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REDD in the news: 2-8 April 2012

REDD in the news: 2-8 April 2012

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.

2 April 2012

Carbon prices tumble to record low

By Pilita Clark and Javier Blas, Financial Times, 2 April 2012 | Carbon prices fell to a record low on Monday after the release of official data showing a bigger than expected drop in the amount of pollution emitted by power plants and factories in the European Union’s emissions trading system last year. Benchmark EU carbon prices dropped to €6.14 a tonne – nearly 14 per cent down from the previous day’s close – after preliminary European Commission figures showed that carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 were about 2.4 per cent lower than in the previous year. “This was worse than what the market thought,” said UBS carbon analyst, Per Lekander. “It’s very clear the market is massively oversupplied.” The slump means that prices of carbon permits traded on the EU carbon market, the world’s biggest, have fallen more than 60 per cent over the past 12 months, raising questions about how well the scheme can achieve its goal of encouraging low-carbon investment.

The struggle over Asia’s forests: an overview of forest conflict and potential implications for REDD+

RECOFTC’s Blog for People and Forests, 2 April 2012 | Asia is a forest conflict hotspot. As natural forests are declining rapidly, their ability to provide economic, ecological, and social benefits is also declining – leading to heightened competition among forest user groups and increased conflict in many parts of the region. A new paper in the International Forestry Review, co-authored by RECOFTC and CIFOR staff, indicates there are three fundamental and interrelated causes underlying most forest conflict in Asia. This study focuses on conflicts between local communities and outsiders: the underlying causes, conflict management approaches, and eventual outcomes. Field data was collected through interviews and focus group discussions in seven community-outsider conflict cases across five countries.

Energy is at heart of Guyana’s economy – President

By GINA, Guyana Chronicle, 2 April 2012 | Officials of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) yesterday escorted President Donald Ramotar on a tour of three of the generating stations critical to the delivery of electricity on a daily basis to the Demerara grid… Yesterday’s undertaking was one which President Ramotar had scheduled as he sought to have a greater understanding of the many challenges the power company has been facing, even as it seeks to build generation capacity in a growing economy. The demand is even greater with the plan to construct the Amaila Falls Hydro Power (AFHP) project which, the experts say, will require approximately 20 megawatts of power from GPL, ahead of the hydro project coming on stream.

[Indonesia] Multinationals vow to boycott APP after outcry over illegal logging

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 2 April 2012 | Several multinational companies have vowed to boycott the huge forestry conglomerate, Asia Pulp and Paper, after a public outcry after evidence emerged of illegal logging by APP in Indonesia, that is damaging the habitat of rare animals such as the Sumatran tiger. Pressure has been growing on APP, its suppliers and customers, since the Guardian revealed last month evidence of illegal logging that had resulted in the chopping down of large numbers of a protected tree species, known as ramin, which grows in some of the last remaining bastions of the critically endangered tiger in south-east Asia.

3 April 2012

EU Carbon Permits Drop After Output Unexpectedly Falls

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 3 April 2012 | Carbon permits plunged to a record after European Union data showed emissions from factories and power stations in the region fell more than expected last year amid milder-than-normal weather. Emissions decreased 2.4 percent to 1.7 billion metric tons in 2011 from 1.75 billion tons for the same installations in 2010, according to preliminary data published today on the EU website and compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The median estimate of seven analysts surveyed last month by Bloomberg was for a 0.7 percent advance. Today’s data covers about 88 percent of facilities in the market. EU carbon for December dropped 11 percent to close at 6.34 euros ($8.45) a ton, the biggest loss since April 28, 2006 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. The previous low was 6.38 euros on Jan. 4. Power-industry emissions dropped to 2009 levels, said Matteo Mazzoni, an analyst for NE Nomisma Energia Srl in Bologna, Italy.

