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.
Forest Carbon Asia, no date | The Avoided Deforestation Partners REDD Methodology Modules were approved under the VCS in December last year. A number of projects around the world are now applying the modules, with the first VCS project using the modules recently registered in Belize. To further help project developers, Winrock International has produced a guidance document to support the use of the modules. With the support of Avoided Deforestation Partners, Winrock International, Climate Focus, and TerraCarbon will also be hosting a workshop and webinar on the guidance document and modules on September 8th between 8:45am and 11:00 am EST (GMT-5).
By James Mayers and Leianne Rolington, International Institute for Environment and Development, August 2011 | In ten forest hotspot countries across Africa and South Asia, the IIED-steered Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG) has been working since 2003 on ways to shift power over forests towards those who enable and pursue sustainable forest-linked livelihoods. Teams in each of these countries have developed practical tactics for securing safe space, sparking dialogue, building constituencies, wielding evidence and interacting politically. FGLG has produced films about tackling forest governance issues that work locally and internationally, as well as local theatre pieces, comics, and targeted policy briefs and opinion pieces. This report aims to capture the current thinking and plans of FGLG. It also highlights some of the key impacts of FGLG work since early 2010 and puts a particular focus on the intersection of REDD+ and forest governance issues.
By A. Babon, CIFOR, 2011 | Papua New Guinea has been a leading proponent of REDD+ at the international level. However, poor governance conditions in the country have frustrated efforts to create an enabling environment for REDD+ and progress in readiness activities has been slow.
By P.H. May, B Millikan and M.F. Gebara, CIFOR, 2011 | The current report provides an overview of the contextual conditions that affect the REDD+ policy environment in the Brazilian Amazon. Based on reviews of existing literature, national and international data, legal opinions and selected expert interviews, it provides the background and the preliminary analysis of the context in which national REDD+ strategies are being developed.
22 August 2011
Reuters, 22 August 2011 | The EU could yet table a proposal that would throw the beleaguered Kyoto Protocol a lifeline and secure the future of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) beyond 2012, government negotiators and observers have told Point Carbon News. Officials from the bloc’s member states will in the next few weeks discuss whether to formally back a plan to extend the life of the 1997 climate treaty, on condition it would expire in 2018 and be replaced with a single global pact that includes capping all major nations’ emissions… It’s not a formal EU position yet, although it is something that has gained ground in recent months,” said one senior EU negotiator who requested anonymity. “We see there are a lot of parties that want to maintain the Kyoto Protocol and its rules-based system – maybe it’s possible to preserve the rules, but not ratify (a second period),” he added.
By Charlotte Pavageau, CIFOR Forests Blog, 22 August 2011 | In the Congo Basin, the focus has been on mitigation rather than adaptation. However, a total of US$9.5 million have been granted to Cameroon, Republic of Congo and Gabon by the government of Japan to assist those countries in implementing integrated and comprehensive adaptation actions and resilience plans. In addition to that, DRC benefits from US$7.1 million for building the capacity of the agriculture sector from a climate change perspective. Compared to US$13 million approved by the World Band project from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to strengthen the capacities of the Congo Basin countries on issues related to REDD+, adaptation seems to gain ground on mitigation in Central Africa. But after a thorough look, it seems that most of the adaptation actions do not concern forest issues and forest areas.
The REDD Desk, 22 August 2011 | The law intends to regulate and promote the conservation, protection, restoration, harvest, management and use of forest ecosystems and its resources in a sustainable manner in order to improve the wellbeing of rural communities. Furthermore it encourages the development of environmental goods and services and the protection of biodiversity found among forest resources. The law describes the coordination among institutions at federal, state, and local levels; national policy in forestry; planning for development of this sector; the operations of the National System of Forestry Information and the National Forestry and Soils Inventory (Inventario Nacional Forestal y de Suelos; INFyS), among many others. Because of the importance of the INFyS, the law will play a key role in REDD+.
