein, there is a lot of talk about markets, as signified by the Copenhagen Accord, but very little talk about rights, signified by the Cochabamba Agreement. Indeed, the conference began with the wholesale removal of the Cochabamba Agreement’s rights-based framework from the negotiating text. The word on the street is, “This is not a climate conference, it’s a trade conference.”
By Laura Paskus, Womens eNews, 9 December 2010 | At the opening ceremony of the United Nations climate change talks going on here, Simona Gomez Lopez, a citizen of the Mexican indigenous community, took the stage just ahead of Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. She talked of how she and other female potters who gather wood for their stoves have found new ways to protect the forest and also reduce their daily workload. With help from the Mexican government, they began to use more fuel-efficient stoves and kilns. Now they spend less time gathering wood from the forest and they burn less wood.
Tanzania Daily News, 9 December 2010 | A decision by the Norwegian government to negotiate post Kyoto Protocol with other countries bilaterally is aimed at sending a strong message to international community that Oslo is committed to address causes of green house gas emissions blamed for causing global warming. An agricultural economist from Centre for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, Dr Maria Brockhaus said in Dar es Salaam recently that Norway is showing the way to avoid delays in hatching a post Kyoto Protocol deal through United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Norway has invested heavily in finding measures to mitigate climate change through REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) hence they don’t want to see the process failing,” Dr. Brockhaus said.
By Jeff Tollefson, blogs.nature.com, 9 December 2010 | The avoided deforestation text falls under the section on … REDD. It occupies 2.5 pages (p. 14-17) and looks remarkably clean. There are a few brackets signifying disagreement here and there and exactly two places where environment ministers can play multiple-choice. The key is in paragraphs 67 and 68. Paragraph 67 basically says that developing countries either “should” or “may voluntarily” (question unresolved) contribute to global climate mitigation efforts by reducing forestry emissions or increasing forest carbon stocks; paragraph 68 describes what they need to do to set up a program so that they can get paid for doing so. First and third on the list of things they need to do are developing a national plan and establishing a “robust and transparent national forest monitoring program,” but it’s the second item [baseline] on the list that has John O. Niles [Tropical Forest Group] excited…
By Fidelis Satriastanti, climatemediapartnership, 9 December 2010 | For the last decade, Elias and 250 members of Ejuido Felipe Carrilo Puerto [Felipe Carrilo Puerto community] inherited the job to guard their last intact 47,000 hectares of Mayan jungle in Yucatan Peninsula based on a communal system. The community has mapped out their area into zones: protected areas, ‘milpa’ or agriculture, beekeeping, non-timber forest product areas, and eco-tourism. “It took them two years to map out all their areas and then start the system to work. So, this is their own strategy, their own effort,” said Sebastian Proust, an activist from local NGO, U’yooche. “All decisions must be planned out and approved by the members of the community. If there are any violations, there can be severe penalties.” … “People can recognize Amazon forests or Indonesian forests or American forests, but, nobody knows about Mayan jungle. It does not exists. If it does not exist then it can disappear,” he said.
Kate Hamilton, Steve Zwick, David Diaz, and Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 9 December 2010 | In an effort to keep you informed of these developments, we’ll be posting daily updates on the Eko-Eco blog… Potential agreements on REDD+ are a beam of hope in an otherwise dreary forecast. Components relevant to REDD+ wind throughout several negotiation streams as well as Interim REDD+ Partnership discussions. How REDD+ could fit into country emission reduction commitments, equitable distribution of funds, the use of market mechanisms and the development of appropriate funds are in motion under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG LCA). AWG-LCA Chair Margaret Mukahanana- Sangarwe identified REDD+, along with adaptation agriculture and technology as issues as areas where consensus could be reached at COP 16.
10 December 2010
By Alexandra Endres, Die Zeit, 19 December 2010 | Almost a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation. In Cancún, better protection of forests is to be decided. That could go wrong. [R-M: article in German.]
