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REDD in the news: 26 September – 2 October 2011

REDD in the news: 26 September - 2 October 2011

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.

UN-REDD Newsletter 22

UN-REDD Programme, Issue #22, September 2011 | In this month’s issue, read more on the advancement of REDD+ readiness activities in Mongolia and Republic of Congo as well as highlights from new studies on REDD+ capacity building in Asia-Pacific and Africa, and anti-corruption and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean. You can also learn more about the remote sensing training UN-REDD is running with Brazil’s national space agency (INPE) and get an overview of what’s on the agenda at the upcoming UN-REDD Programme Policy Board meeting in Berlin 13-14 October.

Applying Safeguards for Risk Reduction in REDD+ Activities

The World Bank, no date | The overall objective of this course is to enable key stakeholders in developing countries involved in national REDD+ programs to better understand and hence handle selected aspects of REDD+ program development, i.e. how to minimize risks by applying safeguards in their national or sub-national REDD+ programs or at project level. This will enable them to address climate change challenges, access international funds for climate mitigation and achieve their sustainable development goals… COURSE DELIVERY DATES: April 02, 2012 – April 30, 2012. Application Ends On : March 19, 2012.

Deploying the challenges of climate change and global poverty as solutions to each other press release, 30 September 2011 | Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty (, which launches with its first project today, empowers individuals in developed countries to tackle both climate change and global poverty. directly and transparently connects individuals’ carbon footprints with accredited forestry carbon projects in least developed countries which create meaningful and measurable economic benefits for the poorest people in the world. is the only U.S. 501(c)3 public charity with a dual mission that puts global poverty alleviation on an equal footing with climate change abatement.

State of Forest Carbon Markets 2011

By David Diaz, Katherine Hamilton, Evan Johnson – Ecosystem Marketplace/Forest Trends, 2011 | This second annual State of the Forest Carbon Markets tracks, reports, and analyzes trends in global transactions of emissions reductions generated from forest carbon projects. The data and analysis that follow cover forest carbon activity in compliance carbon markets as well as voluntary carbon markets—such as the voluntary Over-the-Counter (OTC) market and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The report finds that growing from already record-breaking years in 2008 and 2009, respondents reported a total of 30.1 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) contracted across the primary and secondary markets in 2010. The estimated total value of transactions in 2010 was $178 million.

26 September 2011

Q&A: “We Expect the Polluters to Pay”

By Kristin Palitza, IPS, 26 September 2011 | Kristin Palitza speaks to TOSI MPANU-MPANU, chair of the Africa Group of Negotiators for Climate Change… Q: Will carbon markets be the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? A: Right now, the prospect of carbon markets is bleak. The U.N. Environment Programme says we must achieve 12 gigatonnes (Gt) of global reductions by 2020. Developing countries have pledged 5Gt, if supported with finance. This would leave 7Gt for the developed countries. But they have, unfortunately, pledged less than 4Gt, and have around 4Gt available in so-called “loopholes”. They are offering nothing. If they (do not have to effectively reduce emissions) by 2020, then why would they need to purchase carbon credits from Africa or elsewhere?

Carbon-Credits System Tarnished by WikiLeaks Revelation

By Quirin Schiermeier, Scientific American, 26 September 2011 | As the world gears up for the next round of United Nations climate-change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, in November, evidence has emerged that a cornerstone of the existing global climate agreement, the international greenhouse-gas emissions-trading system, is seriously flawed. Critics have long questioned the usefulness of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which was established under the Kyoto Protocol… But a diplomatic cable published last month by the WikiLeaks website reveals that most of the CDM projects in India should not have been certified because they did not reduce emissions beyond those that would have been achieved without foreign investment. Indian officials have apparently known about the problem for at least two years.

Wangari Maathai, the woman I knew

By John Vidal, The Guardian, 26 September 2011 | When Wangari Maathai first came to Britain in 1988 as an almost unknown African social activist, all we knew about her was she was a middle-aged scientist who had been beaten up by the Kenyan government for opposing the development of a Nairobi park, and was working with a group of women planting trees. She gave a short talk to a few human rights and environmental groups, and within half an hour probably changed the agenda for a generation of activists who, until then, had barely considered poverty in Africa to be part of the global debate.

Distinguished UN-REDD Partner and Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai passes away

UN-REDD Programme blog, 26 September 2011 | The UN-REDD Programme send its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai, who passed away yesterday in Nairobi. Professor Maathai was a distinguished and valued partner of the UN-REDD Programme. Read more on Professor Maathai’s life and legacy on her Green Belt Movement website.

Fuzzy forest framing favours fallacies

By Meine van Noordwijk, ASB, 26 September 2011 | In a WORLDVIEW opinion piece in Nature (22 Sept 2011), Jianchu Xu argues that China’s new forests aren’t as green as they seem. ”Impressive reports of increased forest cover mask a focus on non-native tree crops that could damage the ecosystem.” Applying internationally accepted definitions of the term forest, China has reported a net increase in forest area of more than 4 million hectares per year since the 1990s. These data, along with smaller net increases in India, Vietnam and the Philippines have marked a turning point in ‘forest transition’ when Asia is considered at continental scale. Asia’s forests appear to do well, despite ongoing loss of natural forest and associated biodiversity in every single Asian country. Data on ‘deforestation’ for Indonesia vary from 5%/year and increasing, to 0.1%/year and declining, depending on the forest definition used.

‘Green desert’ monoculture forests spreading in Africa and South America

By Inés Acosta, IPS, 26 September 2011 | Artificial single-species forests are expanding fast in countries of the developing South, fuelled by low production costs and incentives from governments, and causing severe social and environmental impacts, warned experts from around the world who met last week in the Uruguayan capital. The so-called “green deserts” are encroaching on the fertile soil of South America and other regions, with the proliferation of plantations of fast-growing and high water-demanding trees to be used to produce pulp and paper, and for other industrial uses, displacing local communities and threatening native ecosystems.

[Indonesia] REDD+ potential funds reach up to Rp270 trillion: CIFOR

Antara News, 26 September 2011 | The potential flow of funds from advanced nations to developing countries to deal with deforestation through REDD+ programs is estimated to reach up to US$30 billion or Rp270 trillion annually, according to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “The potential funds flow from developed countries to developing nations for REDD+ programs is quite huge, reaching 30 billion US dollars,” Budhy Kristanty, the spokesman of CIFOR said here on Monday. The REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus) is a global mechanism to reduce emission and deforestation as well as forest degradation. Under the REDD+ mechanism, it has also been agreed globally to boost conservation and sustainable forest management as well as to icnrease the world forest carbon reserves. Budhy said Indonesia has the highest number of REDD+ pilot projects in various development stages.

