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REDD in the news, 7-13 November 2011

REDD in the news, 7-13 November 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.

Occupy COP17, no date | From 28 November to 9 December the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be taking place in Durban, South Africa. This is where decisions on how to avert catastrophic climate change and protect our environment are meant to take place. Instead the very same people responsible for the global financial crisis are poised to seize control of our atmosphere, land, forests, mountains and waterways. They want to institute carbon markets that will make billions of dollars for the elite few, whilst stealing land and resources from the many. We need to organise to protect the planet and safeguard those who depend on and defend our ecosystems.

Understanding forest-dependency for REDD+

REDD-net, 2011 | This briefing paper illustrates how participatory assessment tools can inform REDD+ decision-making about important links between forests and livelihoods. The Forests‐Poverty Toolkit is a rural assessment tool and it contributes to a better understanding of the full extent of the direct, non-cash contribution of forests to livelihoods. It also collects data on villagers’ assessments of the drivers of deforestation through time, and of the key current forest problems in their area and their potential solutions.

Progress in Panama But Big Challenges Ahead in Durban

By Meena Raman, South Bulletin 57, November 2011 | On the issue of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD-plus), according to the report back by the facilitator of the informal group, Parties had explored financing options for results-based actions in implementing forest-related activities and considered what results-based actions were. A vast majority of Parties wanted a decision on REDD-plus finance for its full implementation. The facilitator was able to produce a non-paper, which was a “placeholder text” which was an outline rather than a negotiating document. The facilitator asked Parties to submit views and proposals, which the secretariat will compile so that Parties can begin work in having a full text for negotiations in Durban.

GFP REDD special edition: COP17 Durban, 28 Nov – 9 Dec 2011

Growing Forest Partnerships, no date | A special ‘REDD’ edition of the GFP newsletter is now available, covering REDD-related news and stories from GFP activities across the globe. The newsletter, along with other GFP and G3 materials, will be available at the IIED, FAO, and IUCN stands at COP17 in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011. As COP17 draws near, we’ve been gathering together stories and news of REDD-related activities across Growing Forest Partnerships with the help of in-country teams and the GFP journalists.

7 November 2011

IEA economist: ‘We have to leave oil before it leaves us

EurActiv, 7 November 2011 | The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s annual World Energy Outlook, due for publication on 9 November, will contain alarming research that the world is on track for a catastrophic rise in global temperatures unless fossil fuel subsidies are cut, energy efficiency is improved, and more countries introduce some form of carbon pricing. Fatih Birol is the IEA’s chief economist, tasked with overseeing the World Energy Outlook reports, the Energy Business Council, and the organisation’s economic analyses of energy and climate change policy. He spoke to EurActiv’s environment correspondent, Arthur Neslen.

Locals ‘can play key role in helping forests recover’

By Mark Kinver, BBC News, 7 November 2011 | Involving local groups has been a key factor in halting the loss of forest cover in the Asia-Pacific region, a UN study has concluded. The report found that low-cost projects offered communities an incentive to protect the habitats in return for job opportunities and income sources. Such schemes also enhanced ecosystems, restored biodiversity and increase carbon storage, the authors added. The results were published at the start of the UN Asia-Pacific Forestry Week.

Experts, leaders call for comprehensive approach on forestry issues

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 7 November 2011 | Policy makers should approach forestry issues in a comprehensive manner, taking into account the multiple functions that forests have as well as the variety of actors and sectors impacting and being affected by policies in forestry, said experts at the opening of the Asia Pacific Forestry Week (APFW) in Beijing yesterday. “As long as governments tend to treat forestry as a very narrow issue, we’ll face challenges in achieving sustainable forest management,” said Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests. Major changes cannot be attained through piecemeal improvements only, she said.

REDD+ platform meeting

Tropenbos International, 7 November 2011 | On 16 November 2011, Tropenbos International, together with WWF-NL, the Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is organising a REDD+ platform meeting.