By Adianto Parulian Simamora, climatemediapartnership.org, 10 December 2010 | The Maya community has tenure rights over the forests where they reside, granted under the Mexican forestry law. With the help of local environment activists, the area has been designated to host a pilot project of a program called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). Through territorial planning, the Maya community divided the forest into conservation areas, agriculture land, restoration areas and permanent forest. They agreed to set aside 17,525 acres of forest for the planned REDD project. Maya community leader Erasmo Colli Cach admitted that it was not an easy job to engage community members to manage the forest. “It takes years to raise awareness of the role of the community in forest protection. But support from the community to manage forests is now in place,” he said.
By Daniel Murdiyarso (CIFOR), Jakarta Post, 10 December 2010 | The text of the AWG-LCA reflects the four building blocks of the Bali Action Plan adopted at the Bali COP13 in 2007: Mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer and capacity building and financial mechanisms. The plan calls for developing nations including Indonesia to mitigate climate change under a new mantle, the so-called Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions. The Bali Action Plan is well and good — except that it fails to specify emission reduction targets. And the legal details in the AWG-LCA text have yet to be finalized.
Survival International, 10 December 2010 | Survival has today released two short films highlighting the plight of the Guarani Indians in Brazil, to mark UN Human Rights Day (December 10th). The film ‘One must have courage’ reveals the Guarani’s determination that their lands, which have been stolen from them to make way for ranches, soya and sugarcane plantations, must be returned to them. In the film ‘The Gunmen’, Guarani express their anger and apprehension as the ranchers who have taken over their lands employ gunmen to shoot at them.
Guyana Chronicle, 10 December 2010 | President said, “Having a generous donor and a progressive forest country is not enough. When payments are being made from the developed to the developing world, we need institutions that are able to move beyond the old-fashioned ODA thinking, which does not have a good track record of delivering timely solutions”. He spoke of the difficulties experienced by Guyana and Norway in establishing the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) and said that if Guyana and Norway could not make it work, nobody could. President Jagdeo said that global institutions needed to evolve quickly, if they are to play a critical role in helping countries to take action on climate change. Failure of these global institutions to act in a timely manner can undermine the political momentum and support for addressing climate change.
By Neil Marks, Kaieteur News, 10 December 2010 | Guyana has not received a cent yet from the country’s forest-saving deal with Norway and President Bharrat Bharrat Jagdeo used a gathering in Cancun organized by an international forest network to fume over the delay. “We don’t have a problem with all the safeguards, particularly ensuring the money is not spent in a corrupt way,” he told a gathering at the Marriott Hotel. “You can do hundreds of audits, but just let us move forward.” … “Although we have fulfilled the condition to receive payment from Norway a year ago….we have not seen a single cent expended as yet on the projects that are so vital to transformation,” he said at the event organized by Avoided Deforestation Partners… “We have delivered the results, but I can’t get the money,” Jagdeo said. “We’ve delivered the results, and then someone is telling us how we have to spend our money too.”
By Neil Marks, Kaieteur News, 10 December 2010 | Brazil is being accused of blocking progress. “From day one, Brazil has opposed any legal obligations that would establish an international system to monitor, report and verify implementation of the REDD+ safeguards,” said Rosalind Reeve from the organisation Global Witness. “This is essential to ensure protection of rights and forests.” Global Witness said it was disappointed that Brazil has failed to show more flexibility and leadership on this issue “which now seems to be a sticking point in reaching agreement on REDD.” “Several countries have made proposals that would strengthen the protection of rights and natural forests, but these are not reflected in the new draft REDD agreement,” said Nils Hermann Ranum of Rainforest Foundation Norway. “We are disappointed that the Chair has failed to include them since they are critical to achieving long term reduction in deforestation.”
By Andrew Light, Grist, 10 December 2010 | Last year in Copenhagen parties came extremely close to finalizing a deal on REDD and this year they appear even closer. According to Doug Boucher of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who has been following this track closely through the night, “We were on the five-yard line, and now it’s something like the four-. But no touchdown yet.” … But if the fight here over REDD is really between the capitalist and anti-capitalist forces, the former side couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador than World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Throughout the meeting he’s been pushing hard on a REDD agreement, primarily as a vehicle to fund impoverished programs to preserve biodiversity. Closing out the Wednesday summit with Stoltenberg and Jagdeo, Zoellick put it bluntly: “We don’t want silent forests.”
