A round up of the week’s news on REDD, in chronological order with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news page (REDD in the news) is updated regularly.
By Matt Sommerville, USAID Land Tenure and Property Rights Portal, August 2011 | Global climate change threatens to impact the livelihoods of millions of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in profound and unpredictable ways. In addition, society‘s responses to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions leading to climate change may provide opportunities for economic growth for rural populations, or dangers to local livelihoods. This paper focuses on understanding how mitigation efforts based on reducing emissions and increasing sequestration by forests (REDD+) may interact with property rights and, by extension, poverty and economic growth for smallholders.
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, August 2011 | The video explains the manifestations of climate change and the concepts of Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and REDD+(that goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) and concerns of Thai indigenous peoples on those issues as discussed by them in a series of workshops/consultations. It is produced by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF) Thailand, International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples (IKAP). Visit the link ccmin.aippnet.org/ to learn more about the AIPP activities on climate change and REDD.
onlinenes.com.pk, no date | Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has approved the leasing out of land for project for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests (REDD) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect has been signed between the Merlin’s Wood, a UK-based private investor and Environment Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This project will be implemented over an area of about 3 lac hectares forests and range lands in the Districts of Batagram, Mansehra, Tor Ghar and Swat to be lease out for a period of 40 years.
Climate Change Policy & Practice, August 2011 | Recent publications from ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (ASB) address key issues related to REDD+ implementation with respect to carbon rights, measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), safeguards, and stakeholder engagement. In the Policy Brief entitled “Hotspots of Confusion: Contested Polices and Competing Carbon Claims in the Peatlands of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia,” ASB describes how different actors use their interpretation of history, rules and norms to support their claims to engage in REDD+ activities. The brief finds that there is no clear legal approach to clarifying carbon rights and responsibilities recognizing that lack of respect for the the law leads to increased confusion and undermines authority. The brief stresses that negotiated cooperation among stakeholders will be required rather than assertion of a single authority in contested landscapes.
8 August 2011
Bloomberg, 8 August 2011 | Emissions offset developer ClimateCare said it has been taken private in a management buyout from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) as it seeks to expand investment in the United Nations carbon offset market. ClimateCare, founded in 1997 to invest in greenhouse gas emission-reduction projects, has been bought back by the management and is an independent entity as of today, Edward Hanrahan, an executive director of the company, said by telephone and e-mail from Oxford, England. He declined to disclose the price paid. JPMorgan bought the company in 2008, a year before its purchase of EcoSecurities, an offset buyer.
By Tim Worstall, Forbes, 8 August 2011 | However, look at that light green line. The RCP 2.6 one, the “whew, we dodged it” one. The highest economic growth model leads to the lowest level of emissions considered. Less economic growth leads to higher emissions. Note again that these are not my assumptions. They are those of the IPCC process. Which is something of a body blow to those telling us that we must cease economic growth if calamity is to be averted: the very assumptions built into the whole proof that climate change is something we should worry about say exactly the opposite. Economic growth is the way out, not the problem.
9 August 2011
By Todd Hirsch, Globe and Mail, 9 August 2011 | Our collective attention spans are short. Public enemies are forgotten or ignored, and we move on to our next societal nemesis. In the 1980s, it was the war on drugs and communism. In the 1990s, it was AIDS and holes in the ozone. In the 2000s, it was terrorism. Most recently, it was global warming. But now we have a new enemy: government debt… Environmentalists won’t be happy with this because nothing has really been achieved on the climate-change front, at least not in North America. A few U.S. states have some sensible policies in place, as do a couple of provinces. But Washington’s attention has turned to other priorities, and the environment isn’t one of them. It’s not to say climate change should fall off the agenda. But it will.
Point Carbon, 9 August 2011 | A Chinese plan to set absolute caps on industrial CO2 emissions is unlikely to persuade the EU to continue paying for project-based emission reductions under the U.N.’s clean development mechanism (CDM), market observers say… Analysts said the move would most likely fail to convince the EU to drop its plans to ban offset credits from new Chinese projects in its emissions trading scheme after 2012, according to analysts. “I think the EU will look at this with a bit of skepticism,” said David Lunsford of Hong Kong-based carbon consultancy Enecore. In China there are substantial differences between policies set at the national level and what is being implemented locally, something the EU is aware of, he added.