Indonesian commandos ‘terrorise’ villagers in fresh West Papua brutality

By Nick Chesterfield, Pacific Scoop, 7 November 2011 | Indonesian army (TNI) commandos have terrorised and severely beaten villagers in Kurulu District in Puncak Jaya in another show of extreme brutality against West Papuan civilians, report human rights sources. Soldiers from the Kostrad (Strategic Reserve) Battalion 755 stationed at the Kurulu army post stormed the village of Umpagalo, near Wamena, on the night of November 2, breaking up a meeting and severely beating 12 men, including 3 West Papua National Committee (KNPB) members. This comes after a series of violent events across Papua in recent months, and just hours before a horrific attack on a student in nearby Wamena town, when Yusuf Hiluka, 23, was set alight with glue by two officers from Satpol PP (Satuan Polisi Pamong Praja), the district civil security unit.

Greenpeace Can’t Prove Indonesian Rainforest Used for Packaging: APP

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Jakarta Globe, 7 November 2011 | Environment group Greenpeace Asia Pacific is sticking to claims that paper company Asia Pulp & Paper used Indonesian rainforest fiber in toy packaging. Following a press release from APP rejecting the claim, Greenpeace’s forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said the activists stood by their assertion. In its release, APP said that Greenpeace had sent samples of paper packaging APP made for toys such as Barbie to be analyzed to determine the origin of its raw materials. According to APP, the US-based paper-testing company, Integrated Paper Services, never made any determination about the country of origin of fibers in the products it analyzed for Greenpeace.

8 November 2011

Olympic athletes to train on timber from ‘endangered’ forests

By Kevin Rawlinson, The Independent, 8 November 2011 | Though it does not contravene any law, the logging is opposed by environmental groups. Tim Birch, Chief executive of Markets for Change, which led a six-month investigation into the trade, tracing the wood from Tasmania to the London 2012 site, said: “Tasmania’s ancient forests, which offer crucial habitat to endangered species like the Tasmanian Devil and the Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle, are being trashed so that plywood can be sold on to the international markets. “It’s a tragedy that this time the trail of destruction has led to London’s Olympic Games so America’s international sports stars could be forced to play on forest destruction.”

China’s greenhouse gas vent threat in bid to extort billions

EIA International press release, 8 November 2011 | In the run-up to the international climate negotiations in Durban later this month, China has responded to efforts to ban the trading of widely discredited HFC-23 offsets by threatening to release huge amounts of the potent industrial chemical into the atmosphere unless other nations pay what amounts to a climate ransom… In a shocking attempt to blackmail the international community, Xie Fei, revenue management director at the China Clean Development Mechanism Fund, threatened: “If there’s no trading of [HFC-23] credits, they’ll stop incinerating the gases” and vent them directly into the atmosphere. Speaking at the Carbon Forum Asia in Singapore last week, Xei Fei claimed he spoke for “almost all the big Chinese producers of HFCs” who “can’t bear the cost” and maintain that “they’ll lose competitiveness”.

Guidelines for REDD+ Reference Levels: Principles and Recommendations

Meridian Institute, 8 November 2011 | This report proposes guidelines for developing REDD+ reference levels (RLs) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It identifies principles that should be adhered to, the steps that must be taken, the data that will be required, and shows how the data can be analyzed to produce scientifically credible estimates of historic GHG emissions and removals from forests, which can then be used to project RLs.

Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities and REDD+

WWF, 8 November 2011 | WWF believes that REDD+ is a key to effective climate change mitigation but needs to integrate strong social and environmental safeguards. WWF’s Guiding Principles for REDD+ emphasize respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and contributions to community livelihoods. Effective REDD+ programmes must ensure that risks are reduced and incentives for community stewardship are strengthened.

Where Forestry Gets it Right… Even if Complexities Persist

By Prabha Chandran, RECOFTC’s Blog, 8 November 2011 | RECOFTC’s Manager for Strategic Communications, Prabha Chandran, is blogging from Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW) in Beijing… The favorite adjective this morning was “complex.” It featured in the opening Plenary session presentations by both Jan McAlpine, head of United Nations Forum on Forests, and Dr Andrew Steer, World Bank Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change. How complex? “Of the 6.5 billion dollars in the Climate Investment Fund managed by the World Bank, only US$ 300 million – less than one percent – is invested in forests,” says Andrew Steer. ”You’re competing with sectors like renewable energy and transport, and even if forests emit more green house gases than every plane, train or car in the world, they are still attracting much less investment.”

Will the voluntary market live to plant another tree?