By Chris White, Reuters, 10 December 2010 | Finland is aiming to set up an scheme to produce renewable biomass energy from Indonesian forests next year, following in the footsteps of a lauded Norwegian agreement to tackle Indonesia’s high deforestation. Finland’s scheme, with initial investment of four million euros, is small compared to the $1 billion pledged by Norway, but is a sign more countries may look to do bilateral deals if U.N. talks in Cancun fail to produce a global climate pact… “The focus will be on the utilization of forest biomass and the residues of the wood processing industry as renewable energy sources,” Päivi Alatalo, the deputy head of the Finnish embassy in Indonesia, told Reuters. The projects are to be established in the regions of central Kalimantan on Borneo island and Riau province on Sumatra island, areas that have seen intense deforestation in recent years by timber and palm oil firms, both legally and illegally.
Shub Niggurath Climate, 10 December 2010 | In October last year, the Indonesian government warned regents and mayors who have jurisdiction over local REDD programs in that country. It asked them to ‘carefully review all carbon brokerage firms offering incentives such as huge financial benefits from the forestry sector for engaging in carbon trading’, according to this report in the the Jakarta Post. Who was the person who issued the warning? Wandojo Siswanto, ‘Advisor’ to tne Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia and Indonesia’s lead negotiator at the Copenhagen UN conference.
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Blog, 10 December 2010 | Since the summer, I have been working closely with a small Ecuadorian NGO named CEPLAES. With funding from the Norwegian Rainforest network, this organization has been actively participating in a campaign called the “rainforest and rights’ initiative, which seeks to promote the participation of civil society in the UNFCCC process and tries to impulse for the necessary safeguards and rights of vulnerable communities, especially as how these pertain to their forests. Besides being an active presence at international climate change deliberations, CEPLAES is also part of the ACCRA Caucus and carries out a campaign within Ecuador to ensure that communities are well aware of what is being proposed internationally and nationally, what their rights as communities are, and to include in the discussion some of the most marginalized sectors of society, such as indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian communities, as well as women.
By Glenn Hurowitz, Grist, 10 December 2010 | So do the forest-protection programs (known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD+) actually make nature into something to be bought and sold? What Morales and his allies don’t say is that there is already a global market for forests – dead ones. Timber, palm oil, soybeans, cattle, oil and gas, and other products of deforestation can all be sold for a profit on the global market. Bolivia, for instance, made more than $5 billion last year from exporting natural gas, timber, and soybeans, much of those through deforestation. Unfortunately, without an agreement in Cancun, there is no financial value given to living forests. As a result, for a rancher, a palm-oil plantation owner, a soybean farmer, or a logging company, the economic choice is clear: There’s way more immediate value in cutting down the forests than saving them.
By Matthew Knight, CNN, 10 December 2010 | As talks at the UN climate summit enter their final hours, hopes of progress on key issues including the REDD+ program appear to be fading… Despite an upbeat prognosis from the executive director of the UNEP Achim Steiner, agreement on the finer detail of the proposals – namely rules concerning safeguards, finance and the program’s scope – have thus far proved much more elusive. He says REDD+ has been the one area where the “greatest consensus” has been achieved. “What we are seeing is that a number of safeguards are being built into the draft agreement, not only in the transparency of the funds being used, but also with social and environmental safeguards,” Steiner told CNN… [Simon] Counsell [Rainforest Foundation UK] says some of the tropical forest countries are arguing for money without any strings attached. “… I think we are paying a really high price for our own failure to commit to reductions in domestic carbon emissions.”
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 10 December 2010 | When the Indonesian delegation left for the climate change talks here two weeks ago, it had realistic objectives. Though a binding agreement on emissions reduction targets was unlikely, the delegation pledged it wouldn’t come home empty-handed, saying it would look to secure bilateral agreements that would help save the country’s environment. So over the past two weeks, Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta held meetings with major countries including Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Sweden.