By James Grubel, Reuters, 22 August 2011 | Australia’s parliament endorsed the world’s first national scheme that regulates the creation and trade of carbon credits from farming and forestry on Monday, to complement government plans to put a price on carbon emissions from mid-2012. The laws, the first major bills passed by the government with Greens support in the Senate since the Greens took the balance of power on July 1, are a precursor to the carbon price legislation to be put before parliament later this year. Known as the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), the new laws allow farmers and investors to generate tradeable carbon offsets from farmland and forestry projects. Land use including agriculture accounts for 23 percent of Australian emissions… The government said the offsets can be traded domestically and overseas.
mongabay.com, 22 August 2011 | Australia’s parliament passed the world’s first national carbon trading scheme for credits generated from farming and forestry, reports Reuters. The program, dubbed the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI), allows farmers to generate tradeable carbon offsets from projects that reduce emissions from agriculture and forestry, sectors that account for 23 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions… Australian companies can also buy offsets from overseas activities, including certified Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) projects in tropical countries, provided these foreign credits amount to no more than half their total offsets.
wildmadagascar.org, 22 August 2011 | A meeting scheduled for August 25th between rosewood traders, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, and other government officials may determine the fate of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of rosewood illegally logged from Madagascar’s rainforests parks. The meeting, which will take place in Sambava in northern Madagascar’s SAVA region, may facilitate the resumption of rosewood exports from Madagascar despite an official ban on the trade, raising fears among conservationists that protected areas will again be targeted by illegal loggers. Madagascar’s national parks — especially Makira, Marojejy, and Masoala in the northeast — were hard hit by logging during the political crisis that followed the 2009 military coup that displaced Madagascar’s democratically-elected president.
By Elisabeth Oktofani, Jakarta Globe, 22 August 2011 | The government must quickly set up a long-awaited body to oversee political and economic development in the restive province of Papua if it is to stem a rising tide of violence there, analysts said on Monday. Sidney Jones, a senior adviser for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said it was crucial that the Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B), first proposed in the middle of last year, finally be realized. “It’s not a guarantee that the situation will get better, but it will certainly get worse without a new approach from the central government,” she said. A report on the conflict in Papua, which was released by the ICG on Monday, argues that current efforts to create a peaceful resolution are ineffective. The situation on the ground, it says, in particular in the highland district of Puncak Jaya, remains fraught with conflict.
By Richard M Kavuma, The Guardian, 22 August 2011 | Underlying Museveni’s plan is an obvious conflict of economic and environmental imperatives. Environmental authorities say that Uganda, with the world’s third-fastest growing population, loses 2% of its forest cover annually; 10% of this vanishes from protected areas like Mabira, thanks to logging and human settlement. The National Forestry Authority (NFA) highlights warnings by some experts that, at the current rate, the country could have no forests by 2050. But Museveni last week told local leaders that the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL), owned by the Mehta family, would be given about 7,100 hectares of the 30,000-hectare Mabira forest to expand its cane plantations. The move, which has been condemned by conservation groups and the political opposition, is not new. In 2007, three people died during demonstrations against Museveni’s intention to turn over the land, located 55km east of the capital Kampala, to SCOUL.
Survival International, 22 August 2011 | Thousands of people have taken to the streets in dozens of cities worldwide, to protest against the Belo Monte mega-dam being built in the Brazilian Amazon. Groups across Brazil called on Brazil’s President Rousseff to halt the construction of the destructive dam on the Xingu river. Their message was echoed by demonstrators in Australia, Canada, Iran, Mexico, Turkey, the United States, and at least nine other countries. Survival supporters delivered letters to the Brazilian embassies (PDF: 184 KB) in Berlin, London, Paris and Madrid expressing their concerns for the indigenous peoples living in the area.
23 August 2011
By Leo Hickman, The Guardian, 23 August 2011 | This column is an experiment in crowd-sourcing a reader’s question, so please let us know your views and experiences below (as opposed to emailing them). What value, if any, would you place on the environmental “assets” around you? What price would you pay to protect them? What things are truly worth valuing? I will join in with some of my own thoughts and reactions as the debate progresses. I will also be inviting various interested parties to join the debate too.