By Florence Bernard (ASB) and Slayde Hawkins (Forest Trends), slideshare.net, 9 August 2011 | Presentation by Florence Bernard and Slayde Hawkins. PES may be prohibited by Constitution or law. This presentation discusses how policy may affect the implementation of PES and REDD projects.
REDD-net, 9 August 2011 | The public debate on Environmental Justice and International Development “Does REDD+ make international forestry more just?” was held on 20th July 2011 in London, UK. This event discussed the potential for REDD+ to make forest management more just or whether it in fact poses serious threats to justice in forest management. Input from panelists and attendees with on-ground REDD+ implementation experience provided a range of insights into this topic. Discussions covered perceptions of justice at the international and local levels as well as what is needed to ensure that REDD+ promotes justice. The long-term sustainability of REDD+, including REDD+ finance and the corresponding justice issues were also highlighted.
By James Maiden, CIFOR Forests Blog, 9 August 2011 | The full and effective engagement of indigenous peoples and the incorporation of traditional forest knowledge in forest management strategies are crucial for REDD+ success in curbing climate change, say experts ahead of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. REDD+ aims to create value for forests as a means to protect them. If designed and implemented in a more inclusive manner, the experts say, REDD+ could contribute to generating revenue, securing indigenous lands and livelihoods and maintaining the culture of forest dependent communities.
Reuters, 9 August 2011 | The World Bank said on Tuesday it had stopped providing loans to Cambodia and would not resume lending until the government did something to help hundreds of families facing eviction from land around a lake in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh. “The World Bank’s last loan to Cambodia was in December 2010,” Country Director Annette Dixon said in a statement. “Until an agreement is reached with the residents of Boeung Kak Lake, we do not expect to provide any new lending to Cambodia,” she said. In the past few years, the World Bank has lent Cambodia about $50-70 million annually. It has repeatedly asked for the evictions to stop. Forced evictions are a major problem in Cambodia, with an estimated 30,000 people a year driven from farmland or urban areas to make way for real estate developments or mining and agricultural projects.
By Alexandre Billette, The Guardian, 9 August 2011 | Only a year ago Russia was overwhelmed by an exceptional heat wave, triggering hundreds of fires that destroyed thousands of hectares of woodland. Burning peat bogs around Moscow stifled the city in a thick cloud of bitter smoke. Now, Russia is burning again. Since the beginning of this year more than 1m hectares of forest have gone up in flames, or are still burning, outstripping the disastrous record of 2010. But the affected areas are more sparsely populated and far fewer people have been evacuated.
By Davinder Kumar, AlJazeera, 9 August 2011 | In the Philippines, when the rest of the population goes to sleep, a reclusive community of indigenous people prepares for another restless night of fear and uncertainty. Far away in the dense, dark forests of Occidental Mindoro, where Mangyan people are scattered in small remote settlements, tribal leaders now routinely contemplate their future in feverish debates that usually last until daybreak. “We are petrified that big mining companies will take over our ancestral land. If the government gives them license to operate, our land and heritage will be lost forever,” says Juanito Lumawig. The 62-year-old supreme leader of all seven tribes of Mangyan is a worried man. For him, it is a battle for survival for his people, who for centuries have inhabited the rough and hard-to-reach highlands of this Philippine island.
By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 9 August 2011 | The head of Brazil’s indigenous protection service is to make an emergency visit to a remote jungle outpost, amid fears that members of an isolated Amazon tribe may have been “massacred” by drug traffickers. Fears for the tribe’s wellbeing have been escalating since late July when a group of heavily armed Peruvian traffickers reportedly invaded its land, triggering a crisis in the remote border region between Brazil and Peru. On 5 August Brazilian federal police launched an operation in the region, arresting Joaquim Antônio Custódio Fadista, a Portuguese man alleged to have been operating as a cocaine trafficker.
By Rhett Butler, mongabay.com, 9 August 2011 | A recent push to revise Brazil’s forest code has emerged as one of the more contentious political issues in the country, pitting agribuisness against environmentalists trying to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Historically, the forest code has required private landowners to maintain a substantial proportion of natural forest cover on their properties, though the law has often been ignored. Now, a powerful “ruralista” bloc, consisting of large farmers and ranchers, argues that the forest code needs to be relaxed in order for Brazil to continue its breakneck growth as an agroindustrial superpower. These ruralistas contend that because the forest code has been so widely flouted – more than 90 percent of landowners in the Amazon are operating illegally – a large component of the Brazilian economy is effectively “illegal”, undermining governance and efforts to improve land management.
