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.
REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards, no date | Comments are invited on draft REDD+ SES Version 2 from 9th February until 9th April 2012. The REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards initiative aims to build support for government-led REDD+ programs that make a significant contribution to human rights, poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. While activities that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and contribute to conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) have the potential to deliver significant social and environmental co-benefits, many have also highlighted the serious risks, particularly for Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
By Gaia Larsen, Daniela Rey and Florence Daviet, World Resources Institute, February 2012 | In June 2011, the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) requested input on a guidance document for its REDD+ “safeguard information system.” 26 groups have submitted input to date; this Working Paper describes and summarizes those submissions.
6 February 2012
By Tania Branigan, The Guardian, 6 February 2012 | China has banned its airlines from paying the new European Union carbon charge, state news agency Xinhua has reported – stepping up the international battle over the scheme. The levy applies to all airlines flying to and from EU countries. Companies that do not comply face fines and ultimately could be banned from using EU airports. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Monday that airlines were not allowed to pay the EU charge, increase freight costs or add other fees, according to Xinhua. It cited authorisation from the state council, China’s cabinet. Hinting at possible retaliation, Xinhua added: “China will consider adopting necessary measures to protect interests of Chinese individuals and companies, pending the development of the issue.”
By Gleb Raygorodetsky, News Watch, National Geographic, 6 February 2012 | One important sign of the indigenous peoples being largely absent from the climate change policy and decision-making processes is the virtual lack of references to the existing traditional knowledge on climate change in the global, national, and local climate change discussions. To date, valuable insights held by indigenous peoples worldwide about direct and indirect impacts of, as well as mitigation and adaptation approaches to climate change, remain largely unrecognized. This is particularly apparent in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) Assessment Reports released every few years.
Republica, 6 February 2012 | Deforestation has been intensified in Kailali-based Basanta Corridor zone, which was once recognized as wide dense forest (Charkose Jhadi). Locals said standing trees of saal are being cut down and exported from this area. Daily dozens of saal trees are being cut down from local community forest and national forest stretched over Hasuliya, Pavera and Ratanpur VDCs. The growing trend of deforestation has remained unchecked in the forest corridor due to carelessness on the part of employees in local Basanta range post. There is posting of six employees at the office but no staffers except one perform their respective duty in a regular manner. It was utterly impossible for me to conserve the forest resource alone, said Indra Bahadur KC, the only punctual employee at the post. As in-charge of the range post Suresh KC has been residing in rented room in Dhangadhi, I alone have no alternative than to inform the District Forest Office, he further said.
Radio Australia, 6 February 2012 | GARRETT: PNG has just had a record year for log exports and it is now the second biggest exporter of tropical hardwood logs in the world – what is your reaction to that? FLANNERY: Well, PNG has a problem because it is a very high emitting nation. Its in population terms, it is about a quarter the size of Australia and in land area about one tenth the size or less but it has emissions about one third as great as Australia and that is largely because of deforestation. So this is increasingly an issue for PNG and countries like it. GARRETT: It was logging on controversial Special Agricultural and Business Leases that allow clear felling rather than selective logging that’s pushed PNG into record territory. How much of a concern is that? FLANNERY: Well, I think logging as a whole in PNG is a concern at many levels. One of the most significant, which leads to social conflict, is the nature of land tenure in Papua New Guinea…
By Grace Chua, Straits Times, 6 February 2012 | A host of international non-governmental organisations, whose work involves the environment, are setting up shop here. More of these NGOs are moving to town, drawn by the space, resources and prospect of generous funding available. In the coming months, conservation groups BirdLife International and Fauna & Flora International will be opening offices here. Others, like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Conservation International (CI) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have already done so. But challenges remain, namely raising environmental awareness – and therefore funding – among Singapore residents and Asian companies. Still, one major factor in bringing NGOs here has been government support.
By Ludger Kasumuni, The Citizen, 6 February 2012 | Tanzania is among countries that would benefit from funds donated by Norway to finance projects that aim at reducing the effects of climate change.Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). In an exclusive interview with The Citizen last week, the Norwegian ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Ingunn Klepsvik, said her country has set aside a total of $500 million (Sh800 billion) for the programme for developing countries. The ambassador said already Tanzania has the pending REDD funds totalling Sh64 billion ($40 million) out of Sh134.4 billion ($85 million) set aside by her country. “The Norwegian support has contributed to capacity building both at the national and local levels,” she said. She said the funds, which were set-aside for four years starting from 2008, would be spent up to next year under the Norway and Tanzania bilateral agreement.