Europe carbon at new low near 6 euros/T

By Jeff Coelho, Reuters, 3 April 2012 | European Union carbon prices hit a record low of just over 6 euros ($7.98) a tonne on Tuesday, extending a precipitous fall after EU emissions data released on Monday showed a bigger surplus of permits than expected. Traders and analysts said the move puts renewed pressure on the EU to intervene in the world’s biggest cap-and-trade scheme, which shed half its value last year because of the slowdown in industrial production across most of the 27-nation bloc. The decline has choked demand for carbon permits by the 12,000 power and industrial plants in the emissions trading scheme (ETS), creating a surplus of permits, which is estimated in the hundreds of millions, for the 2008-2012 trading period. Preliminary EU data on Monday showed a 2.4 percent fall in the amount of CO2 pumped out by installations last year, prompting a sharp sell-off in carbon prices.

Fresh Finance, More EU Uptake, and New Data: The Month in Forest Carbon

Ecosystem Marketplace, 3 April 2012 | And on to the latest forest carbon news, where below we summarize how one industry organization is taking an active role in seeking guidance for how to treat forest carbon offsets on a balance sheet in the US, while EU member states consider adding cropland, grazing land, and forest carbon emissions to their national GHG accounts. Fresh finance is flowing into forest carbon efforts internationally, from a Mexican REDD project with some very high-level domestic buyers (translation), to UN-REDD Programme support in the Republic of Congo and Sri Lanka, to renewed demand from the voluntary carbon market for pre-2008 New Zealand forest carbon credits under the country’s Permanent Forest Sink Initiative. On the supply side, South Pole Carbon is seeking investors for its Zimbabwe-based REDD efforts, while across the globe FUNAI, Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, has brought into question 30 contracts between international companies and indigenous…

BP moves into the Amazon rainforest, 3 April 2012 | BP has acquired a stake in on exploration block in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, reports MarketWatch. On Tuesday Brazilian legislators approved BP’s acquisition of a 45 percent stake in a project run by HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA, a Brazilian startup. BP is operating under TNK-Brasil Exploracao de Producao de Oleo e Gas Natural Ltda., a joint venture with Russia’s TNK. The stake is work about $1 billion. The 21 exploration blocks are located near Coari, a town in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. HRT says the blocks contain 4-6 billion barrels of light crude oil and 10-20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. High energy prices have spurred a surge in oil and gas exploration and development in the Amazon region, including Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. As much as 70 percent of the Peruvian Amazon, including parts of indigenous reserves and protected areas, is now under concession.

Brazil forges forward on path to sustainable forest development

By Michelle Kovacevic and Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests Blog, 3 April 2012 | Brazil is forging forward towards its sustainable forest development goal, with many ministers and scientists hailing programs tackling deforestation that have played a critical role in getting the developing country back on the sustainable development path in the last 20 years. “In Rio in 1992, I think my country was very brave to host the Earth Summit, as (at that time) Brazil’s development path was completely unsustainable,” said Carlos Nobre from the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, in his closing address at the Planet under Pressure conference held in London last week. The outcomes of the meeting will feed into the United Nations Earth Summit 2012 (Rio+20) being held in Brazil in less than three months’ time. “20 years later, Brazil has taken the sustainable development paradigm as the centre of its governmental policy.”

Japan Backs Ghana’s Forest Preservation Scheme With $7.8m, 3 April 2012 | The Japanese government is providing 7.8 million dollars to finance a special training programme on Geographical Information System and forestry inventory-taking under Ghana’s forest preservation programme. The programme, being undertaken by PASCO Corporation, an international consulting firm, and its local counterpart, RUDAN, seeks among others objective, to promote capacity building and know-how for some core forestry personnel, capture the benefits of emerging financing for services from the forest through reduction of emission, degradation and deforestation (REDD), plus other mechanisms, and formulate a comprehensive Geographical Information System (GIS) for forest-based management systems.

Indonesia court refuses to stop forest development conservationists say threatens orangutans

The Washington Post, 3 April 2012 | A court in western Indonesia on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit brought by conservationists challenging further development of peat swamp forests they say will threaten the few remaining orangutans who live there. Indonesia’s largest environmental group, Walhi, wanted the court to revoke a license granted by the Aceh provincial government to palm oil company PT Kallista Alam. The license allows the company to convert 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares) of the Tripa peat swamp forest into a palm oil plantation. Three other palm oil companies already operate in the forest. The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program has said that orangutans could disappear from Tripa by the year’s end if palm oil companies keep setting land-clearing fires there… “Walhi’s complaint could not be accepted,” said presiding judge Darmawi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. “We suggest the parties resolve the case outside the court first.”