By Nick Oates, Climatico, 23 August 2011 | As already discussed on Climatico, using REDD+ as a private sector offsetting mechanism runs the risk of creating perverse incentives, exposing land to market price volatility and causing supply-induced price suppression. However, for the purposes of a deeper exploration into the market-related issues of REDD+, let’s assume these problems are solved and that forest carbon can, in theory, be commoditised and traded. This begs the question of whether forest carbon can be treated and traded like any other commodity. A report by the Munden Project earlier this year attempts to answer this question. The authors’ conclusion was that forest carbon is not suitable for commodity trading. In response, trade association the Carbon Markets and Investors Association (CMIA) this month issued a response to the report.
By Göran Persson (Sveaskog) and Janet Ranganathan (WRI), Guardian, 23 August 2011 | Over the past 150 years, industrialisation has taken its toll. All too often, forests have been sacrificed in the face of expanding business and national interests. In the future, forests could act as a backbone of sustainable economies by providing a multitude of renewable goods and services. The successful forest companies of the future will recognise this opportunity, use it to advance their own bottom line, and help ensure that forests survive and thrive. Climate change, population growth, and soaring demand for food, energy, water and other resources are changing the way the world sees and values forests. A vision is emerging of a new kind of company – the forest services company.
Markets for Change, 23 August 2011 | Independent tests carried out by a US laboratory IPS for Markets for Change (MFC) on the APRIL (1) paper brand Lazer IT , stocked by Officeworks, has found that the paper tested contained over 80% pulp fibre from Indonesian rainforest. Over 12 different species of mixed tropical hardwood species were found in the paper manufactured by the Indonesian paper giant APRIL and sold in Officeworks stores across Australia. These species are found in Sumatran and Indonesian tropical rainforests as featured in the recent ABC Foreign Correspondent story “Paper Tiger”.
By Kerri Pandjaitan, Jakarta Post, 23 August 2011 | As the Kyoto Protocol expires this 2012, nations are rushing to prepare its successor. Indonesia, the world’s second largest forest nation and a major player within the developing nations’ faction, holds a leading role in negotiations, officials and environmentalists here say. National Council for Climate Change (DPNI) chairman Rachmat Witoelar said Indonesia is totally committed to Kyoto’s successor, whatever it may be. “Climate change is everyone’s concern. To save the earth, we have to save its people — not to rely on a high-cost mitigation program, but to provide help to the public for understanding and eventually adapting,” he said. The introduction of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and Enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+) initiative saw the most defining element in the negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol’s successor, Rachmat said.
By Brian McCartan, Asia Times, 23 August 2011 | Cambodian leaders have shrugged off a World Bank move this month to suspend new lending due to state-sponsored, large-scale evictions to clear land for development projects. While rising access to private Asian capital, particularly from China, has helped Cambodia weather previous Western donor pressure for reform, the socio-economic costs of the latest sanction could be much higher. The World Bank had come under pressure from local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to take a tough stance against Cambodia’s government in response to well-documented forced evictions of communities. The issue centered on a large-scale urban development project planned for central Phnom Penh at Boeung Kak lake where many of the residents are involved in catering to a growing tourist industry.
By Ramesh Prasad Bhushal, Himalayan Times, 23 August 2011 | Gone are the days of talking only about timber and other forest product in the context of the forest. With these products as it is, another opportunity growing in the forests is carbon. Interestingly, the standing trees could deliver money without dying, and help communities invest on climate-change adaptation. At a time when everyone is talking about the negativity of climate change, forest carbon trade could be a means to increase our depleting forest cover and earn money to adapt to the changing climate. It seems ridiculous to talk about carbon and adaptation in the context of climate change, as it is dealt with as the mitigation part, but forests could help both mitigation and adaptation if properly managed and utilized.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 23 August 2011 | “COMACO shows how conservation can and should work,” said John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science. “Conservation cannot function without the buy-in of local people, and this is a shining example of how that goal can be achieved with impressive results for both people and wildlife.” Local people in the Luangwa Valley have long faced the constant risk of food shortages, exacerbated by rising populations, entrenched poverty, little education, and disease. Focus on cotton and tobacco-growing, introduced by developers, also led to widespread forest destruction and a reliance on fluctuating markets. COMACO, begun informally in 2001, was an attempt to protect wildlife by working to improve the life of locals. The program started by targeting areas in the Luangwa Valley most prone to hunger, as well as those involved in poaching and deforestation for charcoal.