By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Tanzania Daily News, 6 February 2012 | Annually , the country loses an estimated 400,000 hectares of forest cover to logging mainly for energy, and timber used in construction and furniture making. “If we empower communities with skills to protect forests, we will stop deforestation and poverty escalation,” said Dr Felician Kilahama, Director of Forestry and Beekeeping at Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. He was speaking to members of parliament at a climate change national strategy seminar organised by University of Dar es Salaam’s Institute of Resource Assessment recently. Dar es Salaam alone uses over a million bags of charcoal per annum,” the Director noted and lawmakers demanded that climate change be taken seriously with efforts equated to those that were mobilised to fight HIV and AIDS.Although the problem of deforestation is nationwide, currently there are the seven pilot project villages bordering Lake Tanganyika fighting the problem.
By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Tanzania Daily News, 6 February 2012 | Government has agreed to let 80 per cent of payments done under Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) to go to communities which protect forests. An official from Africa Wildlife Foundation, Godlisten Matilya, told a Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation Programme meeting held in Dar es Salaam over the weekend that after a lot of lobbying by environmental activists, the government has agreed that communities have the responsibility to protect forests hence should pocket the bulk of payments to be made under REDD. “It’s communities that guard these forests because the government has inadequate forest officers to patrol these forests hence it’s logical that REDD payments should benefit them,” said Mr Matilya.
By James D. Kellogg, PostIndependent.com, 6 February 2012 | Green energy is among the myriad reasons to keep our national forests open to the “many uses” intended by the Forest Reserve Act of 1891. Federally owned forests comprise 192 million acres. According to some estimates, nearly 80 percent of this total requires thinning to mitigate risk of fire. About one third of U.S. energy is used to produce heat. Why not harvest material that might otherwise fuel wildfires and use it to benefit homes, schools, businesses and industry? Cogeneration facilities can even generate economical electricity while producing heat. Decades of fire suppression and federal logging restrictions have led to dense, low quality national forests, susceptible to insect infestation and rampant wildfires. This is evidenced by millions of acres of trees decimated by mountain pine beetles in western states.
7 February 2012
Bretton Woods Project, 7 February 2012 | While steaming ahead with new carbon market initiatives, the World Bank attracted further criticism and suffered potential setbacks on agriculture and on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the UN climate negotiations in Durban… The Bank’s push for forest and agricultural carbon markets (see Update 77, 74, 73, 59) was confirmed by the launch of the third tranche of the BioCarbon Fund during the summit, set up to enable access to carbon markets for the least developed countries with a focus on reforestation and agriculture projects, such as REDD+ and soil carbon. The Bank also launched the new Carbon Initiative for Development to enable least developed countries to tap into carbon markets through carbon-credit-generating projects (see Update 78). The manager of the Bank’s carbon finance unit said: “If one thing was achieved in Durban, it is that market mechanisms are very likely to be part of the future.”
By Gus Silva-Chávez (EDF), EDF’s blog, 7 February 2012 | REDD+ policies got a major boost in Durban when countries agreed that all sources of funding, including carbon markets, are eligible to pay for REDD+ activities. After years of exploring how to pay for all three stages of REDD+ (capacity building, early implementation and national-level pay-for-performance), the Estimates indicate that while public financing is needed, especially for the capacity building stage, only large-scale, sustainable funding from carbon markets will generate sufficient funding. EDF applauds this decision. The decision on REDD+ finance, in the “Long-term Cooperative Action” (LCA) negotiations, included a clear endorsement of all sources of finance, a call for a REDD+ finance workshop and a technical paper in 2012.
By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 7 February 2012 | The European Union needs to fix its “bust” emissions cap-and-trade program, the world’s largest, and improve existing energy rules after investors lost trust in the EU’s policies, said EON AG’s chief executive officer. “Ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk real: the ETS is bust, it’s dead,” EON’s Johannes Teyssen said. The call from the CEO of Germany’s biggest utility to “start fixing the ETS” comes after EU carbon prices tumbled to a four-year low in January because of the economic crisis and concerns that planned new energy efficiency measures will further curb demand for emission permits. “Does the price give any signal for new investments? No. None,” Teyssen said. “I don’t know a single person in the world that would invest a dime based on ETS signals.”