Birdlife International, 10 December 2010 | “Integrating forests into climate mitigation and adaptation needs accelerating,” said Melanie Heath, BirdLife’s Senior Advisor on Climate Change. “Valuing a forest only for its carbon is like valuing a computer chip only for its silicon. The benefits for biodiversity and local livelihoods must not be viewed as add-ons, but as central to a successful REDD scheme.” … Safeguards are key to an effective REDD mechanism. “REDD only makes sense if it conserves natural forests and biodiversity, because it is the plants and animals in natural forests that help create their carbon density”, Melanie Heath explained. “It must also respect and protect the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.”
Frog Blog (Rainforest Alliance UK), 10 December 2010 | The Rainforest Alliance has seen the draft text, we’ve talked to insiders, and all signs indicate resolvable issues and means to agreement on the few points under heady discussion on REDD+. Since we last posted about the negotiations, on December 6, an updated text was issued and new text is coming. With the meetings scheduled to end on December 10, ministers are now meeting and advising their country’s highest-level decision-makers about how they should commit on the critical points related to financial support, measurement and reporting, and safeguarding the safeguards (which are fundamental to civil society regarding respect for indigenous peoples’ rights and to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services, although any safeguard text will be stated principles, not operational protocols).
By Rebecca Chacko, Conservation International Blog, 10 December 2010 | Political will on behalf of the Parties has enabled them to come up with a text that can achieve compromise while still creating a framework that can contribute to global emissions reductions. A REDD+ decision is within reach, and with good decision-making in the final hours, we can establish a REDD+ mechanism that reduces emissions, protects human rights and biodiversity, and provides the sustainable, predictable and adequate financing to do so. An actual agreement on climate change? Is it possible? REDD+ has long been branded a win-win opportunity. What has been forgotten, however, is that a climate agreement is also win-win. Because when we avoid further dangerous climate change effects and adapt to impacts that are already inevitable, everybody wins. So, what should negotiators learn from REDD+? In order to win, you have to play, and that means you have to put something on the table.
By Chris Arsenault, Al Jazeera English, 10 December 2010 | As climate change negotiations come to a close in Cancun, Birginia Suarez-Pinlac is seeing red. The environmental lawyer from the Philippines is worried that a plan for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) constitutes a land grab, transferring natural wealth from the poor to the rich under the auspices of saving the planet. Last year, she says, an Australian coal company tried to forge an agreement with an indigenous tribe on Mindanao Island in the Philippines, a poverty stricken area known for its high mountains and lush green rainforest. “The company offered poor tribes people money in exchange for their atmospheric space. They don’t want to cut their own emissions domestically. They want to find a way to profit from the carbon they produce.”
By Ramona Tancau, The Foreigner, 10 December 2010 | Not everybody greeted Mr Stoltenberg’s speech with enthusiasm. “He mentioned neither the Kyoto agreement, nor that emission cuts must be increased, and said that the Copenhagen agreement is better than its reputation at the press conference afterwards. It’s too defensive,”Lars Haltbrekken of the Friends of the Earth Norway (Naturvenforbundet) told Dagbladet. Mr. Haltbrekken went on to criticize the Prime Minister’s mild approach towards a climate change agreement. “He reduces pressure on rich countries when he doesn’t front this. Norway was a lot clearer on these things earlier this week.” However, Mr. Stoltenberg considers his efforts towards a climate change agreement genuine, and believes his presence at COP 16 is justified.
By Jen Phillips, Mother Jones, 10 December 2010 | Population Action International’s Roger-Mark de Souza told me that whenever he attended sessions on REDD, deforestation, or financing, someone would say, “‘What about overpopulation? How does this factor in?'” PAI’s panel there on female empowerment and family planning attracted 100 attendees, where consensus was that there continues to be a “strong unmet need for family planning.”
By Fidelis Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 10 December 2010 | Australia has pledged an additional $45 million to support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation, as well as to adapt to the effects of climate change. The pledge was formally announced by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday in Bali, where they were attending the Bali Democracy Forum that closed on Friday. Two-thirds of the fund, which is part of Australia’s $599 million fast-start climate change financing scheme, will be allocated to REDD Plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) activities.
Correspondent’s diary, The Economist, 10 December 2010 | Getting a REDD deal in Cancun should help the fight against deforestation in many places, as long as the deal is sensibly and sensitively fleshed out over the coming months and years. Some areas are as yet vague, and others, including perhaps the details of how things should be financed, may be vagued up yet further in order to get through the conference’s final plenary session. This is probably to the good; easier to get the details right, including important ones on the vexed question of how to stop demand for wood from simply being displaced from protected places to unprotected ones, away from the pressure of deadlined negotiations.