Climate Connections, 23 August 2011 | The California Air Resources Board meets tomorrow in Sacramento, CA to announce the findings of its evaluation of alternatives to Cap and Trade in AB32, the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. Environmental, indigenous peoples’ and human rights groups warn that outsourcing the state’s emissions reductions through carbon offsets will shift the responsibility for the climate crisis from industry to under-resourced communities, both in California and abroad. “Any Cap and Trade Provision in AB32 will not only leave California communities continuing to bear the brunt of industrial pollution, they are no solution to climate change,” said Jeff Conant from the Oakland, CA office of Global Justice Ecology Project.
Survival International, 23 August 2011 | Brazilian beef barons are holding Paraguay’s government to ransom over land inhabited by uncontacted tribes. Ayoreo Indians were granted legal title to the land last year, but ranchers have refused to hand it over unless the state allows them to deforest a large area of adjacent land that the ranchers also own. BBC S.A and River Plate S.A, the two beef companies involved, have been caught illegally clearing land for cattle farming twice in 2011 alone.
24 August 2011
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, 24 August 2011 | The White House was rocked Tuesday, not only by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake, but by the protests mounting outside its gates. More than 2,100 people say they’ll risk arrest there during the next two weeks. They oppose the Keystone XL pipeline project, designed to carry heavy crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. A “keystone” in architecture is the stone at the top of an arch that holds the arch together; without it, the structure collapses. By putting their bodies on the line – as more than 200 have already at the time of this writing – these practitioners of the proud tradition of civil disobedience hope to collapse not only the pipeline, but the fossil-fuel dependence that is accelerating disruptive global climate change.
BusinessGreen, 24 August 2011 | Deutsche Bank employees have become the focus of a trial in which six men stand accused of evading more than €200m in value-added tax (VAT) as part of a carbon market fraud. The trial, which began last week in Frankfurt, is the culmination of a wider EU investigation, where prosecutors in Germany have identified approximately 170 suspects believed guilty of fraud related to the trading of carbon credits. Although none of the six defendants on trial in Frankfurt work for Germany’s biggest bank, seven of the 170 supsects have been identified as Deutsche Bank employees.According to reports from Reuters, Bjoern Peitzmeyer, one of the first defendants to stand trial yesterday, argued that the bank had left the door open for tax evasion when it established its emissions trading division.
By Hayley Sorensen, The North West Star, 24 August 2011 | Labor’s carbon farming initiative (CFI) has passed in the Senate but agricultural groups remain sceptical of its worth until details are made available. Under the scheme, graziers could sell carbon credits on to businesses to offset emissions. The scheme is designed to both reduce carbon emissions and provide graziers with an alternative stream of income. Richmond Mayor John Wharton said he supported the scheme in principal but had reservations. “I don’t think there will be millions of dollars in it for graziers,” he said. Councillor Wharton said increased vegetation could cause problems in the bushfire season. “The big issue is going to be fire,” he said. “If you don’t manage your country and it becomes a huge infestation of fuel and November comes along and you get a lightning strike the whole lot is going to go up.”
By Antonio M. Claparols, journal.com.ph, 24 August 2011 | History is replete with dramas that caused nations and empires to perish. Yet today, the very existence of our civilization is threatened and no one seems to pay much attention to this fact. Not the UNFCCC and all the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) and REDD+ that are being pushed to lower emissions in developing countries. Why all the fuzz on low carbon economies? Why don’t we just take the bull by the horn and have the polluters lower their Greenhouse gases (GHG) and restore the CO2 level in the atmosphere to 350ppm needed to sustain life? I don’t seem to understand the logic.