By Ben Sills, Bloomberg, 7 February 2012 | Spain may need to buy at least 355 million euros ($466 million) of carbon emissions permits to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias-Canete said. The country will need at least 67 million metric tons of emissions permits to cover greenhouse gas emissions that exceed the volume allowed under the 1997 Kyoto agreement, Arias-Canete told a parliamentary committee last week. “The government needs a lot of permits,” the minister said. Its liabilities “are far higher than forecast by the previous government so the situation is really worrying.” Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed nations can meet their goals by buying so-called Assigned Amount Units from other countries with surplus permits, or by investing in emissions reductions in developing countries in exchange for carbon offsets.
By Mike Shanahan, Under The Banyan, 7 February 2012 | Lambir is the world’s most botanically diverse forest. In just a 52-hectare patch of it, researchers have identified 1,178 tree species. That’s more species than in all of the temperate forests of the northern hemisphere. For a while, Lambir’s animal life was impressive too but by the time I arrived there in 1997 the bigger species were hard to find. In 2002, Igor Debski and I published a paper on the wildlife seen in the park between 1984 and 1999 (Appendix 1 here). Excluding fish, the list ran to an impressive 367 species, including 237 birds and 64 mammals. We noted though that despite spending thousands of hours in the forest we had only heard the distinctive calls of gibbons twice in two years, and had never seen the distinctive scratch marks a sun bear will leave on a tree trunk. We saw other large species such as monkeys, deer and hornbills only very rarely.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 7 February 2012 | More companies are reporting on the impact of their operations on global forests, finds a new report. Eighty-seven global corporations disclosed their “forest footprint” in 2011, according to the third Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD), which asks companies to report on their impact on forests based on their use of five commodities: soy, palm oil, timber and pulp, cattle, and biofuels. This is a 11 percent rise from the companies that reported in 2010, including the first reports by companies such as the Walt Disney Company, Tesco UK, and Johnson & Johnson. However a number of so-called “green” companies continue to refuse to disclose, including Patagonia, Stonyfield Farms, and Whole Foods Markets Inc.
Size of Wales, 7 February 2012 | The 7th February 2012 is a very important date for the communities of the Wapichan people of the South Rupununi in Guyana: on this date, we will present to the national and international communities a map of our traditional forest lands along with our grassroots proposals for the continued care of our lands, forests and other natural resources found in our traditional territory. Through the vision, persistence and hard work of our past and present Wapichan Toshaos (leaders) a dream has finally become a reality. Ten years ago, a Wapichan land use map and management plan were just ideas that came out of discussions in our village meetings and in meetings of our District Toshaos Councils (DTCs). Putting forward our own plans to have our lands secured, to save our forests, wetlands, mountains and savannahs from harmful development and to determine our own future was something we used to “gaff” (chat) about in our “manores”? (collective work parties).
SCPDA Press Release, 7 February 2012 | The indigenous Wapichan people of Guyana, South America, will make public today a locally-made digital map of their traditional territory alongside a ground-breaking community proposal to care for 1.4 million ha of pristine rainforest for the benefit of their communities and the world. The territory’s rich variety of rainforests, mountains, wetlands, savannah grasslands and tropical woodlands are the homeland of 20 communities, who make a living from small-scale farming, hunting, fishing and gathering, which they have practised over the whole area for generations. The same area, located in the South Rupununi District, south-west Guyana, has an outstanding abundance of wildlife, including endangered species such as giant river otters, jaguars, and rare bush dogs as well as endemic species of fish and birds, like the Rio Branco Antbird.
By Marc Nkwame, Tanzania Daily News, 7 February 2012 | The government plans to subsidize domestic Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices in order to make the commodity affordable to the majority. The Director of the Environment Division in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Julius Ningu, said on Monday that the government was now planning to introduce as well as promote alternative sources of domestic fuel as a measure to reduce deforestation, resulting from high demand of firewood and charcoal. “LPG is a clean source of domestic fuel which can replace charcoal and firewood and save the environment as well as reduce our carbon footprint,” said Dr Ningu adding that gas prices are what scares people. “The problem with LPG is that, it is a petroleum product whose prices are determined the escalating global fuel prices,” said Dr Ningu adding that the state was now working to see the possibility of cutting down domestic gas pricing through subsidizing.
By Finnigan Wa Simbeye, Tanzania Daily News, 7 February 2012 | Communities and conservation groups should own forests to earn from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) programme. Director of Forestry and Beekeeping Department Felician Kilahama said in Bagamoyo last weekend that currently multinationals and international conservationists are flocking the rural areas where they buy land cheaply from illiterate villagers, targeting the REDD payments and clean energy generation. “Let’s put in place a favourable policy that will protect communities from losing their land and forests to multinationals seeking to plant trees, cultivate jatropha or other biofuel crops while throwing away legitimate owners. “Sometimes these companies cut down natural forests and plant other artificial species like jatropha while taking away our valuable land,” Dr Kilahama told members of Parliamentary Land, Housing and Natural Resources and that of Finance and Economy.