How to monitor biodiversity for REDD projects

By Jeremy Hance,, 26 September 2011 | Although the international program Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) was developed in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions by protecting standing forests, conservationists have long pointed out that another result from a well-crafted REDD program could be to conserve biodiversity. But one of the difficulties of including biodiversity is how to measure the success or failure of conservation in a REDD site. A new opinion piece in’s open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science analyzes two effective ways to monitor biodiversity in REDD sites focusing on bats and big mammals.

REDD+ would leave some species unprotected

By Jeremy Hance,, 26 September 2011 | REDD+ programs could leave some species high and dry even if its preserves the forests they call home, argues a new opinion piece in’s open access journal Tropical Conservation Science. While the program would likely help habitat-dependent species, other important species could still vanish without additional measures to stem threats such as overexploitation and disease. While REDD+, or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, has set preserving forests for their carbon value as its primary goal, the young program has been increasingly connected to efforts to conserve the world’s biodiversity. However, the new paper, argues that conservationists must not become complacent.

The high price of gold: death and destruction in Amazon mineral rush

By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 26 September 2011 | Three men, three murders but apparently one common cause: the global economic crisis that has sent gold prices through the roof and aggravated an already cut-throat scramble for gold in the South American Amazon. Across the Amazon all-time record gold prices, which are the result of investors seeking a safe haven from the US and European economic slump, are reportedly adding fuel to a chaotic jungle gold rush. This has brought violence, disease and conflict to the mineral-rich rainforests of Brazil, Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela.

Letter from CONAIE to Evo Morales regarding TIPNIS

Bolivia Rising, 26 September 2011 | Being faithful to the principles of the struggle of the people, we reject the violent repression that the indigenous brothers from the march have suffered at the hands of the Bolivian police. For a long time, our people have shared and sought to develop our common struggle against neoliberalism, for sovereignty, for the defence of natural resources and against neo-colonial states and governments. These experiences have shaped and strengthen us in order to defeat the neoliberal model. No doubt on the way we have had multiple difficulties or even committed errors. But before anything else we firmly defend the process constructed between the people, the struggle for the DEFENCE OF MOTHER EARTH, together with the majority of the exploited men and women.

[Brazil] Expanding ethanol threatens last remnants of Atlantic Forest

By Jeremy Hance,, 26 September 2011 | Aggressively expanding sugarcane ethanol is putting Brazil’s nearly-vanished Atlantic Forest at risk, according to an opinion piece in’s open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science. Already down to less than 12 percent of its original extent, the Atlantic Forest—home to over 7,000 species that survive no-where else—is facing a new peril from ethanol, used as an alternative to gasoline and often touted as ‘green’ or ‘environmentally-sustainable’. “In fact, the signals of expansion in the demand for sugarcane in Brazil have become real and evident […] The price of sugar recently reached the highest value in the past 30 years in the international market. USA, the world’s largest oil consumer, has the goal of using at least 45 Bl of renewable fuel per year, and of increasing to 136 Bl until 2022.

[Guyana] Government unveils micro and small enterprise project to be funded through GRIF

Stabroek News, 26 September 2011 | Government has unveiled another project to be funded through the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) with a budget of US$10M over four years for the Micro and Small Enterprise Develop-ment project. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will be the ‘partner entity’ for this project which will be implemented by the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce according to a draft project profile posted on the newly-established GRIF website. The project encompasses two phases with the first phase running from 2012 to 2013 and the other from 2014 to 2015. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

On eve of major forestry conference, Indonesia’s President issues decree to cut GHG emissions

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 26 September 2011 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday issued a decree with a national action plan to reduce greenhouses gas emissions – a goal that can only be achieved by safeguarding the country’s forests. His announcement comes a day before he is due to address about 1,200 national leaders, captains of industry, NGO representatives, donors and others at a conference entitled Forests Indonesia: Alternative futures to meet demands for food, fibre, fuel and REDD+, which is being hosted by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Jakarta. “This is our attempt to follow-up Bali Action Plan as agreed in the UNFCCC COP 13, while meeting Indonesia’s voluntary commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 26% or up to 41% with international support by 2020 “, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam was quoted as saying in a government press release.

[Indonesia] Coal Sentiment Stoked by 2 New Reports

By Muhamad Al Azhari, Jakarta Globe, 26 September 2011 | Indonesia’s coal-mining sector is expected to perform well through 2014, global ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Monday. Abundant reserves, cheaper production costs and proximity to major energy buyers outweighed possible risks from a planned change in the country’s regulatory framework, it said. In a statement, the agency said Indonesia would likely continue to be a competitive supplier of thermal coal, while demand for the fuel in the Asia-Pacific was expected to remain steady “notwithstanding the possible softening of [Gross Domestic Product] growth in the region.” “We expect the Indonesian coal sector to maintain its competitive position in both the domestic and export markets over the next two to three years,” said Xavier Jean, a credit analyst with the agency.

[Indonesia] Expanded Plantations Will Boost CPO Firms, Exec Says

By Faisal Maliki Baskoro, Jakarta Globe, 26 September 2011 | Indonesia’s palm oil producers are forecast to increase production this year as their cultivated areas expand, according to a company executive. Palm oil production in the country is set to increase 10 percent this year to 26 million tons, Teguh Patriawan, the president director of midsize palm oil producer Nusantara Sawit Persada, said on Monday. Output was 23.6 million tons last year. The total value of the commodity is expected to rise 7 percent to $15 billion this year. Teguh cited an estimate from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin). He is also a vice chairman for plantation affairs at Kadin. “Domestic consumption will account for 8.6 million tons and the remaining 17.4 million tons will be for exports,’’ he said.