Indonesia court refuses to rule on peat swamp case

Associated Press, 3 April 2012 | An Indonesian court has thrown out a lawsuit concerning the development of peat swamp forests that was brought by conservationists who fear for the fate of orangutans. Walhi environmental group is challenging a license to convert part of the Tripa peat swamp to a palm oil plantation. The Aceh local government issued the license to palm oil company PT Kallista Alam. Walhi says the conversion would damage the habitat of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans. The Banda Aceh Administrative Court said Tuesday it has no authority to rule on the case because the parties involved haven’t tried to solve the case outside of court. The ruling means the parties could attempt mediation, but Walhi says it will appeal to the high court.

Country consultations for regional REDD+ policy framework

Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 3 April 2012 | The SPC/GIZ regional project Climate Protection through Forestry Conservation in Pacific Island Countries was mandated by the Pacific Heads of Forestry at their technical meeting in September 2011 to develop a regional policy framework guiding the implementation of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation). In February and March, a study tour was conducted to meet with stakeholders in Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Fiji and gather their views about the content of such a framework. Mr Cenon Padolina, Forest Genetic Resource Officer in SPC’s Land Resources Division, said in his introductory remarks at the Fiji consultation that national consultations in a number of countries, representing the diversity that we have in the Pacific, are the first step of the roadmap for the development of the policy framework.

4 April 2012

The inconvenient truth of carbon offsets

By Kevin Anderson, Nature News & Comment, 4 April 2012 | Planet Under Pressure was a major conference on the environment held in London last week. As a climate-change scientist, I was invited to organize a session at it and to present my group’s research. I declined the offer, and here is why. The organizers of the conference said that the event would be “as close to carbon neutral as possible”. There are good ways to achieve this noble goal: virtual engagement such as video conferencing, advice on lower-carbon travel options, and innovative registration tariffs to reward lower-carbon involvement. But, instead, the organizers chose a series of carbon-offset projects financed through a compulsory £35 (US$56) fee levied on all delegates. This was unacceptable to me. Offsetting is worse than doing nothing. It is without scientific legitimacy, is dangerously misleading and almost certainly contributes to a net increase in the absolute rate of global emissions growth.

European NGOs Put IFIs Under Microscope

By Julio Godoy, IPS, 4 April 2012 | European civil society organisations continue to demand that international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund apply the same standards of transparency and accountability to their internal affairs that they demand for governments across the world… Jeroen Kwakkenbos, policy and advocacy officer at the European Network on Debt and Development, told IPS that the World Bank had “neither a mandate nor the qualifications” to participate in the management of the future Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to administrate future financial resources for adaptation and mitigation of climate change, or of REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries). “We urge the IFIs to remain outside the management of these facilities,” Kwakkenbos told IPS.

REDD+ future

By Serelisoni Moceica, Fiji Times Online, 4 April 2012 | Think of your future generations. Members of the media were told to spare a thought for the future of their children and implement programs that would safeguard their natural resources. The consultant for the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) policy, Dr Sean Weaver, said the program would allow developing countries such as Fiji to get paid for keeping their own forests. “This would mean the protection of watersheds, clean water, sources of food and homes to plants and animals,” he said. The REDD+ policy was endorsed by the Fiji government in 2010 to strengthen forest governance in the country. The policy encouraged forest preservation through climate protection. Dr Weaver said target countries for the project were Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, including Fiji.

Indonesian court backs palm oil company over orangutans and carbon storage

By Michael Bachelard, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2012 | The courts in Aceh have failed to protect a carbon-rich peat forest and critically endangered orangutans from the actions of a palm oil company which the central government acknowledges has acted illegally. After five months of detailed argument, the three-judge court sitting in Banda Aceh threw the case out on jurisdictional grounds, saying the complainants from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) should first have sought mediation with the company. The lawyer for the complainants, Kamaruddin, said the judges had used the wrong legislation – the environmental law, not administrative law – to make their determination. He flagged an appeal.