Climate Connections, 10 December 2010 | REDD – the scheme of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation that is being pushed through here, despite widespread concern about the human rights and ecological catastrophe it may bring, is a prime example of the kind of market-driven, top down policies of the UNFCCC that will allow business as usual to continue beyond all natural limits. These unjust policies will severely impact forest-dependent and indigenous peoples, campesinos, and marginalized peoples across the world. From before the opening of the UN climate talks in Cancun on 29 November 2, through to the final moments, the atmosphere at here has been one of marked by exclusion, marginalization, and silencing of voices. When the UNFCCC’s negotiating text was released on 24 November, all language from the Cochabamba People’s Agreement – a document developed by 35,000 people- had been removed. In its place, was a warmed version of the unjust Copenhagen Accord.
Living on Earth, 10 December 2010 | MANGKUSUBROTO: We are introducing a new paradigm of development, so although we want this to happen very fast in Indonesia, we have to be very careful… SOROS: It has to be preservation, but it has to be a model of economic development, so I’m ready to invest in it and I think private enterprise has to play a major role… STOLTENBERG: We are a major oil exporter but we tax petroleum extremely high, and it’s hard to win elections based on a message of high taxation, so therefore I am very much dependent on success to show Norwegian voters that they are getting something back… JAGDEO: We have decided we have taken the tough political decision to pledge our entire forest, with the hope that we’ll get money or assistance to develop alternatives, and frankly speaking we have not seen a single cent.
African Development Bank press release, 10 December 2010 | The Governing Council of CBFF endorsed at it’s 9th Governing Council meeting a total of 25 new projects, including 13 government projects and 12 projects from the civil society, amounting to Euros 63,136,586. Several of the government projects aim at building readiness for REDD in the Congo Basin. The CBFF meeting also considered the future operational strategy of CBFF and discussed the preparation of CBFF support to a regional program for REDD+ Monitoring, Reporting and Verification.
11 December 2010
By Stacy Feldman, SolveClimate News, 11 December 2010 | Difficult talks in Cancun ended on Saturday morning with a highly praised “balanced” framework for a future climate pact, exceeding the low expectations established for the outcome and paving the way for a legal deal next year. “Cancún has done its job,” said UN climate chief Christiana Figueres. “The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored.” The 41-page deal, known as the “Cancun Agreements,” achieves success in some important areas — establishing, among other things, a “Green Climate Fund” to help mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 for poor nations, preserving rainforests and adopting monitoring and verification measures of emerging economies’ carbon curbs.
Kaieteur News, 11 December 2010 | The money that head of State Bharrat Jagdeo is fuming over and which is yet to be released cannot be deposited until the steering committee approves projects proposed for funding. This was pointed out by World Bank Director for the Caribbean Yvonne Tsikata who stressed that US$30M deposited by Norway into a fund under the bank’s supervision cannot be released until the green light is given by a steering committee comprising representatives from Oslo and Georgetown. This was also reiterated by Country Representative in Guyana, Giorgio Valentini, who said that to date there has been no projects submitted to the steering committee for consideration. As such the World Bank are merely spectators right now.
Kaieteur News, 11 December 2010 | Bharrat go to Cancun, Mexico and mek another one. Dem boys seh that he behave like de man who go to de bank fuh a loan to build he house and when de bank ask he fuh a plan he tell de manager that he still got to get one but that de bank still got to give he de money. Well Bharrat asking fuh de Norway money and de people telling he that he got to have a plan. He get vex fuh de people money and he ain’t got a plan. Dem boys seh that dem suspect something funny. Talk half. Lef half.