Panama canal drives forest conservation, offers insight on value of ecosystems

By Rhett Butler,, 26 September 2011 | As demonstrated by growing enthusiasm for conserving forests and the rise of the REDD+ program, the public is increasingly aware of the role forests play in delivering ecosystems services — like clean air and water — that benefit mankind. Yet, science still lags conventional wisdom — researchers have yet to fully quantify much of what healthy forests provide. Bridging this gap is key to unlocking the full value of protecting and restoring tropical forests. An ambitious initiative in Panama is attempting to do just that. The Agua Salud Project is a joint effort between the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Panama Canal Authority, Panama’s National Environmental Authority, and the HSBC Climate Partnership. The effort aims to “understand and quantify” the ecological, social, and economic services provided by forests in the watershed of the Panama Canal, the economic lifeblood of Panama.

27 September 2011

Carbon markets: Towards a standstill

Financial Times, 27 September 2011 | Still, the carbon markets are kept alive by a confidence that climate change fears will inevitably prompt more, not less, global action to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that underpin demand for carbon credits. It was that sort of confidence that created the Kyoto protocol and the CDM in the first place. The question is whether today’s climate negotiators will ever be in a position to produce anything quite like them again.

Redd investor Tricor parts company with CEO, books big loss

Point Carbon, 27 September 2011 | Tricor, a London-listed company that aims to sell carbon credits from projects that reduce emissions by avoiding deforestation (REDD), said Tuesday it had parted company with its chief executive and posted a 2.5 million pound loss in 2010. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

Up in Smoke

Channel 4, 27 September 2011 | Slash-and-burn farming generates more carbon emissions than all air and road travel combined. It’s one of the biggest contributors to deforestation and global warming.

Call for attention on land use impacts EU biofuels

Wetlands International press release, 27 September 2011 | Several environmental NGOs including Wetlands International have written to the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, demanding action on five scientific studies that question the clean energy benefits of biofuels. The European Union promotes the use of biofuels via the Renewable Energy Directive. The European Commission is in delay of coming up with a policy to address the indirect land use change impacts of European support for biofuels. Recent statements feed the concern of the organisations. The letter cites five world-class studies for the EU which all agree that the Indirect Land Use Change effects of biofuels could not only negate the expected carbon savings, but even lead to an increase in emissions. The studies strongly question the environmental benefits of the use of biofuels instead of conventional fuels due to the indirect land use change at the cost of forests, wetlands and other ecosystems.

REDD+ partnership to discuss multilat readiness outcomes tomorrow

By Unna Chookalingam and Anuradha Vanniarachchy, Forest Carbon Asia, 27 September 2011 | The third meeting and workshops of the REDD+ Partnership in 2011 will be held on 28 and 30 September at the Continental Hotel in Panama City, Panama. On 28th two priority topics on the agenda will be “Further development of the voluntary REDD+ database” and “Effectiveness of the multilateral initiatives (MIs)”.

Bolivian president Evo Morales suspends Amazon road project

By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 27 September 2011 | Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, has suspended the construction of a controversial Amazon highway a day after violent clashes between police and protesters. On Sunday, police used teargas and batons to disperse an estimated 1,000 protesters who were marching to the capital, La Paz, to oppose the construction of a 185-mile (300km) road through Bolivia’s Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (Tipnis). The march, which began on 15 August, was to highlight the social and environmental costs of the road, which campaigners say would wreak havoc on the wildlife-rich park and its indigenous populations.

Indonesia’s leader says he will dedicate final years of his presidency to protect rainforest

By Daniel Cooney, CIFOR Forests Blog, 27 September 2011 | Indonesia’s President has vowed to dedicate the last three years of his administration to safeguarding his nation’s rainforests – a pledge that received broad support at a major conference in Jakarta. Hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the conference provided a platform for 1,000 leaders of Indonesia’s government, business community and civil society, as well as foreign donors, to discuss the future of the forests, the third-largest tropical forest in the world. “I will continue my work and dedicate the last three years of my term as President to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia,” Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at the conference. “If it weren’t for the benefits that our forests provide, then our way of life, our people, our economy, our environment and our society would be so much the poorer.”

Indonesia President Vows to Protect Forests

By Arientha Primanita & Fidelis Sastriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 27 September 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday stated his commitment to ensure sustainable development of the country’s environment and forests. “I will continue my work and dedicate the last three years of my term as president to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia,” Yudhoyono said in a speech in his opening address at the Forests Indonesia Conference. The president said the country’s people, economy, environment and way of life are tightly intertwined with its forests. “Our success in managing our forests will determine our future and the opportunities that will be available to our children,” Yudhoyono said.

President calls on businesses to unite to protect Indonesia’s forests

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 27 September 2011 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on leading industries to support international and national efforts to reduce deforestation through the sustainable management of its forest. “We must change the way we treat our forests so that they are conserved as we drive hard to accelerate our economic growth. I call upon our business leaders, particularly those in the palm oil, pulp wood and mining sectors, to partner with us by enhancing the environmental sustainability of their operations,” said the President. At the Forests Indonesia conference held by the Center For International Forestry Research (CIFOR) today, the President laid out his vision for the sustainable management of Indonesia’s’ resources which would meet the rising demand for food, fibre and fuel, whilst guaranteeing the long term protection of its forest.

[Indonesia] Govt Rule Change a Boon for Palm Oil Producers: Credit Suisse

By Muhamad Al Azhari, Jakarta Globe, 27 September 2011 | A new ministerial ruling that expands the land available for planting has made Indonesian crude palm oil producers an attractive proposition for investors, analysts at Credit Suisse Group say. A report compiled by Teddy Oetomo and Agus Sandianto cited a forestry ministerial decree reported last week by Investor Daily that could result in more arable land for oil palms. The decree stipulates that palm oil plantations will be deemed forestry plantations (HTI), along with other soft commodities such as coconut and rubber. The decree says that palm oil companies can apply for licenses for planting in HTI areas by submitting a business plan to the Forestry Ministry. [N.B. REDD-Monitor understands that this new decree has been withdrawn.]

Norway-Indonesian rainforest agreement jeopardised

By Nicoleta-Madalina Sincan, The Foreigner, 27 September 2011 | Norwegian Environment and Development Minister Erik Solheim may withdraw financial support Indonesia if authorities decide to define palm oil plantations as forests. The Jakarta Post reports the minister says Norway could object if palm oil producers expanded plantations under certain conditions. “That is a feasible policy if it is already degraded land. We have seen some positive developments with some of the big palm oil producers wanting to adopt an environmentally friendly outlook. Some of them have accepted international verification for selling their products without destroying the forests. But that cannot replace conservation of the rain forests because rain forest cannot be cut down and then reforested.”