By Sophie Vorrath, Climate Spectator, 8 November 2011 | Freddy Sharpe is excited about Australia’s voluntary carbon market. All it needs, says the CEO of carbon management advisor group Climate Friendly, are some “very large and very ballsy investors,” because once the value of this market is demonstrated, Sharpe says, “it’ll be off to the races”. But is the future for the voluntary carbon market – a market that currently makes up less than 1 per cent of the global carbon market – really this bright? Is there really money to be made? And how will the introduction of the government’s mandatory carbon scheme affect it?

Australia passes landmark carbon price laws

By James Grubel, Reuters, 8 November 2011 | Australia passed landmark laws on Tuesday to impose a price on carbon emissions in one of the biggest economic reforms in a decade and injecting new impetus into December’s global climate talks in South Africa. Tuesday’s vote in the upper house Senate made Australia the second major economy behind the European Union to pass carbon-limiting legislation. Tiny New Zealand has a similar scheme.

Guyana to access Norway funds after elections – President

By Johann Earle, Guyana Chronicle, 8 November 2011 | President Bharrat Jagdeo is confident that after the elections are over, Guyana will be able to tap into the Norway funds already deposited in a World Bank account, to finance a range of projects aimed at solidifying Guyana on a low-carbon development pathway. Tied up in the Norway funds is money that government hopes to use to provide equity financing for the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, the demarcation of Amerindian lands, and the provision of solar panels for Amerindian communities. The hydro project is being given heavy focus during the PPP/C elections campaign, and it is a feature of every speech that Presidential Candidate Donald Ramotar gives on the campaign trail. “The position is the same so far…the money is deposited. It’s US$70 million,” the President said in a comment to the Guyana Chronicle on Friday night.

West Papua’s cry for help

By William Lloyd George, Al Jazeera, 8 November 2011 | According to Jago Wadley, senior forest campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency, if the fast rate of resource extraction continues, Papua will “lose millions of hectares of forests and be stripped of valuable resources without the benefits of value-adding industries to create wealth and jobs locally”. Instead, only foreign companies, Jakarta and a small group of Papuan elites will benefit. Wadley adds that the rising interest in Papua’s resources “will see an influx of millions of migrants from other parts of Indonesia, likely limiting indigenous Papuans to a tiny minority in their own land”. Some commentators, he notes, see the rapid development as “politically ideological in its aims” and an “effective foil to calls for independence”.

9 November 2011

World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 9 November 2011 | “The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, told the Guardian. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.” Every month now counts: if the world is to stay below 2C of warming, which scientists regard as the limit of safety, then emissions must be held to no more than 450ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the level is currently around 390ppm. But the world’s existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of that “carbon budget”, according to a new analysis by the IEA, published on Wednesday. This gives an ever-narrowing gap in which to reform the global economy on to a low-carbon footing.

World failing to reduce carbon intensity — PwC

By Sue Blaine, BusinessDay, 9 November 2011 | SA’s “carbon intensity” dropped by 1,2% last year compared with the previous year, global professional services firm PwC said in a report that it released on Monday. Carbon intensity is the amount of emissions per unit of gross domestic product, and was chosen by PwC as the preferred measurement for its low-carbon economy index, the third edition of which was released this week. The index looks at the amount of “decarbonisation” needed to be made each year until 2050. The problem is that SA’s reduction is not matched on a global scale. The PwC report shows that last year the carbon intensity of the global economy rose 0,6%. This makes it difficult to achieve the internationally agreed target to limit average global temperature increases to 2°C.

Forestry needs to spend international funding more quickly, efficiently

By Leony Aurora, CIFOR Forests Blog, 9 November 2011 | Policy makers and practitioners need to find ways to spend international funding for forestry projects more quickly and efficiently to show that they can be implemented and benefit local communities, which will bring more political and bigger financial support as new climate funds flow in. A typical forestry project is difficult as it requires a multi-sectoral approach due to the different industries and actors affected by it, said Andrew Steer, Special Envoy for Climate Change at the World Bank, at the opening of the second Asia Pacific Forestry Week in Beijing. While partners are indispensable in such projects, “we do need to be careful that these partnerships are adding values, moving us to where we want to reasonably quickly and efficiently,” he said.