8 February 2012
Point Carbon, 8 February 2012 | European carbon prices should rise to no higher than 30 euros through a one-off market intervention if the EU’s flagship Emissions Trading Scheme is to remain effective and not be replaced with other measures, policymakers said late on Tuesday. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
By Jorge Salazar, EarthSky, 8 February 2012 | Satellite researcher Alan Belward works for the Institute for Environment and Sustainability, part of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy. Dr. Belward heads the Land Resource Management Unit, which looks at changes to land cover and land use on a global scale. In 2011, Dr. Belward was part of the most comprehensive forest survey ever, which involved 190 countries. An essential tool for his research is data from the Landsat satellite program, which has taken detailed pictures of forest canopies for over 40 years. Dr. Belward spoke with EarthSky’s Jorge Salazar about tracking Earth’s forests from space.
By Kate Munro, International Institute for Environment and Development, 8 February 2012 | Palm wine, bat stew and carbon markets all made it into the same discussion in Parliament last night – likely for the first time… Professor Melissa Leach’s presentation revealed that 60% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic – transmitted from animals to humans. She said that these diseases are re-emerging due to increasing levels of poverty. She gave the example of Henipavirus in Ghana. It’s carried by bats and can be transmitted to people through their diet… Making carbon into a commodity can bring its own problems, as was highlighted in the audience discussion. It gives national governments title to the carbon sequestered in a country’s soils and forests for the purposes of trading on international carbon markets, which could pose an additional barrier to the efforts of individuals and poor rural communities to demarcate, and gain title to the land on which their livelihoods depend.
Eco-Business.com, 8 February 2012 | Landholders spiralling interest in carbon forests has resulted in CO2 Australia investing an estimated $23.3 million in rural economies during 2011 and partnering with more than 300 farming families. CO2 Australia land acquisition manager Mark Ritchie told The Fifth Estate the organisation secured revenue of $35 million for the financial year 2011 and manages a contract portfolio exceeding $160 million. It expects a significant increase in interest by companies looking to manage their carbon liability. It has 33 full time staff and has jobs in rural areas for contractors engaged in site preparation, planting and monitoring phases of the program. Mr Ritchie said the carbon forest program was of interest to landholders not only for financial reasons but because the trees sheltered livestock, reduced waterlogging, salinity and wind erosion.
Stabroek News, 8 February 2012 | Guyana’s delegation at the 18th Meeting of Latin America and Caribbean Environmental Ministers, in Quito, Ecuador from January 31 to February 3, has been engaged in intense discussions, focusing particularly on crafting a joint Latin American and Caribbean vision for the upcoming Rio+20 follow-up conference scheduled for June 2012. The Government Information Agency (GINA) said that one of the major outputs of the meeting has been the adoption of a number of decisions related to important environmental issues facing the region, including Atmospheric Pollution, Environmental Education for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Consumption and Production, and Environmental Indicators, to name a few.
By Seleem Shaikh and Sughra Tunio, AlertNet, 8 February 2012 | Today, a quarter of Nepal’s forests are managed by nearly 20,000 community forest user groups (CFUGs), the first of which were established by non-governmental organisations in the 1980s… Samden Sherpa, who manages an information and training centre in Godavari Kunda village backed by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), said that tailoring approaches to local contexts helps promote both conservation and development of forest resources. “A common outcome of strengthening local organisations, such as Godavari CFUG, is that they help empower local communities, build up a sense of ownership of natural resources, and open up new channels of communication between local people and decision makers,” said Sherpa.
REDD – Forestry and Climate Change Cell, 8 February 2012 | On February 8, 2012 the new Secretary for the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation Mr. Naveen Kumar Ghimire visited the REDD Cell with high ranking officials for an official briefing. Mr. Resham Dangi, Joint Secretary and Chief of REDD Cell welcomed him on behalf of the REDD Cell and made a brief presentation on the status of the REDD readiness process. In his presentation, Mr. Dangi briefed them about the road map of REDD+, explained about the opportunities and challenges in REDD + readiness in Nepal. He concluded his presentation with remarks that REDD process is behind its proposed plan, but the REDD Cell is striving to achieve the REDD readiness target by 2014. Mr. Dangi requested the secretary for his kind consideration in few immediate actions from the Ministry that would be instrumental in expediting the REDD process in Nepal.