A shadow has cast over Indonesia’s flagship REDD project

By Nick Oates, Climatico, 27 September 2011 | Indonesia’s flagship Rimba Raya REDD project was registered this year under one of the Voluntary Carbon Standard’s REDD methodologies, aiming to preserve “91,215 hectares of tropical peat swamp forest,” equivalent to an emissions reduction of 104,886,254 tonnes of CO2e over the crediting period of 30 years, according to the registration documents. The project has long been an exemplar of early action on REDD, hoping to bring the field in to the carbon markets. Indeed many expected it to be the first to issue REDD based carbon credits in the voluntary markets, but this title was taken by the Kenya Kasigau Corridor Project earlier this year. Despite the early success, a recent report by Reuters outlines how hopes for the Rimba Raya project have declined rapidly over the course of the past year.

[Indonesia] Three companies invest on Kalimantan food estate

By Sepudin Zuhri,, 27 September 2011 | Three companies are developing thousand hectares land in food estate area of Delta Kayan, Bengkulu District, East Kalimantan. They are PT Nusa Agro Mandiri, the owner of Solaria restaurant, working on 1,950 hectare area (ha), PT Miwon Indonesia on 3,245 ha with IDR450 billion investment, and state-owned PT Sang Hyang Seri (Persero) having 3,000 ha area. PT Nusa Agro Mandiri is going to explore on soybean and rice cultivation, as well as freshwater fish to cover its own needs. Director Aliuyanto confirmed that 1,950 ha land has been secured through right to cultivate in the food estate area of Delta kayan, Bulungan. “So far, Indonesia hasn’t still completed challenge to suffice food sustainability. Actually, we have enough land, but haven’t maximized the utilization yet,” he said while accompanying Agriculture Miniter Suswono in the food estate launching at Delta Kayan yesterday.

Discourse: Indonesia may use Norwegian funds for oil palm plantation

By Adisti Sukma Sawitri, Jakarta Post, 27 September 2011 | Would the Norwegian government object if Indonesia used the project money to expand its oil palm plantations, even in the degraded natural forest areas? Erik Solheim: “That is a feasible policy if it is already degraded land. We have seen some positive developments with some of the big palm oil producers wanting to adopt an environmentally friendly outlook. Some of them have accepted international verification for selling their products without destroying the forests.”

‘Green treasures’ could fuel a new economic sector, says Indonesian President

By Karin Holzknecht, CIFOR Forests Blog, 27 September 2011 | Opening the inaugural Forests Indonesia conference in Jakarta today, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called sustainable forests part of his plan for putting Indonesia’s economy in the global top 12 by 2025. “Indonesia, home to the third largest tropical forest in the world, views itself as the custodian of these great green treasures; and I want to keep it that way,” he said. “I ask you to join me in pledging to safeguard this national treasure, for the sake of our children.” The wealth of Indonesia’s forests can be counted in their rich biodiversity and the many valuable products they provide Indonesian people. Thanks to a funding mechanism known as REDD+, that wealth can also be counted in carbon.

Indonesia part of global solution to climate change

Antara News, 27 September 2011 | Indonesia is committed to be proactive and part of a global solution to climate change, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa has said. Marty made the statement at the general debate of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, September 26, 2011. “Through the REDD+ program, we are using our natural rain forests as an important part of our mitigation efforts,” Marty said. “Our commitment to work in partnership in addressing climate change must not founder in the face of the looming and renewed threat of global financial and economic crisis,” he added.

Norwegian Minister for Environment praises Indonesia’s fight against climate change

By Michelle Kovacevic, CIFOR Forests Blog, 27 September 2011 | Norway’s Minister for the Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim, has praised Indonesia’s commitment to the fight against climate change at today’s Forests Indonesia conference in Jakarta. “The president has issued an overall policy about how Indonesia will combat climate change…what he has done today is a very positive step in making Indonesia a world leader in the fight against climate change.” Solheim opened today’s conference Forests Indonesia: Alternative futures to meet demands for food, fibre, fuel and REDD+, hosted by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and in this video speaks of Norway’s involvement in the implementation of the bilateral agreement on REDD+, what Indonesia can learn from Brazil’s bilateral agreement and issues surrounding carbon offsets.

REDD+ in Mozambique: A new opportunity for land grabbers?

By Isilda Nhantumbo (IIED), AlertNet, 27 September 2011 | A land grab is on in my own country, Mozambique. For example, the government of Mozambique is allocating 60,000 square kilometres of land (7.6 percent of the country) in four of its provinces – Nampula, Niassa, Zambezia and Cabo Delgado – to 40 Brazilian farmers for commercial soy cultivation to supply the ever-expanding Chinese market… When sustainable forest management efforts to mitigate climate change evolved into REDD+, my optimism that something fundamental was about to change for the better was renewed… Needless to say, the optimism that I and others felt, was short lived. REDD+ is now driving a race for land in Mozambique. The good news is that there has been a national, consultative process to formulate a REDD+ strategy and identify pilot areas for protection within the country.

28 September 2011

[Indonesia] Why Investing in Forests is Win-Win for Communities, Climate and Orangutan Conservation

UNEP/GRID-Arendal press release, 28 September 2011 | Conserving key rainforests in Indonesia could generate revenues three times greater than felling them for palm oil plantations. In doing so, such actions can also deliver multiple Green Economy benefits from combating climate change, securing water supplies and improved livelihoods while throwing a life line to the world’s remaining populations of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans. The findings come in a new report, requested by the Republic of Indonesia, from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), under its Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP). Under the UN climate convention, governments are negotiating a mechanism to provide payments for REDD+, with the aim of halving deforestation by 2020. It is estimated that currently close to 18% of greenhouse gas emissions-equivalent to around six Gigatonnes (Gt) of C02- are linked with land use change, mainly through forest loss.

REDD+ Stakeholder Consultation Workshop in Panama

Climate Focus, 28 September 2011 | Climate Focus through the USAID-funded LEAF project has contributed a background paper on REDD+ finance for a REDD+ stakeholder consultation workshop in Panama on 2 October, 2011, sponsored by CMIA, the Ateneo School for Government, and the Swiss development cooperation Helvetas. The workshop forms part of the project ‘Towards a Governance Framework for REDD+ Financing’, which is a joint initiative between the Government of the Philippines and Switzerland, represented by the Climate Change Commission and the Confederation Suisse, respectively.