Conservation International Enters into Groundbreaking Partnership with Althelia Climate Fund on REDD+ Investments

Conservation International press release, 9 November 2011 | Conservation International (CI) announced today that it has entered into a partnership with the Althelia Climate Fund (ACF), a newly formed investment fund that will focus on sustainable land use, ecosystem services and forest carbon assets generated by projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). In addition to providing up-front bridge financing of $1.35 million to help jump start the ACF, CI will be an integral part of the Fund and its development through its participation in ACF’s Expert Board, which will guide the Fund’s investment strategy and ensure potential investments meet best practice standards.

Amazon: an exhibition in aid of Sky Rainforest Rescue – in pictures

The Guardian, 9 November 2011 | Award-winning photographers Sebastião Salgado and Per-Anders Pettersson are taking part in Amazon, an exhibition in aid of Sky Rainforest Rescue – a partnership between WWF and Sky that aims to help save 1 billion trees in the state of Acre, in north-west Brazil. Here is a selection of images from the free exhibition, that runs until 4 December at Somerset House, London.

Wilmar Misses Forecast, Eyes Palm Oil and Sugar Price Rises

By Harry Suhartono, Jakarta Globe, 9 November 2011 | Wilmar International said on Wednesday that higher prices will support its palm oil and sugar businesses, sounding bullish after missing earnings expectations despite an almost 24 percent jump in net profit from a year earlier. Wilmar’s lower-than-expected earnings were linked to a foreign exchange loss and weaker margins as the rise in cost of feedstock outpaced the price rise. Wilmar’s results compared to a 66 percent drop in the earnings of US agribusiness and trading firm Cargill, while Bunge, the world’s largest oilseed processor and among the top sugar and ethanol producers, saw its earnings decline by a third. “The group remains positive of its prospects, despite uncertainties in the global economy, due to the resilience in the demand for agricultural commodities,” the company said in a statement.

Greenpeace Cries Foul as Eviction Papers Are Served

By Elisabeth Oktofani and Dofa Fasila, Jakarta Globe, 9 November 2011 | “The continued attacks against Greenpeace started when we launched our global campaign against Asia Pulp and Paper by exposing evidence of APP forest destruction in early June this year,” he said. He declined, however, to say who Greenpeace believed was behind the smear campaign. “Although we know who it is, we don’t want to mention the particular company or party because we don’t have a capacity to investigate it,” Hikmat said. The statements came as the Jakarta Building Control and Monitoring Office (P2B) said it had served notice to Greenpeace on Wednesday about the closure and would proceed with sealing off its office on Jalan Kemang Utara in South Jakarta next Monday.

City to evict Greenpeace from HQ office

By Novia D. Rulistia, Jakarta Post, 9 November 2011 | The city administration is moving against the environmental organization Greenpeace Indonesia as it plans to evict staff from their national headquarters in Kemang, South Jakarta. Head of the South Jakarta Building Construction Supervision and Regulation Agency (P2B), Widyo Dwiyono, said Greenpeace has turned what should have been a private residence in Kemang Utara into an office building. “If it does not immediately move out, we will seal the office for a building permit violation,” he said. Officials from the agency have given Greenpeace three days to move out of the building before they move in to seal the office. Head of the South Jakarta Spatial Planning Agency, Gamal Sinurat, added that Greenpeace had been asked to leave because it had become a security concern in the area.

Kenya’s emerging carbon trade to benefit from new regulations

By George Wachira, Business Daily, 9 November 2011 | Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2009/2010 Budget mentioned that Kenya would establish a carbon trading exchange. The ministry has since prepared a detailed draft National Policy on Carbon Finance and Emission Trading to guide the setting up of a legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks for developing and managing carbon trade in Kenya. The document is awaiting Cabinet review. The policy aims to create a carbon trade sector which will tap into international climate change finances, support sustainable development programmes, provide employment and economic diversification, increase access to innovative research and technology, improve Kenya’s balance of payments, and foster involvement of the private sector in carbon investment and trading.