10 August 2011
CIFOR Forests Blog, 10 August 2011 | Climate change challenges are currently being tackled by community forestry projects around the world, and according to Dr. Yam Malla, outgoing executive director of the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), forest-for-people initiatives are fast becoming one of the most effective strategies for sustainable forest management. “Over the years, community forestry has proved itself to be one of the most appropriate and effective strategies for achieving sustainable forest management,” he said in his opening address at the two-day Second Regional Forum for People and Forests held in Bangkok this week. “Forests-for-people initiatives have made forestry a dynamic and more interesting field of study and community forestry is ready to take a second quantum leap.”
By Linda Yulisman, Jakarta Post, 10 August 2011 | Indonesia’s palm oil exports increased by 8.9 percent in the first half of this year to 8.2 million tons, up from 7.47 tons in the same period last year, the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) says.
By Ririn Radiawati Kusuma, Jakarta Globe, 10 August 2011 | BPMigas has approved $4.7 billion in investments for 10 large projects over the next three years, an official said on Tuesday, all involving gas production. The upstream oil and gas regulating agency said nine of the projects would produce gas and just one would produce a mix of oil and gas, for a total of about 1,750 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas and 20,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). “These figures show that in the future, gas production will dominate [energy] rather than oil,” Gde Pradnyana, BPMigas spokesman said on Tuesday evening.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 10 August 2011 | The Republic of the Congo has announced a new program to create plantations across one million hectares (2.47 million acres) of degraded forest lands. The program, known as the national program of afforestation and reforestation (RAN), is being pushed to support various industries, carbon sequestration and to take pressure off native forests. According to Reuters, the Republic of the Congo is seeking donor and international investment of $2.6 billion for the initiative. However, plantations are controversial in conservation-terms as they store significantly less carbon and support little biodiversity when compared to natural forest. Therefore converting natural forests – even those that have been degraded by selective logging – to plantations, can significantly reduce the conservation value of an area.
11 August 2011
By Lisa Hymas, Grist, 11 August 2011 | The climate skeptics can finally get excited about the 2012 election: Rick Perry, their candidate of choice, is about to officially throw his hat in the ring. Perry calls global warming “all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.” Unlike many of the other GOP presidential candidates, he hasn’t expressed concern about climate change in the past, so he won’t have to do any back-pedaling. Notorious climate denier Marc Morano is a big fan: “Based on climate views alone, anyone who is holding their nose voting for Mitt Romney because there’s no other viable candidate will now rejoice to have an option with Rick Perry.”
Climate Connect, 11 August 2011 | In a critique of the recent report titled “REDD and Forest Carbon: Market-Based Critique and Recommendations” authored by the Munden Project, the Carbon Markets & Investors Association (CMIA) has said that the report does not examine the existing carbon markets. This, an emailed statement from CMAI states, has led to the authors making three key errors in their analysis: 1.They assume that emission reductions based on credited projects will never be suitable for the commodity markets. 2. They miss the concept that the primary and secondary markets for carbon credits can and do happily co-exist and in fact, both are necessary to be able to help project developers hedge their carbon exposure and raise project finance. 3.They overlook the rapid pace with which carbon credit contract structures evolved to greatly reduce any market asymmetries and perceived inequity between buyers and sellers.
ANI, 11 August 2011 | A new research has shown that the world’s forests absorb 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere which is equivalent to a third of the current annual fossil fuel emissions. This is the first research that clearly identifies the exact volume of the greenhouse gases absorbed by tropical, temperate and boreal forests from the atmosphere. “This is really a timely breakthrough with which we can now clearly demonstrate how forests and changes in landscape such as wildfire or forest regrowth impact the removal or release of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2),” Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) co-author Dr. Pep Canadell said. “What this research tells us is that forests play a much larger role as carbon sinks as a result of tree growth and forest expansion,” he added… The research work was a part of the Australian Climate Change Science Program…
mongabay.com, 11 August 2011 | The Coalition of Financially Challenged Countries with Lots of Trees, known as “CoFCCLoT”, representing most of the world’s remaining tropical forests is asking wealthy nations to share global responsibilities and reforest their land for the common good of stabilizing climate and protecting biodiversity. “We are willing to play our part, but we require a level playing field in which we all commit to equal sacrifices,” a coalition spokeswoman says. “Returning forest cover in the G8 countries and the European Union back to historic levels will benefit all of us in the long-term.”