By Freddie Kissoon, Kaieteur News, 11 December 2010 | The answer is yes. First all, Suzanne Goldenberg of the Guardian of London (the very newspaper that is to release 390 Wikileaks tapes on Guyana that may very well bring down Mr. Jagdeo) interviewed Mr. Jagdeo at Cancún (see section on the environment, Guardian online issue, Dec 9). If Mr. Jagdeo did not insinuate to her that the non-release of funds from Norway is undermining his presidency, then she would not have written the following words in her Thursday article; “For Jagdeo, though, the programme was turning into a political disaster that could cost him the presidency.” Is Ms. Goldenberg such an incompetent journalist that she randomly wrote that impression and there was nothing in the interview with Mr. Jagdeo that would lead her to that? You have your opinion, I have mine. I believe there were words to that effect from Mr. Jagdeo.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 11 December 2010 | The bulk of the REDD framework is described on page 11 of the Draft Decision of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action, but decisions and views relevant to REDD are dispersed throughout the text… The text doesn’t really address whether market-based mechanisms can be used to finance REDD – largely because Bolivia has been a vocal opponent of such mechanisms. In fact, the country’s negotiating team began the talks calling for market mechanisms to be explicitly excluded from REDD. “Negotiators basically punted on the decision to decide on the use of markets until next year in South Africa,” explained Duncan Marsh, Director of International Climate Policy, at The Nature Conservancy, referring to next year’s COP 17.
By John O. Niles, Tropical Forest Group, 11 December 2010 | [S]till reviewing the final negotiating text … but it is clear: 1) The UNFCCC process is alive and well; 2) REDD+, including interim sub-national REDD+, is one of the most important UN decisions adopted by consensus since 1992’s Rio Agreements; … 3) This agreement, combined with a REDD+ Mechanism in the Copenhagen Accord and California’s recent decision to move forward with sectoral REDD crediting, and all the elements are in place for profound positive developments in the conservation of tropical forests. 4) The participation and role of forest communities, local people, indigenous peoples, and ordinary citizens in the subsequent decision-making will ultimately determine whether REDD+ will succeed. 5) You should get up and dance, this is epic. TFG has been working on sub-national REDD+ and the importance of setting forest reference levels for years, because of their importance.
By Medea Benjamin, AlterNet, 11 December 2010 | The agreement embraces a policy on “deforestation mitigation” known as REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. This gives polluters in the north a chance to buy carbon credits for protecting forests in the global south. Bolivia, and most organizations on the ground and in the streets of Cancun for the past two weeks, object to REDD on the grounds that it commodifies the forests of the global South, endangers indigenous control over the forests and their right to livelihood, and allows northern polluters to keep polluting. Bolivian negotiator Pablo Solon said handing out carbon credits for protecting forests makes it easier for industrialized nations to achieve their emissions reductions targets without taking domestic action to rein in greenhouse gases. “We want to save the forest, but not save developed countries from the responsibility to cut their emissions,” Solon said.
CIEL press release, 11 December 2010 | Countries included a milestone agreement on the role of tropical forests in addressing climate change, including limited provisions on rights, indigenous peoples and safeguards to help prevent environmental and social harms. “By recognizing that rights and safeguards are a key component to an agreement, REDD was able to move forward, helping lead to the package we now have before us,” said senior attorney Kristen Hite. “While provisions could be stronger, we have clear affirmation for what we’ve been saying all along: you can’t reduce deforestation without including indigenous peoples, rights, and biodiversity.”
By Bryan Walsh, Time, 11 December 2010 | One of the first beneficiaries of this new diversified approach will be tropical forests… For a few years now there has been a growing movement to make trees part of global climate action through Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), which rewards tropical countries for the carbon value of their standing forests. It’s a popular scheme, but deeper divisions in climate politics have always held it back. But the Cancun Agreements are the first official recognition of REDD in a U.N. climate deal, and will help unify the piecemeal pilot projects that have already been launched around the world. “This is a watershed for the world’s forests,” says Andrew Deutz, director of international government relations for the Nature Conservancy.
By Allan Lissner, praxis pictures, 11 December 2010 | Rough Cut. Sights and sounds from the streets of Cancun, Mexico, highlighting indigenous resistance to false solutions to climate change being pushed by wealthy nations and business interests. More to come…
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 11 December 2010 | REDD strengthens U.S. national security by reducing international instability, helps alleviate global poverty, and conserves priceless biodiversity. This agreement shows that developing countries are taking action on climate change, and that the U.S. stands ready to help them. But we also need stronger action to succeed. As the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests argues, to have a chance at holding temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels we must cut deforestation globally by half by 2020. This will require renewed leadership next year in Durban, South Africa and beyond.