An Open Letter to Our Friends About the Current Situation in Bolivia

The Democracy Center, 28 September 2011 | The indigenous families that were attacked by police on that Sunday left their lands in the TIPNIS on August 15th to march nearly 400 miles to their nation’s capital and press their case against the road that would cut through the heart of their lands. President Morales had made it very clear that he was not interested in hearing any more of their arguments against the mainly Brazil-financed highway. In June he declared, “Whether you like it or not, we are going to build this road.”

Death in the Amazon: Brazil accused of protecting trees but not its people

By Tom Phillips and Gabriel Elizondo, The Guardian, 28 September 2011 | In recent years the Brazilian government has made significant progress in slowing the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest, reducing the area of forest lost, from 10,500 square miles in 2004 to just 2,300 square miles last year. But a spate of brutal killings have underscored an uncomfortable truth: the authorities can stop the felling of the trees to some extent, but not the cutting down of environmentalists.

[Guyana] Jagdeo assures Amaila hydropower is transparent

By Denis Scott Chabrol, Demerara Waves, 28 September 2011 | Amidst a swirl of controversy over the transparency of the Amaila Falls hydropower facility, President Bharrat Jagdeo has assured that the US$835 million deal is above board. “We are ensuring that the resources are spent transparently through a public open tender in both cases,” Jagdeo said at the commissioning of a new 15.6 megawatt electricity generating facility at the Guyana Power and Light’s Kingston power plant. Repeated concerns have been raised about the role of Fip Motilall in constructing a more than US$15 million road to the hydropower site and whether he would have been involved in constructing the actual generating facility. But the President ruled out Motilall’s role entirely.

[Guyana] Amaila Falls Hydro Project…Price tag now at staggering US$835M

Kaieteur News, 28 September 2011 | Government yesterday announced that the price tag on the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project could near a staggering US$835M, more than US$100M in excess of the cost that the developers Sithe Global had indicated earlier this year. The figure was announced by President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday during the commissioning of a US$18.4M Wartsila plant at Kingston. According to Jagdeo, that cost of the 165-megawatts hydro power project includes both construction and the “costs of capital”.

The Future of Indonesian Forests

By Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Jakarta Globe, 28 September 2011 | We must change the way we treat our forests so that they are conserved even as we drive hard to accelerate our economic growth. We must intensify our efforts to cut down emissions from land use, land use change and forestry exploitation. These factors account for up to 85 percent of Indonesia’s entire greenhouse gas emissions… Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the sixth president of Indonesia. This text is adapted from his speech at the Cifor-hosted Forests Indonesia Conference on Tuesday.

Green economy must benefit local communities, says Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force

By Rachel Rivera, CIFOR Forests Blog, 28 September 2011 | To achieve the low-carbon future envisioned by REDD+, local communities must reap the economic benefits of safeguarding Indonesia’s forests, said REDD+ Task Force Chairman Kuntoro Mangkusubroto at yesterday’s Forests Indonesia conference. “In order for low carbon growth to be successful, we must make it relevant to the local communities whose prosperity depends on addressing the scarcity of our natural resources,” Kuntoro, head of the Presidential Working Unit on Development Monitoring (UKP4), told a gathering of nearly 1,000 business leaders, government officials, development experts and international donors at the event hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

[Indonesia] President vows to dedicate himself to forest preservation

Antara News, 28 September 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said, during the last three years of his presidency, he would dedicate himself to efforts to preserve the country`s forests. “For my part, I will continue my work and dedicate myself during the last three years as president to the achievement of things that will preserve and sustain the environment and forests of Indonesia,” the head of state said in his speech before participants of Forests Indonesia Conference here on Tuesday. He emphasized the importance of conserving the forests and reducing emissions from land use, land use changes and forest exploitation which account for up to 85 percent of Indonesia`s entire greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable economic growth is possible in Indonesia, says World Bank

By Ruth Raymond, CIFOR Forests Blog, 28 September 2011 | Indonesia can achieve major economic growth through expansion of its timber and palm oil industries while employing the carbon emission reduction mechanism REDD+, said Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank at the Forests Indonesia conference yesterday. “Implementing REDD will help move Indonesia toward more intensive land use, better forest management practices, more efficiency and long term economic gains.” said Steer. “We watch Indonesia with great admiration…if they succeed it will be a massive gift to the world and to Indonesia itself.” The chief drivers of Indonesia’s economy today include communications, trade and manufacturing and transport. The country is home to the world’s third-largest area of tropical forests and is the largest producer of palm oil.

29 September 2011

Workshop on the potential synergies between REDD+ and sustainable agriculture

Proforest, 29 September 2011 | On 15 and 16 September the Proforest Initiative facilitated a workshop convened by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Prince’s Rainforest Project entitled ‘REDD+ and Agricultural Drivers of Deforestation: Informing REDD+ Strategies and Programmes’ at Kensington Palace, London. The workshop brought together more than 50 participants ranging from governments to agricultural roundtables, NGOs and private sector companies. The UK government has established a £2.9 billion International Climate Fund (ICF) to support developing countries’ adaptation to climate change and low carbon growth over the period 2011-2014. DFID, through the ICF, aims to invest £600 million in projects that can deliver a positive impact in terms of improved forest governance, land use planning and livelihoods while reducing deforestation and GHG emissions.

Trees Win Big as Forest Carbon Surges to Record Year

Ecosystem Marketplace, 29 September 2011 | Investors and buyers have funneled record amounts of capital into forestry projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by conserving forests and capturing carbon in trees, according to a global survey of carbon market participants published on Thursday by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace. The report, “State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011: From Canopy to Currency,” documents a record $175 million flowing to support forest carbon projects in 2010, representing commitments to sequester enough carbon to offset nearly 30 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. “Contracts for forest carbon offsets more than doubled over the past two years, likely due to international policy discussions, and increased awareness of the critical role forests play in sequestering carbon,” says Katherine Hamilton, Ecosystem Marketplace’s Director and a report author.

Forest carbon projects rake in $178 million in 2010

By Jeremy Hance,, 29 September 2011 | Investors funneled $178 million into forest carbon projects intended to mitigate global climate change last year, according to a new report by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace. By trading a record 30.1 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtC02e), the market saw a 48 percent rise over 2009—including a rise in private investors over non-profits as well as greater support for the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) program—shows that the burgeoning market may be beginning to make good on its promise to provide funds to save forests for their ecosystem services with an initial focus on carbon. “Contracts for forest carbon offsets more than doubled over the past two years, likely due to international policy discussions, and increased awareness of the critical role forests play in sequestering carbon,” says Katherine Hamilton, Ecosystem Marketplace’s Director, in a press release.