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 11 August 2011 | Don’t despair: that’s the message of a new paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, which argues that decades of conservation actions at multiple scales have had a positive impact for many of the world’s endangered species. While such actions have not yet turned back the tide of the current mass extinction crisis, they have achieved notable successes which often get lost in the gloom-and-doom news stories on biodiversity declines. According to the paper, conservation actions take place on three scales. Microscale conservation focuses on a single species or ecosystem; mesoscale means conservation cooperation between a number of countries, such as efforts to curb the illegal wildlife trade or protect wide-ranging species; and finally macroscale means global organizations or campaigns, such as those that pressure multinational corporations to become more biodiversity-friendly.
CIFOR Forests Blog. 11 August 2011 | The exclusion of women is widespread in the forestry sector even though women are primary users and managers of forests and depend on non-timber forest products in many Asian countries, says a new study. Jeannette Gurung, Executive Director of Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN) spoke about this “woman oversight” during the two-day Second Regional Forum for People and Forests in Bangkok this week. In an assessment study for USAID on the gender impact of REDD+ projects in several Asian countries, Gurung and colleagues found that organisations, including United Nations agencies, had forgotten to include gender issues in crucial REDD+ decisions, even when women have taken on strong roles in forest protection in some areas.
UN-REDD Programme blog, 11 August 2011 | Read the first evaluation of deliverablesin the Indonesia-Norway REDD+ Partnership established in May 2010, prepared by Gaia Consulting Ltd, in association with Creatura Ltd.
By Anwar Purwoto (WWF), letter to the editor, Jakarta Post, 11 August 2011 | On behalf of WWF Global Forest & Trade Network – Indonesia (GFTN – Indonesia) members, in particular those operating near, or within, the area designated as the Heart of Borneo (HoB), on the island of Borneo, I would like to issue the following response to an article titled “Group Criticizes Global Forest Protection Effort”, printed in The Jakarta Post on July 26. GFTN – Indonesia strongly and categorically disputes the findings and related conclusions that form the basis of the Global Witness (GW) report, particularly in the context that the WWF “greenwashes” companies that conduct natural forest management in Borneo.
By Rachel Rivera, CIFOR Forests Blog, 11 August 2011 | Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan made the headlines in 2009 as a conservation area in danger of being split apart for its enormous deposits of high-grade coal. But a study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has highlighted the crucial role of local stakeholders in boosting conservation and discouraging development of the resource rich area. “Conservation in a case like Kutai National Park can only be ensured if there is a common commitment supported by a majority of the stakeholders with an interest to protect this area,” said Godwin Limberg, lead author of the 2009 study… The protection of forests through REDD+ has been touted as a way to increase the economic benefits of conservation by placing a monetary value on carbon stocks stored in a protected area, however the study warns that these may not be significant enough compared to the economic value of coal.
12 August 2011
Invezz press release, 12 August 2011 | Invezz, a UK-based digital media company, released today REDD Carbon Credits (reddcarboncredits.co.uk). The website is a new informational portal, which raises awareness among eco-responsible investors about the benefits and challenges of placing their money into REDD carbon offsets. According to the vision of the boutique media company, its latest green investments portal will become a go-to place on the Web where executives, NGOs and individuals can seek and find current data on the state of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiatives.
GHG Emissions Trading, 12 August 2011 | Back in March 2011 a Carbon Monitor reader wrote to us with the quandary of what to do with his post 1989 NZU units (those with a surrender liability for loss or harvest) suggesting if he took the funds, invested in real estate then he would be ahead even with a future liability. Here is the latest update on his story… Australia has been described as “a huge sandpit full of natural resource” and relatively, not that many people…… so ultimately its dollar will be stronger than most other currencies because they can just keep digging a bigger hole and selling the spoil. The Europeans on the other hand have millennia of culture and peoples, rules and regulations, subsidy mentality and other restrictions to overcome…. This will all conspire to keep that currency “limited”. NZ on the other hand is so small that one “wealthy” person or company can make our currency rise or fall at their whim, let alone all of the other factors.
Wildlife Work press release, 12 August 2011 | Wildlife Works announced today the launch of a new retail model that uses the power of Facebook to enable consumers to offset their travel, home and personal lifestyle events that contribute to global warming. The Wildlife Works Facebook store-front allows consumers to easily offset their carbon footprints as well as purchase carbon neutral apparel without leaving the 750 million-strong social network. The carbon offsets are generated from Wildlife Works’ ground-breaking REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) initiative in Africa that protects over 500,000 acres of Kenyan forest. Wildlife Works implemented the REDD project in an area of highly threatened wilderness known as the Kasigau Corridor on behalf of more than 4,000 local landowners from 13 Community Group Ranches who are the owners of the Carbon Credits.