Survival International, 8 February 2012 | Peru has raided an illegal logging site in the Manú National Park, just days after the world caught its first detailed glimpse of the uncontacted Mashco-Piro tribe. The discovery followed Survival’s release of close-up pictures of the tribe to raise awareness of the threats illegal logging poses to their survival. In an operation led by SERNANP, Peru’s Department for Protected Areas, park guards and police uncovered more than 3,000 feet of illegally harvested timber. SERNANP’s two-day operation led to the arrest of a group of men and confiscation of their tools. The men face prison terms of three to six years. Sightings of the Mashco-Piro have risen in recent months, with many blaming illegal loggers for pushing the tribe out of their forest homes.
9 February 2012
By Lan Lan, China Daily, 9 February 2012 | European companies have thrown a large number of Chinese emissions reduction projects into doubt by refusing to pay the pre-agreed price following a market plunge, industry insiders said. About half of the Chinese Carbon Development Mechanism (CDM) projects are being renegotiated or terminated, according to estimates. No official figures are available. China is the world’s biggest carbon credit supplier. EU companies agreed to buy most of the credits to help them meet caps under the EU emissions trading scheme… The UN, by Jan 9, issued 484 million carbon credits to Chinese CDM projects. Most involve hydro and wind power projects. However, the international market in carbon credits has plunged in recent months, and defaults by European firms have surged, said Tang Renhu, general manager of Sino Carbon Innovation and Investment Co. Many projects are being renegotiated, he said.
UN-REDD, 9 February 2012 | Establishing a transparent, equitable and efficient benefit distribution system (BDS) is arguably one of the most challenging aspects of a national REDD+ system. Measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) receives more attention, but at the end of the day, measuring the carbon content of a dry forest ecosystem is not so very different from measuring the carbon content of a rain forest. You don’t see conflicts among trees, but you often see conflict among people, especially when it comes to sharing limited resources, and where there are wide disparities in income level and power. So whereas MRV systems in different countries are likely to be rather similar, BDS will vary widely – not only among countries but within countries as well.
By Rachel Kelly, Channel NewsAsia, 9 February 2012 | According to a survey, more Singaporeans are heeding the call to address climate change and it seems financial institutions across the region now share those sentiments. This is according to the World Bank’s investment arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC). It said the banking sector is embracing sustainability and banks are answering the call of consumers and working with communities and stakeholders in the push towards going green. The IFC has worked on market-based climate change funding solutions with Chinese banks. For example, IFC takes on some of the financial risk by guaranteeing commercial banking loans for energy efficiency projects and assisting in assessing and implementing energy efficiency projects. IFC’s East Asia Pacific Director Sergio Pimenta, said: “I think in many emerging markets, you had many banks that have done very interesting things towards sustainability.”
siliconerepublic.com, 9 February 2012 | The clean-tech tax changes to the Finance Bill have been welcomed by the Green IFSC, which says Ireland’s Government is likely the first in the world to recognise forest carbon credits in tax legislation… As regards forests and the race to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint, UN statistics have revealed that 20pc of the world’s carbon emissions come from forests. The UN’s REDD programme, which has been set up to help keep the developing world’s forests intact, is estimated to be valued at US$50bn over the next few years. Paul Harris, member of the Green IFSC Steering Group, pointed to how the new provision in Irish tax legislation will serve to help the UN reach its targets as he said it would assist investors operating through the UN programme in the monetisation of forest carbon credits. “The change is an important contribution to the emergence of the forest carbon bond market…”
UN News Centre, 9 February 2012 | The United Nations today wrapped up its year-long campaign to raise awareness on the importance of forests and the people who depend on them with a series of events that spotlight their role and impact in socio-economic activities. “Each of us, all seven billion people on Earth, has our physical, economic and spiritual health tied to forests,” said Jan McAlpine, Director of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat. Throughout 2011, the UN organized a series of events and activities to highlight the value of forests and the actions that people can take to protect them and help contribute to their sustainable management. At today’s closing ceremony for the year, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang stressed that the International Year of Forests “helped create a platform for dialogue and action.