No demand for int’l offsets in California until 2015: expert

Point Carbon, 29 September 2011 | Demand for international offsets in California’s cap-and-trade system is unlikely to emerge until the latter half of the decade since state regulators are likely to focus on credits from local projects at the start of the program, an expert said Wednesday. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Forest Carbon Portal, 29 September 2011 | The big day is finally here. After months of investigation and analysis the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011: From Canopy to Currency has been released. This is Ecosystem Marketplace’s second annual report giving readers an in-depth look at what’s happening in today’s market, and what might be happening down the road. The take aways from this year’s report are sure to generate some discussion, and here are some of the findings to whet your appetite: First, 2010 marked a dramatic increase in the volume and value of credits, dramatically outpacing the market activity we observed in our last State of the Forest Carbon Markets report that covered transactions up to mid-2009. The 2010 surge in credit generation has been fueled to a great extent by large Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects.

CIFOR Studying the Effectiveness of REDD+ Forest Allowances

CGIAR, 29 September 2011 | In the fight against climate change, an international mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is being championed as a possible solution. REDD+ has already resulted in many tropical forest countries developing policies and initiating projects aimed at reducing emissions. However, given the urgency of climate change, the world cannot afford to wait for the results of decade-long pilot projects to be made known. The information is needed, and it is needed now. To aid the research and knowledge-sharing process, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and its partner organizations are undertaking a Global Comparative Study (GCS) on REDD+ pilot projects in South America, Africa and Asia.

Brazilian judge orders construction of Amazon dam to stop

By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 29 September 2011 | A Brazilian judge has ordered construction to be suspended on a controversial hydroelectric dam in the Amazon. In his ruling, Judge Carlos Castro Martins said that all working on the Belo Monte dam that interfered with the natural course of the Xingu river should be halted because of the risk that fish stocks would be damaged. The £7bn dam would reputedly be the third largest in the world, after China’s Three Gorges and the Itaipu project on the Brazil-Paraguay border. The injunction is the latest development in a decades-long battle against the Belo Monte dam, plans for which were conceived in the mid-1970s but subsequently shelved after protests.

Contrary to APNU’s empty & rhetorical statement… Amerindians are the largest land owners in Guyana

Guyana Chronicle, 29 September 2011 | In Guyana, where the Indigenous People account for approximately 9.1% of the population, they own 14.1% of the land including the forests resources within their Titled Lands, making them the largest land owners in Guyana. This fact was reiterated yesterday by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, in a statement debunking erroneous claims and suggestions by the recently formed A Partnership for National Unity (APNU). On Monday, APNU issued a statement to the media, outlining its policy towards the indigenous people of Guyana, should it be elected to office at the upcoming general elections. But the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, responded in a statement yesterday. “Lest the people misconstrue that the APNU statements are original and authentic, well, they are NOT. The basic rights as identified by APNU are based on ILO’s Convention 169 which lays bare minimum standards for the development of Indigenous peoples,” the ministry stated.

[Guyana] Amaila hydropower project cost shoots up by $200M

Stabroek News, 29 September 2011 | An increase in the projected cost of the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Plant (AFHEP) by more than US$200 million has been attributed by Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon to the “escalation” of associated costs connected with financing and materials for the project. President Bharrat Jagdeo, while delivering the feature address at the commissioning ceremony for GPL’s 15.6 MW expansion to its power plant on Tuesday, indicated that the… [R-M: Subscription needed]

Norwegian Environment Minister reassures Indonesia that forest conservation is “good for business”

By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests Blog, 29 September 2011 | Erik Solheim, Norwegian Minister for the Environment, reassured leaders in the Indonesian paper, pulp and palm oil industries that the conservation of forests would lead to greater business opportunities, and that countries like Brazil were proof of its success. “Can Indonesia conserve the forest and continue with 6 to 7 percent economic growth? The answer is yes. Brazil has shown that you can reduce deforestation, drive business and investment, while at the same time embarking on schemes to reduce poverty.”

Indonesia pledges forest conservation, 29 September 2011 | Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says he will dedicate the final three years of his presidency to protect his country’s rainforest. Indonesia has the world’s third largest area of tropical forest after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo but it is losing about 1.1 million hectares of forest a year, mostly due to logging for the conversion of forests to plantations for palm oil and to supply the pulp and paper industry. Since 1950 Indonesia has lost more than 46 percent of its forests. Illegal logging costs the country an estimated $4 billion a year.

Indonesian companies seek guidelines to engage in REDD+

By Rachel Rivera, CIFOR Forests Blog, 29 September 2011 | Indonesian business leaders have urged the government to clarify guidelines for private sector involvement in REDD+, signaling their readiness to engage in the climate change initiative to protect the nation’s forests and cut carbon emissions. Speaking at the Forests Indonesia Conference on Tuesday, which drew nearly 1,000 participants from government, civil society and industry, Shinta Kamdani, Vice Chair on Environment and Climate Change at the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (KADIN), said companies needed to understand how to incorporate REDD+ in their business operations and how they would benefit from the program. “The private sector finds it very difficult to assess the feasibility of REDD+ projects and how to make them implementable,” Shinta said at the conference hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “We need a clear value proposition that businesses can move forward.”

U.S. and Indonesia Announce $28.5 Million Debt Swap to Protect Borneo’s Tropical Forests

WWF & TNC press release, 29 September 2011 | The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are joining with the Indonesian and U.S. Governments today to sign a debt-for-nature swap agreement that will result in a new $28.5 million investment to help protect tropical forests in three districts of Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The deal will create models for forest conservation and sustainable economic development in Borneo, the third-largest island in the world, home to unique species such as orangutans, gibbons, clouded leopards, “pygmy” elephants, hornbills, and up to 15,000 flowering plants. The districts of Berau and Kutai Barat in East Kalimantan Province and Kapuas Hulu in West Kalimantan Province each contain carbon-rich tropical forest and vast biodiversity under threat from unsustainable natural resource extraction. These forests can serve as examples of sustainable development to the rest of Indonesia and the world.