13 August 2011
By Tifa Asrianti, Jakarta Post, 13 August 2011 | Indonesia, home to the largest tracts of tropical forests in Asia, could grab 45 percent of the world’s carbon trade if the government issues carbon-related policies, an analyst said. Agus Sari from iklim karbon, an NGO focusing on carbon trade information dissemination, said Indonesia could have 45 percent of the world’s carbon trade because of its vast size and climate. “To tap this potential, we need enough information on carbon trade mechanisms. Next is to encourage people and investors to join in financing,” he said during the discussion of the book Chances and Mechanism of Forest Carbon Trade at the Forestry Ministry.
TUNZA, 13 August 2011 | TUNZA spoke to Norway’s Minister of the Environment and UNEP Champion of the Earth ERIK SOLHEIM about why his country is leading the way, what has been achieved to date and his hopes for the future… The biggest obstacle we are facing is MONEY. Norway has put a significant sum on the table, but this is far from enough. That is why we want this to become part of the international climate change agreement, with a requirement that all countries contribute. The challenge is threefold: developing countries must have the political courage to start this work before the international mechanism is in place; donor countries must have the courage to put money on the table before the mechanism is in place; and developing and developed countries must have trust in each other, and believe that we can achieve this together.
By Gaulbert Sutherland, Stabroek News, 13 August 2011 | Job creation is the most pressing issue facing Amerindian communities, with matters like health, education, water and transportation addressed to a great extent, Head of the National Toshaos Council (NTC) Yvonne Pearson says. She said that overall, development in Amerindian communities has improved tremendously and while it is not perfect, she is happy at the rate at which progress is being made. But she is not satisfied at the level where Amerindians are at the moment. “If I say I’m satisfied with how Amerindians are now, that means I gon’ down tools and I gon’ go home and relax because I’m satisfied. But when I say I’m not satisfied, that means I have some more work to do,” she told Stabroek News in a recent interview. “I would like to see Amerindians participate and …hold office in every area,” said Pearson. “We’re not there yet, so I can’t be satisfied.” [R-M: Subscription needed.]
14 August 2011
By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 14 August 2011 | Millions of hectares of Brazilian forest are under threat from proposed changes to Brazil’s Forest Code which could see an increase in deforestation rates in the Amazon and have serious implications for REDD+ projects, said CIFOR scientist Peter May. “The forest code is the one deal maker around REDD+ in Brazil and will be instrumental in denoting the seriousness with which the government of Brazil is now taking control of deforestation,” he added.
By Susannah Waters, The Scavenger, 14 August 2011 | [T]he country’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently announced a two-year moratorium on logging permits for primary forests and peatlands… It applies merely to new concessions, meaning that companies holding existing permits in primary forests and peatlands can continue to convert that land and even extend their permits… Chris Lang from the REDD-Monitor, which tracks the debate around REDD (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), called the moratorium a “disaster” which possessed “gaping loopholes”. Lou Verchot of the Center for International Forest Research claims the moratorium will have scant effect, as some companies secured massive concession rights before it was enacted, and because monitoring and enforcement in rural areas is weak. Environmental groups have echoed these concerns.
By John Vidal, The Observer, 14 August 2011 | Because of its location right on the equator at the junction of the forest and the mountains, Yasuní is one of the last places on earth which is truly undisturbed. As well being home to the the Tagaeri and the Taromenane, two of the world’s last uncontacted tribes, the park is thought to have more species of plants, animals and insects per hectare than anywhere else on earth… “To extract oil on that scale from Yasuní,” says [oil minister Alberto] Acosta, “would lead to contamination, deforestation, extinction of cultures and destruction of social structures. It would need a vast infrastructure including roads, river ports, tracks, airstrips. Villages would have to be constructed, pipelines laid and millions of tonnes of contaminated waste buried.” … Acosta … prepared two plans: plan A was … to leave the oil in the ground … in return for half of its value from the rich countries of the world; plan B was for business as usual.
By Stabroek News, 14 August 2011 | The World Bank says that it is ready but has not yet been asked to release money for projects to be funded by payments from Guyana’s forest partnership with Norway. International institutions involved with the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) have faced criticisms recently – most notably by President Bharrat Jagdeo – for the non-disbursement of funds for projects.