Laos issues its first communal forest land titles: National workshop discusses lessons learnt

By Unna Chokkalingam, Forest Carbon Asia, 9 November 2011 | A recent national workshop “Workshop on communal land titling: The case of Sangthong District” on October 6, 2011, explored the background, lessons learnt from the case studies, and how best to move forward with clarifying and securing tenure over communal forest land across Laos. The workshop was organized by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, the Gender and Development Group (GDG) and the Land Issues Working Group (LIWG) which is a network of mostly international and local civil society organization staff and other individuals working on land issues in Lao PDR. It was attended by representatives from the National Land Management Authority, local government agencies who worked on the communal land titling cases, LIWG members and interested others.

Laos Uses New Report to Greenwash the Xayaburi Dam

International Rivers, 9 November 2011 | Ahead of a December regional ministerial meeting to decide whether or not to approve the proposed Xayaburi Dam, the Lao government is using a report by Swiss company Pöyry Energy AG in a desperate bid to gain approval from neighboring countries for the first lower Mekong Mainstream Dam. Despite acknowledging major uncertainties about what harm the project will bring to Lao people and neighboring countries, the Pöyry report recommends that the dam should be built, and falsely claims that neighboring countries’ concerns about the project have been addressed.

Bird surveys for REDD+: avian communities indicate forest degradation in a Peruvian coffee landscape

By Raf Aerts, Sarah Spranghers, Bruno Verbist, Luc Lens and Cagan Sekercioglu, Nature Precedings, 9 November 2011 | Shade coffee cultivation in the Peruvian Andes assists in reducing emissions from deforestation because it avoids conversion to non-forest land uses such as coca and sun grown coffee farming. REDD+ is a potential finance mechanism which may provide incentives for local coffee cooperatives to maintain high shade tree cover. REDD+ has potential multiple benefits other than carbon sequestration, including the conservation of biodiversity. When monitoring for REDD+, surveys of bird biodiversity may prove to be particularly valuable: apart from their high intrinsic value and their value as essential ecosystem service providers, birds inhabiting forest habitats are extremely sensitive to forest loss and forest degradation and are therefore potential useful indicators for the impact of habitat and climate disturbances on biodiversity and environmental health.

10 November 2011

WWF expectations for COP 17

SABC, 10 November 2011 | COP 17 in Durban will be a tipping point in the UN negotiation process on climate change. Government leaders can either build on the progress achieved at COP 16 in Cancun and act to prevent runaway climate change, or they can allow short-term national interests to set us on a path towards a 3° – 4°C warming world.

REDD+: Learning from participatory forest management

By Isilda Nhantumbo, IIED, 10 November 2011 | As policymakers prepare to discuss REDD+ at UN climate talks in Durban, they should heed the lessons learned from years of experience in participatory forest management across the developing world. The 17th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is just around the corner. How to design and deliver REDD+ — strategies for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserving and sustainably managing forests and enhancing carbon stocks — will be high on the agenda. It’s a significant challenge. A study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on poverty and environment indicates that forest-dependent people around the world derive about one fifth of household income from forest resources. Models for delivering REDD+ must be able to at least match those gains if it is to succeed.

McKinsey trampled on the rainforests – it can’t be trusted

By John Sauven (Greenpeace), The Guardian, 10 November 2011 | This year, we at Greenpeace completed an in-depth investigation into McKinsey’s work on forests for the governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guyana, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The work was paid for by donors like the UK government and did not represent value for money. McKinsey’s advice was supposed to show forest countries how to reduce their emissions from deforestation as part of global efforts to tackle climate change. However, its advice, if followed, would lead to increased deforestation and carbon emissions and would only benefit foreign extractive industries and not people in some of the poorest nations in the world – the opposite of what was intended. This poor-quality advice was based on oversimplified and misleading McKinsey trade-marked modelling.