Peru defies UN breakthrough on uncontacted tribes

Survival International, 4 April 2012 | Peru’s government is ignoring new UN guidelines on the protection of uncontacted Indians in the Amazon. Instead of backing the UN’s landmark report, which supports the tribes’ right to be left alone,a Peru is allowing the country’s largest gas project to expand further into indigenous territories known to house numerous uncontacted Indians. The new UN guidance makes clear that uncontacted tribes’ land should be untouchable, and that ‘no rights should be granted that involve the use of natural resources’. The expansion plan adds to existing controversies around Argentine gas giant Pluspetrol and its notorious Camisea project in southeast Peru. Past oil and gas exploration in Peru has resulted in violent and disastrous contact with isolated Indians. In the early 1980s, Shell workers opened up paths into the uncontacted Nahua Indians’ land. Diseases soon wiped out half the tribe.

5 April 2012

The EU-ETS: Fix it or shut it down, please

By Assaad Razzouk (Group CEO of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources),, 5 April 2012 | Failure to fix the EU-ETS now will undermine confidence in the EU’s status as a global leader in the fight against climate change. What’s worse, as I argued above, is that it will lock in more polluting technology and make it increasingly difficult for the European economy to meet future GHG emission reduction targets. And that it will make it even harder to compete with newly energy efficient industries and energy rich nations. If the European Council doesn’t want to fix its ETS, or is unable to, it should shut it down: There is no point carrying on with the EU-ETS in its current, sad state.

[Indonesia] Assessing Protected Area Effectiveness

Environmental Protection, 5 April 2012 | A new study published in Conservation Letters aims to measure whether parks and reserves in the tropics succeed in protecting forests. The new study disentangled the effects of regulations governing access in unprotected lands surrounding the 110,000 sq km protected area network on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Its results showed that measures of the effectiveness of protection differed according to the different land use regulations governing unprotected lands outside protected area boundaries. The study, led by Dr. David Gaveau of Stanford University, and co-authored by Professor Nigel Leader-Williams, a conservation scientist from the University of Cambridge, introduces another twist in the tale of measurement bias. Its results show that controlling for geographic access alone is not enough to remove all measurement biases…

Indonesian Environmentalists File Appeal to Save Orangutans

By Ahmad Pathoni, Jakarta Globe, 5 April 2012 | Indonesian environmentalists said on Thursday they had filed an appeal in a dispute over a palm oil plantation in a protected peat swamp where orangutans are believed to have died because of forest fires. The state administrative court in Aceh province on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit brought by the Walhi group and other conservationists demanding the Aceh governor withdraw a permit allowing Kallista Alam to convert the Tripa peat swamp forest into a palm oil plantation. Deddy Ratih, Walhi’s forest campaigner, said his group had filed an appeal with the higher court in the province. “The area is critical to conservation of rare species including orangutans, many of whom have died because of continuing fires there,” Ratih said.

Ha Tinh forests illegally chopped down, 5 April 2012 | Protected forests upstream in border area near Laos, in the central province of Ha Tinh, have been terribly gutted, forcing authorities to urgently intervene. Most recently, the border guard forces of Ha Tinh discovered and retrieved 333 cubic meters of contraband timber in the Son Hong forest in Huong Khe District thanks to the mobilization of 100 soldiers of reconnaissance teams and local forest rangers. Lieutenant Colonel Vo Trong Hai – Deputy commander of Ha Tinh Border Guard Command said, “The target is not only to bring hundreds of illegal timber logs out of the forest but also to uncover the tricks of forest hijackers to supply evidence for police investigation.” “Among these contraband timber logs, some were chopped down last year; others have just been fallen recently. The headwater forests have been destroyed at an alarming rate, and Ha Tinh People’s Committee should assign a special force to directly handle this incident,” he added.

6 April 2012

7 April 2012

8 April 2012

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