30 September 2011

[Canada] Ignoring climate change could cost $43B by 2050

By Mike De Souza, Montreal Gazette, 30 September 2011 | Canada’s environment minister says his government is not surprised that its own advisory panel on business and environmental issues is warning that greenhouse gas emissions could cost the Canadian economy up to $43 billion each year by 2050 if it fails to come up with a domestic plan to tackle global warming. The groundbreaking assessment, submitted to government by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, is the first of its kind to analyze Canadian trends in the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, population and the economy, in the context of climate change science.

Women Left Out of U.N. Forest Plan

By Emilio Godoy, IPS, 30 September 2011 | Despite the growing participation of women in forestry projects in Mexico, the national strategy for the United Nations-led REDD+ forest plan in this country lacks a gender focus. Women involved in forest initiatives in different parts of Mexico told IPS that they were not familiar with REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), and said the government of conservative President Felipe Calderón had not consulted them on designing programmes for the possible implementation of the strategy in 2012. “I don’t know anything about that project. No one has explained it to me,” Alma Reyes told IPS. She is secretary of the common lands committee – a local government body – in San Miguel and Santo Tomás Ajusco, communities to the south of Mexico City that include 7,600 hectares of forest in their territories.

Forest carbon markets grow, despite uncertainty

Environmental Finance, 30 September 2011 | A surge in activity around projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) has helped boost the value of the forest carbon markets – despite lingering uncertainty about their future, according to a survey. The State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011 report, published yesterday by information provider Ecosystem Marketplace, says that 30.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) were contracted last year, valued at $178 million in total. These figures cover both primary deals – made directly with a project – and subsequent secondary market transactions in both the voluntary and regulated carbon markets. However, the vast majority (29.0 MtCO2e) of deals were in the primary market, and about two-thirds (19.5 MtCO2e) of that was from REDD projects. Other project types tracked in the survey were improved forestry management, afforestation/reforestation and agro-forestry.

Myanmar to stop construction of controversial dam

AP, 30 September 2011 | Myanmar’s president called Friday for a halt to construction of a controversial Chinese-backed hydroelectric dam in the country’s north, a move that had been called for by the country’s pro-democracy movement. President Thein Sein said in a note read out in parliament that construction of the $3.6 billion Myitsone dam project in Kachin state should be suspended. The call is tantamount to suspension, since the government holds a large and well-disciplined majority in parliament.

[Mexico] Fewer Farms = More Forest = Less Biodiversity?

By Christine Padoch, CIFOR Forests Blog, 30 September 2011 | If clearing tropical forests for agriculture is a major cause of the ongoing catastrophic decline in biodiversity, conventional thinking would have us believe that reducing the number of farms and allowing the forests to expand should help reverse that decline, at least locally. However, a recent article by researchers James P. Robson and Fikret Berkes of the University of Manitoba suggests that this assumption may not invariably be true. Their paper, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, is based on field research in Mexico’s Oaxaca State, a region of both exceptionally high biological and cultural diversity. The two indigenous communities they studied in depth are losing farms and gaining forests as residents leave their fields and orchards to move to cities or seek off-farm sources of income. But, the authors argue, the community territories may actually be getting less biologically diverse as well.

[Indonesia] President must give support to make fine words a reality

By Faith Doherty, EIA International, 30 September 2011 | I have been in Jakarta this week, on invitation from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), to speak at the Forests Indonesia Conference it was hosting; not usually something to write home about, but something happened during the day that was quite extraordinary. The opening key speech was given by the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. I don’t know of many countries where the leader of any nation will not only open a meeting on forests, but also make a pledge of such consequence as he did. “I will continue my work and dedicate the last three years of my term as President to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia,” he said. That’s a pretty big statement to make. The question is, can he seriously deliver on the commitments made by Indonesia?

[Indonesia]SBY set to discuss greenhouse emissions, REDD

Jakarta Post, 30 September 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to head the National Council for Climate Change (DNPI) coordination meeting at the Presidential Palace on Friday. “This is a routine meeting that is held twice a year. The agenda for the meeting is a report on the activities of the chairman and to receive instructions from the President,” special presidential staff for the environment Agus Purnomo said. Agus added that the chairman of the REDD+ task force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, would discuss mechanisms to reduce greenhouse emissions, as well as the REDD+ mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “The meeting this time is quite special because it will [discuss] the national act on reducing greenhouse emissions and REDD+,” he said as reported by

1 October 2011

Analysis: World divided on new plan to combat global warming

By David Fogarty, Reuters, 1 October 2011 | A new plan to curb global warming risks becoming a battleground between rich and poor nations and could struggle to get off the ground as negotiators battle over the fate of the ailing Kyoto climate pact. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol covers only emissions from rich nations that produce less than a third of mankind’s carbon pollution and its first phase is due to expire end-2012. Poorer nations want it extended, while many rich countries say a broader pact is needed to include all big polluters. Australia and Norway have proposed negotiations on a new agreement, but say it is unrealistic to expect that to be ready by 2013. They have set a target date two years later, in 2015.

Panama talks part of attempt to end climate deadlock

AFP, 1 October 2011 | Negotiators will look at ways to keep alive global efforts to fight climate change as they meet in Panama, with barely a year to go before commitments run out under the Kyoto Protocol. In what has been described as a dress rehearsal for the closely watched UN conference in Durban, South Africa, starting Nov. 28, climate envoys from around the world are holding a week of talks starting Saturday in Panama City. The Panama talks will look to lay the groundwork for a broad deal that would include national commitments to curb carbon emissions blamed for rising temperatures and guidelines on distributing billions of dollars in aid to small islands and other poor countries seen as most vulnerable to climate change. “Countries seem to be looking for a package that comes out of Durban that will maintain the momentum, but I don’t think the level of ambition is very high,” said Tasneem Essop, head of climate strategy and advocacy at environmental group WWF.

Developing countries united under UN agency to counter deforestation

The International, 1 October 2011 | Though it is the first UN initiative to focus solely on the issue of sustainable forest management, UN-REDD has been criticized for neglecting the rights of indigenous communities. Rainforest Foundation Norway voiced disapproval that there is no explicit wording in the UN-REDD treaty ensuring indigenous rights, and expressed the belief that the program’s proposals undermined the rights guaranteed to indigenous groups under existing international agreements. Joji Carino, the director of TEBTEBBA, the Indigenous People’s International Center for Policy Research and Education, a non-profit indigenous rights advocacy group based in the Philippines that has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, believes that programmes like UN-REDD can lead to land claims and the eviction of indigenous people.