Fragmented forests “have higher emissions”

environmentalresearchweb, 10 November 2011 | When calculating carbon emissions caused by deforestation, researchers should not only look at what has been lost, but also emissions from the biomass that remains. That’s according to researchers in the US and Brazil who have been looking at the fragmentation of the Amazon rainforest. Previous work had shown that biomass collapse at the edge of the remaining forest is significant, so Izaya Numata and his colleagues from South Dakota State University, US, and IMAZON in Brazil aimed to quantify this effect in terms of carbon emissions.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosytem Marketplace, 10 November 2011 | We’re taking a deep breath before diving headfirst into Durban coverage, but keep your eyes on the Forest Carbon Portal and for on-the-ground reporting from COP17, as well as news and analysis to help navigate the climate talks. Now, onto the news: The UNFCCC solicited views from parties on the implications of including reforestation of lands with forest in exhaustion as afforestation and reforestation (A/R) Clean Development Mechanism project activities. “Forest in exhaustion” refers to a plantation forest for timber that is nearing its final harvest – its inclusion in the CDM would allow land owners to generate credits by replanting plantation forests. NGO critics of the move say it’s akin to subsidizing industrial forestry.

Eneco Holding Teams Up With Ramp as Australia Switches on Carbon Trading

By Mike Anderson, Bloomberg, 10 November 2011 | Eneco Holding NV, the third-biggest utility in the Netherlands, has joined with a two-year-old startup in one of the first ventures to sell international emission offsets to Australian companies. Ramp Carbon Pty Ltd., a Melbourne-based developer of projects in Latin America and South Africa to reduce greenhouse- gas emissions, announced its partnership with Eneco a day after Australia passed a law that will require almost 500 of the country’s largest emitters to pay for their pollution for the first time. The law allows firms to offset as much as half of their Australian discharge by purchasing credits awarded for projects that limit carbon releases abroad. “This has opened up the market in Australia,” Ramp Director Phil Cohn said in an interview from Melbourne. “We believe that this is the first offering of its kind.”

[Brazil] Peugeot and the ONF announce the launch of the sale of carbon credits

compromisorso RSE, 10 November 2011 | Outside the XII Scientific and Technical Council of the Peugeot carbon sink forest and ONF (French Agency for Forest) has been developed at the University of Brasilia from 2 to 4 November and has brought together dozens of political, scientific and academic Brazilian and French, Peugeot and ONF announce the launch successful, the sale of “carbon credits” resulting from the project. This operation must secure additional funding to the project for an amount of 1,000,000 euros. [R-M: Original in Spanish – translation by]

Brazil exports satellite rainforest monitoring

Deutsche Welle, 10 November 2011 | Brazil has been monitoring illegal logging in the Amazon with satellite technology for 23 years. Now, interest in this pioneering know-how is growing in other countries that are struggling to deal with deforestation… The technique is particularly attractive, [Inge] Jonckheere [of the FAO] said, because the countries stand a better chance of promoting their interests at UN climate negotiations. As decided at the 2010 climate conference in Mexico, nations can profit by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from logging through a program known as REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. But in order to receive credit for saving forests, participating countries must present verifiable data. “There are two ways nations can guard their forests: They can start from zero and invent their own system, or use existing know-how. That’s where Brazil can help,” Jonckheere said.

[Cambodia] OPIC Signs First Insurance Contract for REDD Carbon Reduction Project

Insurance News, 10 November 2011 | The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has executed the first political risk insurance contract for a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project that will protect 64,318 hectares of forest in Cambodia and sequester approximately 8.7 million metric tons of CO2e. OPIC is providing $900,000 in political risk insurance to Terra Global Capital (, a U.S-based leading land-use carbon development and investment company that has invested in the project. The Royal Government of Cambodia will work with implementing partners and local communities to prevent deforestation and degradation in Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province, and will validate the project according to the Verified Carbon Standard and Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standards. The carbon credits will then be sold by Terra Global Capital in international carbon markets.

Indonesia Loaned $100 Million to Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

Jakarta Globe, 10 November 2011 | The Asian Development Bank is providing Indonesia with a $100 million loan to support Indonesia’s drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen its resilience against climate change. “This funding will help government efforts to move the economy on to a low carbon growth path and to make climate change adaptation measures an integral part of its national development strategy,” said Jon Lindborg, ADB Country Director in Indonesia.

Paper giant gets heat over Indonesian forests

By Ahmad Pathoni, Monsters and Critics, 10 November 2011 | An Indonesian pulp and paper company accused by Greenpeace of helping destroy the country’s rainforests has been on the defensive after the global environmental group announced more companies were cutting ties with it. Greenpeace said last week that seven major companies, including toymaker Hasbro Inc, New Zealand’s largest group of department stores The Warehouse Group Ltd and luxury pen maker Montblanc International GmbH had decided to stop buying from Asia Pulp & Paper Co (APP). Greenpeace said it had found extensive clearance of rainforests inside APP plantations on Sumatra island, including areas mapped as habitat for the endangered Sumatran tiger.