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 24 August 2011 | The point is, say Erik Maijard and Douglas Shiel in a recent paper in the scientific journal Biotropica, satire can be a source of serious insight into other people’s perspectives, helping to reveal the flaws in the way people impose their views on different situations. They argue that scientists may be expert at providing objective information but they haven’t a clue how to handle the slippery subjective values which underlie most attitudes to the natural world.
James Mayers, International Institute for Environment and Development, 24 August 2011 | When it comes to forest governance — who gets to decide what about forests — REDD is a pleasant dream for some, a nightmare for others. I think it is depends on how you see the money and the leverage… Addition of the ‘plus’ to REDD certainly makes the dream happier, but even more confusing (and for those of you who are already leaving this blog because you don’t speak this bizarre REDD language, or think its users should just grow up, I can only apologise). So it is good to see practical progress from those who are actually trying to make REDD+ work on the ground.
By Karimeh Moukaddem, mongabay.com, 24 August 2011 | A new study of Uganda’s Kibale National Park refutes the conventional wisdom that parks cause poverty along their borders. “Apparently the park provides a source of insurance; [locals] can hunt, or sell firewood or thatch from the park,” explains Jennifer Alix-Garcia, co-author of the study, with the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “It’s misleading. If you look, you see more poor people living near the park. But when you look at the change in assets, you see that the poor people who live next to the park have lost less than poor people who live further away.” The study took place between 1996 and 2006, beginning three years after the creation of Kibale National Park in western Uganda. Two hundred and fifty-two households were surveyed.
By Terry Sunderland, CIFOR Forests Blog, 24 August 2011 | Traditional means of conservation have entailed the annexation of land where human activities are strictly controlled or curtailed: so-called “fortress conservation”. There remain today strong advocates of biodiversity conservation through the establishment of protected areas where the social and economic costs of exclusion are regarded as a necessary means of protecting biodiversity for the greater global good. However, such advocacy has also led to a highly contentious and polarized debate about the impacts of protected areas on local communities, where issues such as human rights, social justice and economic disenfranchisement are often brought to the fore. Are the trade-offs that result in excluding people from their lands and the resulting social and economic costs an acceptable price to pay in terms of achieving effective biodiversity conservation? Experience suggests not, but where is the data?
CIFOR press release, 24 August 2011 | Tropical forests designated as strictly protected areas have annual deforestation rates much higher than those managed by local communities – reinforcing a challenge to a long-held belief that the best way to conserve forests is to lock them away in protected areas, according to a new study. “Our findings suggest that a forest put away behind a fence and designated ‘protected’ doesn’t necessarily guarantee that canopy cover will be maintained over the long term compared to forests managed by local communities – in fact they lose much more,” said Manuel Guariguata, Senior Scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and one of the co-authors of the paper, which includes researchers from Mexico and Spain.
By Michael Kaung, Free Malaysia Today, 24 August 2011 | Ground and aerial surveys of 34,000 hectares of lowland rainforest known as the Malua Biobank in Sabah has revealed the area to be one of the most important refuges for the orangutan in Borneo. Sabah Forestry Department’s Malua Wildlife unit leader, Hadrin Lias, who led the surveys, said the population of orangutan was increasing with the current conservation activities in Malua Biobank. Logging in Malua ceased in 2007 and since then the habitat for orangutan has remained undisturbed and the area is regularly patrolled.
By Joe Leong, Borneo Post, 24 August 2011 | Sabah has taken another step forward in developing a road map that would serve as a strategic framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the enhancing of carbon stocks (REDD+) for 2011-2013. A two-day workshop to kick-start this REDD+ framework development process was conducted here last week, coordinated by the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) with the assistance of WWF-Malaysia. The move to produce this REDD+ preparedness roadmap is a follow-up action after a commitment was made in November last year when the state hosted an international conference on ‘Forests and Climate Change: Decoding and Realizing REDD-plus in the Heart of Borneo, with Specific Focus on Sabah’.