IIPFCC press release, 11 December 2010 | “We remain concerned that the carbon market, including the Clean Development Mechanism, carbon offsets, and REDD+, represents a threat to Indigenous Peoples of the world and our rights. We reject the carbon market, which proposes to commercialize nature to the detriment of the world’s Indigenous Peoples and biodiversity. We demand a strong system of monitoring and compliance of states on safeguards related to REDD to ensure the protection of our rights,” noted Ben Powless, of Canada.
Antara News, 11 December 2010 | Indonesia and Mexico have agreed to cooperate in the handling of climate change issues such on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and climate change adaptation. A Memorandum of Understanding on the cooperation was signed by Indonesian Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta and Mexican Environment Minister Juan Rabael Quasada on the sidelines of the Sixteenth Climate Change Summit here on Friday.
WWF press release, 11 December 2010 | Governments agreed on a set of decisions that will support further talks over the next year with the objective of a final outcome at COP17 in Durban, South Africa. In response, Gordon Shepherd, head of WWF’s Global Climate Initiative, issued the following statement: … “The decision addressing emissions from deforestation, also know as REDD+, did not include everything we hoped for, but provides a sound foundation for moving a credible REDD process forward and an agenda for the work ahead.”
By Lou Grinzo, The Energy Collective, 11 December 2010 | Like many of you, I awoke this morning to the news that A Deal Had Been Reached In Cancun at COP16. Because of the importance of doing something of substance regarding CO2 emissions, and my experience in being fooled by reports that turn out to sound better than the underlying facts justify, I was about as cautiously optimistic as I’ve been about anything in recent years. When I started to dig into the coverage to find out just what had and had not happened, I have to admit that I had a really hard time finding the pony in that house-sized manure pile.
UN-REDD press release, 11 December 2010 | The COP16 agreement on REDD+ is expected to revitalize and increase funding flows to support REDD+ readiness and invigorate donor pledges for REDD+ that now amount to close to US$5 billion for early actions until 2012. “REDD+ means that farmers and rural people in developing countries can now be compensated for the climate services they provide for us all, helping us to avoid dangerous climate change. We will need investments in sustainable agriculture both to reduce pressure on forest land and, primarily, to secure food for everyone. FAO and the UN-REDD Programme partnership will make every effort in supporting countries to meet these critical objectives,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.
12 December 2010
By Yana Marull, AFP, 12 December 2010 | A new climate change deal reached in Mexico has set up a global framework to pay to protect rainforests vital to the ecosystem, but held off on the controversial introduction of a market role. The deal aims to help developing nations fight deforestation by offering incentives to about 1.2 billion inhabitants of worldwide forests, and governments, to preserve their trees. While many factors still remain undefined, including how it will be funded, green groups have widely lauded the accord, made as part of a modest package agreed on by more than 190 nations at an annual UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico. “This decision converts what — up until now — have been piecemeal efforts to address deforestation into a global endeavor,” Conservation International said in a statement on Saturday.
By Patrick Bond, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, 12 December 2010 | ccording to Grace Garcia from Friends of the Earth Costa Rica, “Only a gang of lunatics would think it is a good idea to invite the World Bank to receive climate funds, with their longstanding track record of financing the world’s dirtiest projects and imposition of death-sentencing conditionalities on our peoples.” Unfortunately, however, some Indigenous people’s groups and Third World NGOs do buy into REDD, and well-funded Northern allies such as the market-oriented Environmental Defense Fund have been using divide-and-conquer tactics to widen the gaps.
By Marc Gunther, marcgunther.com, 12 December 2010 | But, so far, the U.S., China and India – the world’s three largest greenhouse gas emitters – have all refused to put a cap on their carbon emissions or put a price on carbon. So far, there is no climate fund, with money and a governance structure, available to aid poor countries to either develop clean energy sources or adapt to the impact of global warming. So far, there is no money to protect forests under the evolving framework of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). In that light, should we give up on the UN process? No, although we should be clear-headed about the fact that so much effort by so many have produced so little.