Leaked LULUCF Loophole Text

CAN International, 1 October 2011 | ECO just found (under a delegates desk) the draft final decision on LULUCF for Durban. In the interest of full transparency, we reproduce it here. Decision -/CMP.7 Land use, land use change and forestry … Recognising the need to change jargon frequently, as with force majeure natural disturbance, Hiding forest management emissions beneath unrealistically inflated reference level projections … Overlooking the urgent need to reduce emissions in all sectors, Undermining the ultimate objective of the Convention, Wondering if we will get away with this, Decides that each Party in Annex B can account for LULUCF activities however it likes, Further decides that other Parties shall not use this transparent accounting scam as an excuse to fiddle their own LULUCF or REDD accounting.

With Deaths of Forests, a Loss of Crucial Climate Protectors

By Justin Gillis, New York Times, 1 October 2011 | The devastation extends worldwide. The great euphorbia trees of southern Africa are succumbing to heat and water stress. So are the Atlas cedars of northern Algeria. Fires fed by hot, dry weather are killing enormous stretches of Siberian forest. Eucalyptus trees are succumbing on a large scale to a heat blast in Australia, and the Amazon recently suffered two “once a century” droughts just five years apart, killing many large trees. Experts are scrambling to understand the situation, and to predict how serious it may become.

Faith Doherty interviewed at Forests Indonesia Conference

EIA International, 1 October 2011 | EIA Head of Forests Campaign Faith Doherty has been in Jakarta this week at the Forests Indonesia Conference, hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). In this interview from the Conference, she discusses the outlook for Indonesia’s forests and what approaches the Government of Indonesia needs to adopt to secure their future, as well as issues such as REDD+ and the vital importance of engaging with civil society in framing and implementing timber regulations.

UK welcomes Indonesia’s lead in protecting forests

UK government press release, 1 October 2011 | Work to tackle illegal logging has taken a step forward with the news that Indonesia has become the fifth country to sign a voluntary partnership agreement with the EU to protect its forests which will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia is leading the way in Asia and has one of the biggest areas of forest in the world. Six countries have now signed agreements with the EU, and another four are in negotiation. Speaking at the ‘Forests Indonesia’ conference in Jakarta, Environment Minister Jim Paice said: “If we’re going to stop the decline in biodiversity, we need to protect the forests which house the majority of the world’s species. And we can’t address climate change properly unless we deal with deforestation. I’m delighted that Indonesia has signed up to this agreement and I hope other countries in Asia will follow their lead.”

[Indonesia] President calls for better synergy to meet climate change targets

By Nana Afrida, Jakarta Post, 1 October 2011 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Friday that Indonesia was still facing many hurdles in carrying out its climate change agenda, including what he said was “poor coordination” among government officials, businessmen and civil society. “The [climate change] program is not only a national agenda, but an international one as well. We should be able to address the problem with a better solution. We don’t want to lose this because [to do so would mean] we cannot achieve the higher agenda,” the President said during a meeting with representatives from the National Council of Climate Change (DNPI) and several ministers at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.

Indonesia savours fruits of the forest

By Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 1 October 2011 | At a low-key meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s most trusted advisers at the UN General Assembly in New York this month, Australia strengthened its commitment to one of the world’s most ambitious environmental ideals. The $70 million funds that so far have been pledged by Australia are only a token figure in a plan that could transform Indonesian social and economic life. The goal is to use carbon trading markets to revolutionise land management across the Indonesian archipelago, to conserve pristine forests, rebuild degraded lands, improve agricultural productivity, protect threatened wildlife and deliver economic empowerment directly to impoverished communities. When combined with similar efforts in the Republic of Congo in Africa and the Amazon Basin it is a market that could be worth an estimated $15 billion a year.

2 October 2011

Factbox: Australia-Norway plan to rescue U.N. climate talks

Reuters, 2 October 2011 | Australia and Norway have crafted a proposal they hope will get troubled global climate talks back on track and win agreement on a broader climate pact by 2015. If they succeed, it could mean a new climate deal could go into force by 2018 once nations sign and parliaments ratify the pact. But the idea is likely to face resistance from developing countries, which back an extension to the existing Kyoto Protocol. Following are the main details from Australia and Norway’s September 16 submission to the United Nations climate change secretariat.

[Guyana] Amaila Falls – a case of too much money for the wrong reasons?

Kaieteur News, 2 October 2011 | One of the Sithe Global Vice Presidents, James McGowan, in a private conversation said that the project could cost as much as US$1 billion. So, when President Jagdeo announced that the cost of the project would be US$835 million there were raised eyebrows. He had moved the cost closer to the prediction by Mr McGowan. Both of the private dailies made the new cost their main headlines. Kaieteur News saw the increase as being in the vicinity of US$385 million. Stabroek News saw it as being some US$200 million. The tender had already come in and the cost was supposed to be fixed, so why this increase? President Jagdeo, in his address to the opening of GuyExpo on Thursday, said that the previous contract made no mention of risk insurance so the government has gone after political risk insurance. He placed this figure at some US$50 million.

Hydro project the ‘epicenter’ of corruption – Ramjattan

Kaieteur News, 2 October 2011 | Jacking up the cost of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project represents an attempt by the government to fatten the pockets of some of its officials for the rest of their lives, Presidential Candidate of the Alliance for Change, Khemraj Ramjattan, said yesterday. Only four months ago, the developers of the project, Sithe Global, had issued a guarantee that the project would be US$650 million… Ramjattan rubbished the government’s explanation that the price increase for commodities is what has driven the cost of the project up, saying that it is an avenue through which Government cronies could get a “permanent kick back.” He described the project, which would effectively become the largest infrastructure project in Guyana, as the ‘epicenter’ of corruption, given the price tag and the potential kick backs. He said that this sort of corruption is typical with large infrastructure projects in this country.

Government still guessing on Amaila project costs

Stabroek News, 2 October 2011 | Former project manager for the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Charles Sohan says that the government needs to be more transparent with the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric project (AFHEP) and should explain how the project’s estimated price could increase by more than US$200M before it has even been finalized. “Something doesn’t sound right,” Sohan said adding that “they [the government] are still guessing” on a project that hasn’t been finalized. The AFHEP is expected to be a 165 MW facility at the Amaila and Kuribrong rivers. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

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