Climate Focus, 24 August 2011 | The workshop will be held in Bangkok, Thailand between 23-25 August, 2011. It will have a dual purpose, serving as the kickoff event to introduce the LEAF program and as the first workshop on the technical aspects necessary to launch effective REDD+ strategies. Over the three day workshop, it is hoped that representatives from the six target countries will share their own experiences and lessons learned on a range of topics along with technical transfer from the LEAF team of REDD+ experts.
By Budhy Kristanty, CIFOR Forests Blog, 24 August 2011 | The concept of REDD+, a mechanism that gives incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, has developed into a political minefield and a new payment source when it is viewed through the eyes of Indonesian media, according to research by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Intense politics and disagreement over the direction of REDD+ public policy has halted its formation, according to the study entitled “REDD+ Politics in the Media: Case Study from Indonesia”. The research looked into news articles related to REDD+ in 3 major national media outlets between 2005 and 2009.
By Faisal Maliki Baskoro, Jakarta Globe, 24 August 2011 | Indonesia may fall short of attaining its palm oil export target this year, should a slowing European economy drag down demand, the head of the country’s palm group said. The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) had set its palm oil export target at 18 million tons this year, or 15 percent higher than last year’s 15.6 million tons. However, its chairman Fadhil Hasan expressed concern about demand from its biggest buyers. “If Europe continues to slow down, we may see exports drop slightly below our estimate, to 17 million tons,” he said. “The US economic slowdown will not have an adverse effect as our exports there are very small. But Europe is our second-biggest market as it buys 20 percent of our palm oil exports,” he added.
Forest Carbon Asia, 24 August 2011 | The Department of Forestry (DoF), Lao PDR conducted a first national information-sharing and consultation workshop in Vientiane on August 23, 2011 to start the process for revising the forestry legal framework in Lao PDR. They were supported in this effort by the bilateral and multilateral programs CliPAD, SUFORD and FSCAP, and the NGO WCS.Dr. Silavanh Sawathvong, Director General of DoF chaired the workshop and explained the background behind the revision process. Revision of the Forestry Law is called for by the National Assembly and is in the current five year plan of the Assembly… One of the primary objectives for the amendment of the forestry legislation starting with the Forestry Law is to facilitate implementation of REDD+ in Laos.
25 August 2011
By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 25 August 2011 | Seeking simple explanations for the Arab spring uprisings that have swept through Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya, is clearly foolish amidst entangled issues of social injustice, poverty, unemployment and water stress. But asking “why precisely now?” is less daft, and a provocative new study proposes an answer: soaring food prices. Furthermore, it suggests there is a specific food price level above which riots and unrest become far more likely. That figure is 210 on the UN FAO’s price index: the index is currently at 234, due to the most recent spike in prices which started in the middle of 2010. Lastly, the researchers argue that current underlying food price trends – excluding the spikes – mean the index will be permanently over the 210 threshold within a year or two.
By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 25 August 2011 | China, the biggest supplier of carbon credits, might withdraw from the United Nations-overseen Clean Development Mechanism around 2015, boosting offset prices in the five years through 2020, said Barclays Plc. Post-2012 letters of approval from China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s regulator, are specifying volume limits that might suggest a halt in supply around 2015, Barclays Capital analysts including Trevor Sikorski in London said today in an e-mailed research note, citing discussions with project developers.
Climate Connections, 25 August 2011 | Unlike the analysis below of the Environmental Defense Fund (who we protested in 2008 along with Rising Tide North America due to EDF’s corporate sell-out and their promotions of false solutions to climate change such as Cap and Trade: see the article by clicking here), Global Justice Ecology Project denounces the California Air Resources Board (CARB) cap and trade ruling as one more lost opportunity to truly address climate change by cutting emissions at the source. Read our recent Press release from August 23 denouncing carbon trading and international carbon offsets.