Survival International, 9 February 2012 | Six men are being brought to trial for the murder of two Guarani Indians who were killed in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state in 2009. The case has been described as ‘an important milestone’ by a public prosecutor. Genivaldo Verá and Rolindo Verá were victims of an armed attack, after their Y’poi community attempted to reclaim its ancestral land from ranchers. Brazil’s Public Ministry has announced that ranchers and politicians are among those facing prosecution. The charges they face include: homicide; hiding a body; shooting a firearm; and bodily harm against an elderly person. One of the men under investigation, cattle rancher Firmino Escobar, also held the Guarani of Y’poi hostage in 2010, imprisoning them on their land and cutting off food and medical supplies. Survival has a recording of him refusing an undercover Survival campaigner entry to the site. He also falsely denied any Indians were on the land.
By Chhay Channyda, Phnom Penh Post, 9 February 2012 | Police have condemned the actions of more than 100 villagers and Prey Lang Network representatives who burned 40 cubic metres of luxury timber on Tuesday as they searched for illegal loggers in Prey Lang forest, but is unclear whether the group will face legal action. Chhim Savuth, public forum coordinator for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said ethnic Kuoy villagers had scoured the forest for evidence of illegal activities after they had finished praying to its spirit to protect the area. The group had found luxury timber from 13 duong chem trees cut into 435 pieces – about 40 cubic metres – and confiscated two chainsaws in an area of Kratie province’s Sambor district, he said. Instead of handing the timber in to authorities, the villagers burned it.
By Ahni, Intercontinental Cry, 9 February 2012 | Over three decades of oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Chevron dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into the rainforest, leaving local people suffering a wave of cancers, miscarriages and birth defects. Now, with the support of an international campaign for justice, the communities affected by Chevron’s negligence are holding one of the world’s largest oil companies to account.
Bernama, 9 February 2012 | The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has embarked on a programme to build capacity in mapping land/forest cover in Fiji using very high resolution satellite images, according to SPC Regional Communitiy Forester Jalesi Mateboto on Thursday… Live & Learn is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is conducting community-based activities related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in the area with financial support from the European Union.
By Bijoy Basant, One World South Asia, 9 February 2012 | In its latest report, the Indian government has attributed the declining forest cover in India to forest clearance by Maoist guerrillas. The statistics, however, say the contrary. India’s recorded net loss of 367 sq km of forests between 2009 and 2011, as reported in the recently-released ‘The India State of Forest Report’ needs to be seen in the light of what Indian Prime Minister said recently. As per the present assessment, the forest and tree cover of the country is 78.29 million ha, which is 23.81 % of the geographical area of the country. While delivering his inaugural speech at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, announced that the country’s forest cover had increased by nearly 5% between 1997 and 2007, “with a small decrease since then.”
By Elly Burhaini Faizal, Jakarta Post, 9 February 2012 | The Forestry Ministry’s environment and climate change expert Yetti Rusli this week said that talks among countries have not led to a strong grasp on forests’ role as carbon stocks. “Countries keep pressing us to prevent deforestation. They force us not to destroy our forests. In fact, curbing deforestation has been our policy since long time ago,” Yetti said from the sidelines of a REDD+ workshop organized by the office of UN’s REDD program in Bogor, West Java… Demand in Europe for wood pellets continues to grow after the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan last year. “Germany even has stated that it won’t further develop its nuclear power plants and is considering a shift to renewable energy, including wood pellets, as source of energy in the country,” Yetti said, adding that pellets could come from sustainable crops such as albasia (Albizia falcata), kaliandra (Calliandra calothyrsus) and akasia (Acacia aneura) trees.
mongabay.com, 9 February 2012 | American consumers are unwittingly contributing to the destruction of endangered rainforests in Sumatra by purchasing certain brands of toilet paper, asserts a new report published by the environmental group WWF. The report, Don’t Flush Tiger Forests: Toilet Paper, U.S. Supermarkets, and the Destruction of Indonesia’s Last Tiger Habitats, takes aim at two tissue brands that source fiber from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), a paper products giant long criticized by environmentalists and scientists for its forestry practices on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The brands — Paseo and Livi — are among the fastest growing, in terms of sales, in the United States. Both brands are commonly marketed for hotels, restaurants, and public restrooms, according to the report. APP has converted large tracts of Sumatran rainforest for wood-pulp plantations used to produce fiber for paper products.
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), 9 February 2012 | As the catalyst for oil palm growth in Malaysia, Sarawak’s increased commitment towards best practices in the cultivation of oil palm according to international standards set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an international multi-stakeholder initiative, will be a significant step forward. The certification under the RSPO standards began in 2008 and to date within just over 3 years, production of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) has reached an impressive mark of 11% of global crude palm oil. Malaysia leads the pack as the world’s largest CSPO producer at 48% amongst other producing nations namely Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, South America and West Africa.