[Nepal] REDD Piloting At Banke Maraha Collaborative Forest, Mahottary District

Government of Nepal, 10 November 2011 | REDD-forestry and Climate Change Cell and Biodiversity Sector Programme for Siwalik and Terai (BISEP-ST) are collaborating on REDD piloting at Banke Maraha Collaborative Forest of Mahottary District. The main objective of this piloting is to support and develop the capacity of Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation/BISEP-ST and Collaborative Forest Management group; provide input for REDD readiness. A start-up workshop was organized at Jaleshwore, Mahottary on October 19, 2011 in coordination with District Forest Coordination Committee. Main purpose of this workshop was to share the idea about the REDD piloting. The meeting recommended initiating activities related to the pilot project in close consultation with the committee and suggested to involve relevant stakeholders throughout the process for ownership and trust. The concept note of the project was shared at the workshop.

US to fund $30 million for Nepal forest carbon project

Climate Connect, 10 November 2011 | US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that it will fund a forestry project in Nepal to the tune of $30 million. The project forest is spread over an area of 50,000 hectares and will help in reducing carbon dioxide emissions by one million tons as per news sources. The project will run for a duration of five years… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

11 November 2011

Social Dimensions of REDD+: Current Practices and Challenges – Open Forum, Friday, 21 October 2011 – Program

USAID Natural Resource Management and Development Portal, 11 November 2011 | The program for the Social Dimensions of REDD+: Current Practices and Challenges open forum held in Washington DC on October 21, 2011… Videos: Social Dimensions of REDD+: Current Practices and Challenges. Enhancing Effectiveness and Efficiency of REDD+. Enhancing Equity, Democracy and Governance of REDD+. Social Dimensions of REDD+ Overview. Taking a Gender Perspective on REDD+. Update on REDD+ SES and Other Safeguards Initiative.

A decade of regional cooperation to fight illegal logging

By Jack Hurd (Responsible Asia Forestry & Trade Program) and Wahjudi Wardojo (The Nature Conservancy), Jakarta Post, 11 November 2011 | Green economy. Green products. Green solutions. These are but a few of the phrases that get tossed around with increased regularity as marketers seek to associate their products and their causes with the environment. But in the environmental context, green really means one thing: forests. Forests have come to stand as a near-universal symbol for nature and the environmental movement. They even speak to the increasing percentage of the global population that lives in cities, who are far more dependent on forests than they perhaps realize.

$2 million to start up cap and trade effort

Sacramento Bee, 11 November 2011 | Cap and trade program price tag: $2 million. The state will spend nearly $2 million to develop one of the centerpieces of its climate change programs: cap and trade. Starting in 2013, the state will place a ceiling on the amount of greenhouse gases produced by California’s 350 largest oil producers, refiners, electric utilities and other large industrial companies. These companies – which generate about 85 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the state – must then buy or sell the allowance permits to cover the amount of carbon they produce, thereby creating a trading market for the carbon allowances. The California Air Resources Board, which regulates the state’s climate change programs, has began to ramp up for the program. It recently issued four bid solicitations for contractors to help develop what’s likely to be the largest carbon trading market in North America.

New Zealand spot carbon price rises, supply still thin

By Stian Reklev and Gyles Beckford, Reuters, 11 November 2011 | New Zealand carbon prices gained over the week, but trading volumes remain light. Spot permits under New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme were seen trading at NZ$13.30 ($10.31), brokers said, up around 5.6 percent on last week. Around 100,000 NZUs were traded over the week, according to brokers. Each permit represents a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. The scheme is designed to help curb output of emissions blamed for causing global warming. However, lack of liquidity remains a burden on the market, the only one outside of the European Union, with many forest owners, the biggest sellers of NZUs, on the sidelines since the price fell below NZ$18 in July.