By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times, 25 August 2011 | The California Air Resources Board voted to reaffirm its cap-and-trade plan Wednesday, a decision that puts the nation’s first-ever state carbon trading program back on track, for now. The on-again, off-again rules have been years in the making and are meant to complement AB 32, California’s landmark climate change law that mandates a reduction in carbon pollution to 1990 levels by 2020. The air board adopted a preliminary carbon trading plan in late 2008 but was sued by environmental justice groups in 2009. A San Francisco judge in March ordered the air board to more comprehensively analyze alternatives to the market-based trading system, such as a carbon tax or fee. In a unanimous vote in Sacramento on Wednesday, the board adopted the revised environmental analysis while still affirming its original decision. But the board’s vote may not forestall another legal challenge.
Ghana Business News, 25 August 2011 | Tropical countries that seek a share of billions of dollars of climate finance in return for protecting their forests risk creating strategies that fail to bring social and environmental benefits. This is contained in a report released on Thursday by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and forwarded to the Ghana News Agency. The report draws on the work of Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG) teams in 10 countries in Africa and Asia to promote decision making about forests that is fair and sustainable. It highlights success stories at the national level in which FGLG teams have influenced policy to promote outcomes that benefit forest-dependent communities who have been marginalised.
By Karimeh Moukaddem, mongabay.com, 25 August 2011 | High rates of deforestation are likely to continue in Pará and Mato Grosso, while federal and especially state conservation units fail to protect Brazil’s rainforest. A new report from Imazon, a Brazilian NGO that tracks deforestation, models the risk of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon for the coming year. The Imazon team identified four levels of deforestation risk: low, moderate, high, and critical. The critical level is reserved for areas of greater than 100 sq km (38 sq mi) with a risk of deforestation greater than one percent. The Vale Fund and the Climate and Land Use Alliance supported Imazon’s research.
By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 25 August 2011 | The severe restrictions on human activity in protected forest areas in Indonesia is threatening the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities and leading to a “conservation deadlock”, with protected forests being invaded and destroyed by those that claim rights to the area. In response, the Ministry of Forestry is considering designating ‘special use’ zones to encourage these communities to establish agreements to manage parks collaboratively, reports a new study.
By Budhy Kristanty, CIFOR Forests Blog, 25 August 2011 | The Government of Indonesia, through the President’s Unit for Development Control and Monitoring (UKP4), has launched a public disclosure process to stimulate and encourage inputs for the National Strategy for REDD+, a mechanism to give incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. “Public input is important to produce a national REDD+ strategy that can be successfully carried out. This will determine the success of REDD+,” said UKP4 in its announcement on 17 August 2011. Opinions and suggestions can be submitted for the next 30 days by e-mailing UKP4 and must include details of the person or institutions submitting their input.
eTurboNews.com, 25 August 2011 | Some 30 governors from various countries will gather at the Luwansa Hotel at Palangkaraya, the capital of the central Kalimantan province in Indonesia, from September 20 to 22 to attend The Governors’ Climate Forum (GCF) Annual Meeting 2011. The Annual Meeting is a unique opportunity for information exchange and progress on the GCF’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)-related objectives. The former California governor – and one of the initiators of GCF – Arnold Schwarzenegger, is scheduled to attend the event.
AFP, 25 August 2011 | Rights group Amnesty International on Thursday urged Indonesia to free a Papuan activist jailed for staging a peaceful protest and raising an independence flag in the remote province. Melkianus Bleskadit was sentenced to two years for “rebellion” after his demonstration last year in Manokwari, West Papua province, during which he and other activists raised the 14 Star Flag, a symbol of West Melanesian independence. “His sentence highlights the continuing use of repressive legislation to criminalise peaceful political activities in the province,” Amnesty said in a statement. The group said it was aware of at least 90 political activists in the restive provinces of Maluku and Papua who had been jailed for peaceful political activity. “Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience and calls for their immediate and unconditional release,” it said.