Guyana Chronicle, 12 December 2010 | Guyana’s Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and President Bharrat Jagdeo’s unrelenting lobbying for building this country’s low-carbon economic development thrust gained new ground at the United Nations climate change meeting which ended in Cancun, Mexico, yesterday. The President’s stand in presenting Guyana’s case at the meeting was widely reported by mainstream international media, including Time magazine, The Economist, the Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper of London.
Kaieteur News, 12 December 2010 | The following is a statement issued by the government through the Government Information Agency (GINA) in response to a falsehood peddled by the Kaieteur News in the Friday edition of its newspaper about the reason for the delay in the disbursement of funds from Norway… On Friday, they claimed that the reason for the delay in the disbursement of funds from Norway was the absence of prepared project submissions from Guyana. This is totally false. The delay is due to the fact that it took a year to establish the Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF). It is not accurate to imply that it is a “misconception” that the World Bank has no responsibility for this delay, and it is this point that the President had raised in Cancun, in the interests of providing globally relevant lessons.
Guyana Chronicle, 12 December 2010 | After the varied interventions at the Climate Change Summit in Cancun, Mexico last week, as well as a related reaction by a World Bank official, it is to be hoped that fresh and determined efforts will be made for progress in the much-delayed release of Norway’s funding for Guyana’s imaginative forest preservation project. Trading verbal public exchanges have their value. What is, however, quite essential at this stage is that some of the envisaged US$250 million so encouragingly pledged to Guyana by the Norwegian government, and consistent with its known commendable commitment to international climate change, should begin to flow to this country.
By Emile Mervin letter to the editor Kaieteur News, 12 December 2010 | It is ironic, Mr. Editor, that after months of chest-beating and feet-stomping about the virtues of LCDS, and exactly one year after Copenhagen was supposed to deliver US$580 million a year for Guyana’s economy, the President went to Mexico complaining about not receiving a check for US$30 million from Norway. In a political minute, he went from the US$580 million champ to the US$30 million chump; a financial hero to a financial zero, and from sizzle to fizzle in nanoseconds.
By Sasenarine Singh letter to the editor Stabroek News, 12 December 2010 | I was drawn to the Washington Post blog captioned ‘At Cancun blunt talk.’ Blunt talk it was, but one can only be blunt when one is on the side of righteousness… Permit me to assure the Guyanese public that the last time I checked this money belongs to the taxpayers of Norway. The Norwegian money will only be released and transferred to Guyana upon verified results being certified by the World Bank. My colleague at the World Bank has advised me that the verification of the data is still a work in progress. The World Bank went further to tell us that the Steering Committee is still to request the funds. President Jagdeo is very economical with the truth since the Steering Committee is chaired by the Government of Guyana. So why ‘cuss’ the World Bank?
Frog Blog (Rainforest Alliance UK), 12 December 2010 | The Rainforest Alliance, represented at the conference by a team of agriculture, forestry and climate change experts, is particularly supportive of the text regarding REDD+, including the following positive points: The scope of REDD+ remains intact… A call for the development of national level forest monitoring and reporting , with sub-national monitoring and reporting being acceptable as an interim measure… A call for including social and environmental safeguards to accompany REDD+ activities (cited throughout the text) and guidance (in ANNEX 1) on setting up systems for safeguards that include… noting that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples… Consideration of both market and non-market…
ontd_political, 12 December 2010 | Democracy Now! videotaped UN security guards Friday beating a Reuters photographer who was arrested while covering a protest at the UN climate conference in Cancun. Guards seized Jorge Silva’s press credentials and then beat him while he was detained on a bus… Kari Fulton (Youth for Climate Justice): “We stand here today, and we have these signs on their necks that say “No REDD,” because we want people to know that whether you live in the forest, whether you live in the hood, you will be impacted by false solutions. And REDD, REDD-plus, REDD-minus-plus, REDD-plus-plus, whatever you want to call it, is a false solution, because you are creating a market on our forests. You are not protecting our Mother Earth. And we are standing here to say that we want to see the protection of the rights of Mother Earth and the voice of the people to be respected.”