[Australia] Carbon Conscious to plant 10m trees

AAP, 11 November 2011 | Carbon forest sink company Carbon Conscious will plant about 10 million native Mallee eucalypt trees in Western Australia’s wheatbelt next year after Origin Energy exercised about $30 million worth of planting options. Carbon Conscious, which develops forestry plantation projects to deliver carbon offset credits, said on Friday that Origin had recommitted to a deal with Carbon Concious made in 2009. Carbon Conscious said the exercise of the options by Origin representedAustralia’s first major bio-sequestration investment since the Clean Energy Act was passed earlier this month. Carbon Conscious said Origin had committed to exercising the 2012 component of the commercial forestry options granted to Origin in the 2009 agreement. They would also bring forward the 2013 contract plantings into the 2012 planting season.

Govt tells mining firms to invest in reforestation while operating

By Tifa Asrianti, Jakarta Post, 11 November 2011 | The Forestry Ministry has called on mining companies to see forest reclamation in areas where they operate as an investment rather than just an obligation. Last year, the government issued a regulation obliging mining firms to conduct reforestation in the forest areas they had cleared for mining operations but only a few had done so mainly due to weak oversight. This has sparked concerns about the state of the country’s forests, which have been deteriorating in the past decades due to industrial development. Data from the ministry showed that in 2006, there were 77.8 million hectares of land in a critical condition, a three times increase compared to the 23.2 million hectares recorded in 2000. Other data shows that currently there are 117 companies with activity permits on 600,000 hectares, 257 companies with principal permits on 160,000 hectares and 95 companies with use permits on 54,000 hectares.

Pressure mounting on Greenpeace

Jakarta Post, 11 November 2011 | The Jakarta administration is upping the pressure on environmental organization Greenpeace Indonesia to force the NGO to immediately vacate its headquarters in Kemang, South Jakarta. South Jakarta Building Construction Supervision and Regulation Agency (P2B) head Widyo Dwiyono said that officers from the agency would soon move to seal the building. “If they don’t move out quickly, we will seal their offices soon because they have violated the law against using a private residence as an office building,” Widyo said as quoted by Head of law enforcement at the agency, Agus Supriyono, said the city administration would not stop Greenpeace from finding a new place for its office. “We are just doing our jobs, and they can take any other location they want as long as it does not violate a law or regulation,” Agus said.

12 November 2011

Cambodians fight illegal logging

By Stephanie Scawen, Al Jazeera, 12 November 2011 | Hundreds of protesters in Cambodia fear that within six months to a year illegal logging and government corruption could lead to the clearing of an entire forest of trees. Protesters near the Prey Lang forest, angry at the economic toll illegal logging is taking on their communities, have started to set fire to illegally cut logs as a symbol of the damage being done to the last remaining primeval forest in Indo-China. The protected resin trees in the forest are the main income source for 80 per cent of people in the area, but with cut trees fetching tens of thousands of dollars in Vietnam and China, government corruption is putting both the economy and environment of the region at risk.

Embattled Greenpeace Gets Help From Activists

By Ulma Haryanto, Jakarta Globe, 12 November 2011 | Legal aid activists and supporters showed on Friday their backing for under-fire environmental group Greenpeace, which is being evicted from its office by the Jakarta administration for alleged zoning violations. “YLBHI [the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation] and other NGOs have pledged to back up Greenpeace and give our support to them,” said Alvon Kurnia Palma, deputy chairman of YLBHI. The Jakarta Building Control and Monitoring Office (P2B) said it served notice to Greenpeace on Wednesday about the closure and would proceed with sealing off its headquarters on Jalan Kemang Utara in South Jakarta on Monday. It said the office had been built in an area designated for residential buildings only.

13 November 2011

Trust or double-dealing: The Guyana-Norway MOU

By Dr Clive Thomas, Stabroek News, 13 November 2011 | I ended last Sunday’s column with a brief description of the government’s case, which portrays Guyana as a small poor dependent economy confronted with a very difficult international environment yet willing to exchange the global environmental services provided by its pristine forests for compensatory payments through a global exchange mechanism. I concluded the column with the observation that “if true this would indeed be exceptionally noble.” In this week’s column I shall assess the validity of this government‘s portrayal of the MOU and the LCDS. From my perspective the truth is otherwise for several good reasons outlined below. For one, there is in Guyana no serious sustained and widely disseminated educational/awareness programmes promoting green environmentalism. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

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