By Anita Rachman, Jakarta Globe, 25 August 2011 | 3 months after Indonesia Corruption Watch challenged them to comply with the Political Parties Law and release their 2010 financial reports, six major parties have yet to do so. After weeks of promises, the Golkar Party is now saying it does not have any obligation to respond to ICW’s request. “Why should we? We can just announce it [the financial report] directly to our constituents or to the media. Why to ICW?” Golkar’s executive board chairman, Priyo Budi Santoso, said on Wednesday. His statement appears to contradict one made by his Golkar colleague, Bambang Soesatyo, earlier this month, when he said his party agreed with ICW’s financial transparency demands. “Our party is open to that idea. That’s why our financial report was audited by an accountant,” Bambang was quoted as saying. Asked when Golkar would release the report, he said, “Please be patient, we are preparing a complete report. We need more time to calculate everything.”
By Dewi Kurniawati, Jakarta Globe, 25 August 2011 | No one, except those operating outside of the law, would sense danger when meeting the slight and soft-spoken 63-year-old Abdullah Hehamahua. The chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) ethics committee is all smiles in his batik shirt and peci hat. But his easygoing nature disappears when he starts talking about corruption, an endemic problem that he describes as “cancerous” and urgently needing amputation. Abdullah was thrust into the spotlight when graft suspect and former Democratic Party treasurer Muhammad Nazaruddin accused KPK leaders of corruption and being a “bunch of thieves.” But Abdullah said he wanted his beloved Indonesia to defy critics and prosper in decades to come, which can only be done without corruption.
26 August 2011
EurActiv, 26 August 2011 | European chemical manufacturers are covertly venting huge quantities of the powerful ‘super greenhouse gas’ HFC-23, according to a study by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). The report, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says that Western Europe’s emissions of HFC-23s – an ‘F’ or fluorinated gas mainly used as a refrigerant – are between 60-140% higher than officially reported. Italy alone was found to be emitting 10-20 times more HFC-23s than it officially reports. The greenhouse gas has a global warming potential which is 14,800 times higher than CO2.
By Hedley Grantham, The Conversation, 26 August 2011 | Throughout the larger protected bays of Raja Ampat, pearl farms are common, mostly producing pearls for the Japanese market. Pearl farms rely on healthy waterways and are established through an agreement with local communities who not only get payments for renting these areas to the farmers, but also are also employed by the farms. One ecosystem service of global interest is carbon stored in trees. If trees are cleared, more carbon goes into the atmosphere and we are all worse off from increased climate change. Under the REDD+ system – one of the global initiatives spearheaded through international climate change negotiations – rich countries would pay poor countries to avoid creating the kind of emissions they have generated… Could relatively intact seagrass areas that support dugongs, and the mangroves areas containing crocodiles in Raja Ampat, receive payments for their carbon services from rich countries?
Greenpeace International, 26 August 2011 | It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Steve Nicholson, the corporate affairs director for Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) in Australia and New Zealand. Fresh from a PR crisis in Australia – caused when his staff were found out for anonymously posting offensive comments online about a Greenpeace staff member and APP’s former largest customer in Australia – Steve is trying to play hardball in New Zealand. On Monday, together with WWF and the New Zealand Green Party we released a ‘forest friendly’ tissue guide (pdf) based on a survey of all the major retailers and suppliers selling tissue products in the country. One of the companies they approached was Cottonsoft, a well-known Kiwi brand that was bought out a number of years ago by – yes, you’ve guessed it – APP.
28 August 2011
By Joe Leahy, Financial Times, 28 August 2011 | After a slowdown in deforestation in recent years, the future of the Amazon rainforest – the world’s largest, most of which falls within Brazil’s borders – is once again hanging in the balance. Before the end of this year, the country’s senate is expected to vote on a bill that, in its present form, promises an amnesty to landowners who illegally cleared land before June 2008. In March and April, deforestation rates surged sixfold as the bill made its way through the lower house, apparently in anticipation that this amnesty might be followed by others. Reports of violent conflict over land, an indicator of deforestation in the Amazon, have increased. At stake for Brazil – the biggest exporter of coffee, orange juice, sugar and beef; the second largest of soyameal … – is its reputation both as an emerging agricultural superpower and as a guardian of the global environment.