Business Recorder, 9 February 2012 | Sarhad Forestry Ittehad (Safi) has rejected lease agreement between the department of forests and British company Merlyn Wood for leasing of 2,71,000 acres forest covered area in district Mansehra, Battgram and Swat for 40 years. This was stated by President, Safi Abbottabad, Riaz Mohammad Khan; General Secretary, Safi Swat, Jamshid Khan; Secretary Finance Amir Mohammad Khan, Sultan Yusuf, Hazrat Said, Advisor to Safi, Riaz Ahmad and Noor Islam of Sungi Foundation while addressing a press conference here on Wednesday. Terming the agreement against the interests of real owners, they demanded immediate cancellation of the agreement and warned that in case of non acceptance of their demands they would move the courts. They said the agreement had been made under REDD Programme under which the British company would pay 12 million sterling pounds to the department of forests.
Salva le Foreste, 9 February 2012 | Early this week, police in Panama launched a violent attack on Ngöbe indigenous people, who have blockaded the Pan-American highway since last Monday in opposition to a proposed law that would open their traditional lands to mining and hydroelectric dams. Cultural Survival ask you to sign a petition to the President of Panama.
By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests Blog, 9 February 2012 | Local government efforts to promote forest conservation in a Pakistani village are blocking access to common lands and destroying traditional yak herding practices that villagers depend on for their livelihoods, says a recent study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “We need to rethink our current understanding of conservation, as creating protected areas which people cannot enter can clearly be very detrimental to the livelihoods of forest communities,” said Syed Ajijur Rahman, CIFOR Associate and co-author of Commons becoming non-commons in the efforts for reconciliation between conservation and livelihoods: A case study of northern Pakistan. Rearing yaks is vital to the survival of most households in the village of Shimshal in northern Pakistan providing dairy and meat, as well as a source of income.
By Ludger Kasumuni, The Citizen, 9 February 2012 | Tanzania has only spent half of Norwegian funds on Reduced Deforestation and Land Degradation (REDD), the ambassador of Norway, Ms Ingunn Klepsvik has said.Speaking to The Citizen recently, Ms Klepsvik said despite halfway expenditure on Norwegian REDD funds, the country has performed well in terms of preparedness in absorbing REDD funds in the future. According to her, since 2008 the country has received Sh136 billion ($85 million), but it has spent only Sh68 billion ($42.5 million).“Norway has allocated about $85 million and only approximately half of this amount has been disbursed,” she said. A significant amount of Norway’s support to REDD+ targets villagers, especially community-based pilot projects and REDD policy development consultation processes,” she added. The Norwegian ambassador also said at Cop 17 Durban conference on climate change, Norway pledged up to $500 million each year globally for REDD…
By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 9 February 2012 | Britain will urge businesses and governments to start accounting for natural capital as an additional way of measuring economic activity at a U.N. sustainability summit in June, its environment minister said on Thursday. This could mean moving towards a concept of GDP+, or measuring the use or loss of natural resources like water, agriculture and forests to gauge economic activity, in addition to relying solely on economic output. “A snapshot of the state of economies based on GDP (gross domestic product) is too narrow,” Caroline Spelman told reporters after a speech to businesses and non-governmental organizations on the UK’s aims for the Rio+20 summit. “Green accounting would work for all countries. We believe you can really drive significant ‘greening’ if you take proper account of the value of natural capital in your government accounts,” she added.
10 February 2012
Ecosystem Marketplace, 10 February 2012 | Hola and bonjour! With the expanding presence of forest carbon projects and their stakeholders in Latin and America and much of French-speaking Africa (as well as Spain and France), there is an increasing need for accessible information in those regions. Our French and Spanish speaking audience will be happy to know that the State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2011 report is available in the two languages. You can download the executive summary of the French version and the full report in Spanish here. If you haven’t downloaded a copy of the English report, you can find it here. We’re also excited to announce that the gears are turning at the Ecosystem Marketplace, as we get ready to launch our State of the Forest Carbon and State of the Voluntary Markets survey. Even better, we’ve developed a new, user-friendly survey that feels a little less like a tooth extraction.
By Christine Padoch, CIFOR Forests Blog, 10 February 2012 | For almost as long as our species has lived on earth, we have fed ourselves directly from the bounty of forests, grasslands and other wild places. Now a largely urban species, having multiplied greatly and changed the face of the earth, we often forget or grossly misunderstand the continuing role of forests in feeding what are now the world’s billions. A special issue of the International Forestry Review on “Forests, Biodiversity, and Food Security” is taking a step toward rectifying that knowledge gap. Bringing together nine articles by a multidisciplinary and international group of authors — many of them pioneers in the field — editors Terry Sunderland and Alan Pottinger aim to dispel the common myth that forests have ceased to be important to food security, especially as our numbers and needs grow and change.
By May Titthara, Phnom Penh Post, 10 February 2012 | Protesting villagers from two districts of Kampong Speu province have claimed police, military police and soldiers threatened them with assault rifles as they gathered outside the provincial court yesterday. About 300 villagers involved in two separate land disputes had assembled to ask for the release of two detained villagers and to urge the court not to delay questioning another villager who had been summonsed. Villagers said that at 11:25am, police, military police and soldiers carrying guns threatened to arrest anyone who tried to prevent court officials driving out of the office.
Environmental Finance, 10 February 2012 | Ireland has become the first country in the world to recognise forest carbon credits in its tax regime – paving the way for the issuance of forest bonds, according to a leading banker. On Wednesday, Ireland’s government published a finance bill which extends the range of carbon offsets recognised in its tax code to explicitly include those generated by projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). The inclusion of REDD credits in Section 110 of the tax code makes establishing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to buy forest carbon credits and then issue forestry bonds “very tax efficient, very cost-effective,” said Paul Harris, head of natural resources risk management at the Bank of Ireland in Dublin. “This is part of the effort to ensure that Ireland offers the best possible environment for green finance,” he told Environmental Finance.
11 February 2012
Stabroek News, 11 February 2012 | IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno arrived in Guyana yesterday for a one-day visit which could be crucial to the Amaila hydro project going ahead. GINA said that a meeting was convened today at the Office of the President where officials of the Government provided a brief to the visiting delegation on the preparatory works and challenges of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project. In a comment after the meeting, the IDB President told GINA that he acknowledges the significant importance with which the country regards the project and the challenges that abound. Recently, executives of Sithe Global, the developer of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project, said they are counting on the IDB to provide critical financing for the project. This follows the decision by the World Bank not to participate, which stupefied officials of the hydro project developer…
12 February 2012
The Economist, 12 February 2012 | [S]ome experts reckon that deforestation accounts for as much as 17% of global manmade emissions. Others, though, put the figure at as little as 6%. The discrepancy arises because the data for exactly how much carbon is stored in forests is inconclusive… A new study from the Woods Hole Research Centre uses remote-sensing technology (along with old-fashioned fieldwork) to measure more accurately how much carbon is stored in tropical forests… The researchers put the total amount of carbon in tropical forests at 229 billion tonnes. This is 21% higher than UN’s latest estimates. They also calculated that the net emission of carbon into the atmosphere thanks to tropical deforestation from 2001-10 amounts to 1 billion tonnes per year, 10% less than previously thought… These findings ought to help tropical countries to meet the reporting requirements set out in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
By Tom Phillips, The Guardian, 12 February 2012 | In June Brazil will host the Rio+20 United Nations conference on sustainable development. World leaders will gather in Rio to debate how to reconcile economic development with environmental conservation and social inclusion. Brazil will be able to trumpet advances in its battle against deforestation – in December the government claimed Amazon destruction had fallen to its lowest level in 23 years. But the continuing threats to environmental activists represent a major blot on its environment credentials… Last year, after the high-profile murders of Amazon activists José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo, two local families were flown into hiding and given new identities in a distant corner of Brazil.
Stabroek News, 12 February 2012 | Shortly before demitting office last year, former president Bharrat Jagdeo had written to Norway’s Minister of the Environment and Development Cooperation, Erik Solheim, highlighting that there is still much to tackle in Guyana’s forest partnership with Oslo including the sloth in money flows to Guyana. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
By Ririn Radiawati Kusuma, Jakarta Globe, 12 February 2012 | About 90 kilometers off the eastern coast of Kalimantan, Chevron is undertaking one of the most ambitious projects in Indonesia, drilling almost two kilometers below sea level to tap crude oil and natural gas from the nation’s vast potential of reserves. The US energy giant began the $6 billion project in 2008 and the operation won’t start production until 2015, when it is expected to pump more than 30,000 barrels of oil per day, or about 3 percent of the country’s current annual output. It’s one of the few sites in the archipelago where offshore drilling is taking place, in a part of the industry that is impeded by cost and the lack of incentives to explore new sources of crude oil. At stake is Indonesia’s energy independence and its possible return as a member of OPEC.
PHOTO Credit: Image created using wordle.net.