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REDD in the news: 27 August – 2 September 2012

REDD in the news: 27 August - 2 September 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 is updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

REDD+ & Biodiversity e-Newsletter – Volume 20

CBD, July – August 2012 | The aim of this e-Newsletter is to inform CBD National Focal Points and CBD partners about biodiversity aspects in relation to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+).

Forest Carbon Contributes to New Book on REDD+ Published by Springer

Forest Carbon, 2012 | Forest Carbon employees contribute to new book entitled “Managing Forest Carbon in a Changing Climate” that was developed at Yale University and published by Springer. Forests are critical to mitigating the effects of global climate change because they are large storehouses of carbon, but there are significant uncertainties about the actual behavior of many of their sinks and sources, according to a recently published textbook, Managing Forest Carbon in a Changing Climate. The book, written by researchers at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, is a comprehensive review of the science of carbon sequestration in forests, management of forests for carbon mitigation and poverty alleviation, and the socioeconomic and policy implications of managing forests for carbon. Forest Carbon’s Jeffrey Chatellier and Ian Cummins have co-authored two separate chapters of the book.

27 August 2012

Free, prior and informed consent in REDD+

By Isilda Nhantumbo, Eco-Business.com, 27 August 2012 | “The government took our forest land to create a forest reserve and the same government confiscated our land for planting trees. All that is left is unproductive savannah,” said a community representative speaking during a meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The meeting was part of a field trip that took place during the second in a series of dialogues on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) organised by The Forests Dialogue – an initiative that brings together people from different sectors and viewpoints to discuss and find solutions to some of the most difficult challenges facing the world’s forests. The aim of this dialogue was to see how obtaining the free prior, and informed consent of communities could be applied to REDD+, a scheme that aims to compensate communities for keeping their tropical forests intact or for reducing the scale of deforestation.

WWF REDD+ Expectations — UNFCCC Bangkok meeting, August 2012

WWF, 27 August 2012 | Realization of an effective REDD+ mechanism can and must be a significant part of a global climate solution. Without the immediate scaling up of REDD+ action, limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2°C will be almost impossible. Following on important decisions from Cancun and Durban, Parties in Bangkok should use the LCA, and the upcoming ADP to make concrete progress on unresolved REDD+ issues and to position COP19 in Doha for actual decisions on these matters. Most importantly, the LCA’s mandate finishes and therefore REDD+ is wrapping up under the current negotiation tracks. It is crucial that decisions are made about how REDD+ negotiations will continue under the UNFCCC, including the nature and form of REDD+ under a future platform (the ADP), to ensure that REDD+ exists within a comprehensive and legally binding climate agreement.

Hidden Cost of Hamburgers is Greater than Reported

By Robert Goodland, Earth Island Institute, 27 August 2012 | CIR’s report says: “Livestock are a major contributor to greenhouse gas pollution. Right up there with cars, trains, and planes.” Such a comparison between livestock and transport was first published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), but later retracted. Yet CIR’s version of this comparison commits the same mistake that was retracted by the FAO. That is, CIR’s comparison counts only direct emissions from cars, trains, and planes – while counting both direct emissions from livestock and indirect emissions from cleared forests. The CIR report is actually correct to count those emissions. But it doesn’t count them properly.

Development and conservation in the Amazon: which way forward?

By Gabriela Ramirez Galindo, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 August 2012 | Conservation concerns have gained important ground in policy decision making in the Amazon region, but mainstream policy goals to stimulate food and energy supply still need to be more effectively harmonised with environmental policy, a CIFOR expert said ahead of the IUCN World Conservation Congress which begins next week. Pablo Pacheco urged decision makers in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, French Guiana, and Venezuela — the nations that share the five million square kilometre forest — to more aggressively address issues causing tension between economic growth and forest conservation in the Amazon. Issues dominating the development agenda in the Amazon include agricultural expansion (soybean crops and beef cattle), extraction of natural resources (timber, oil and gas and, most recently, minerals) and infrastructure development.

[Indonesia] UN-REDD Workshop Raises Awareness of REDD+ Benefits

UNCC:LEARN, 27 August 2012 | Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, including the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stock (REDD+) can result in multiple benefits such as conservation of forest biodiversity, soil, water, timber and forest products. In order to raise awareness of these benefits, the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN‐REDD) National Programme Management Unit in Indonesia organized a Workshop on Multiple Benefits of REDD+ on 25 and 26 July 2012, in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi, which is a pilot province of the UN-REDD Programme in Indonesia.

28 August 2012

ACR Nested REDD+ Standard: Announcement of Open Public Comment Period and Stakeholder Consultation Webinar

Winrock International and American Carbon Registry press release, 28 August 2012 | Winrock International, a world leader in developing environmentally rigorous forest carbon standards and methodologies, has developed technical guidance for registration on its American Carbon Registry (ACR) of REDD+ projects nested within a jurisdictional accounting framework. The ACR Nested REDD+ Standardwas developed by Winrock International and ACR with assistance from a jurisdictional REDD+ Technical Advisory Team. ACR welcomes on stakeholder comments and feedbackthe Standard through September 28, 2012. The Standardprovides registration requirements for project-level REDD+ activities – including conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks – following baseline, leakage, monitoring and other technical requirements developed at the jurisdictional level provided these meet certain minimum criteria.

Brazil’s Boa Vista Forest Carbon Offset Project Earns Verification from SCS

SCS Global Services, 28 August 2012 | SCS Global Services has verified the Brazilian Boa Vista Afforestation/Reforestation carbon offset project under the American Carbon Registry (ACR) Standard. The project sequesters greenhouse gases (GHG) by planting and managing fast-growing Acacia mangium Willd. trees in plantations over more than 23,000 hectares of previously degraded pastureland in the northern Brazilian state of Roraima. Over forty years the project will sequester an estimated 3.7 million metric tonnes of GHGs, measured in carbon dioxide “equivalents,” while providing important social and environmental benefits. The timber plantations create local employment opportunities, reinforce the rights of indigenous people to collect non-timber materials from the forests, and provide a renewable source of timber. In addition, the project improves local water and soil quality over time. The plantations are operated in compliance with the FSC certification system.

[India] Dongria’s message to Vedanta ahead of AGM: “We won’t leave our land”

Survival International, 28 August 2012 | Ahead of the AGM of Vedanta Resources in London today, India’s Dongria Kondh tribe has sent a strong message to the company’s chairman Anil Agarwal. ‘Even if Anil Agarwal himself comes here, we won’t leave our land. We will use all our strength to make them leave this place. Let us live our lives in peace,’ two Dongria women said to Survival. The FTSE100 company is intent on mining the Dongria’s mountain for bauxite.

Blue carbon: A new hope for Indonesia

By Andreas A. Hutahaean (Indonesia Blue Carbon Project), Jakarta Post, 28 August 2012 | Moreover, the Indonesian program on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is running slow and its forest moratorium has not worked well, making it unlikely that the Indonesian government will meet its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020… Tropical coastal-marine ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrass meadows are known as hot spots for biodiversity and for their valuable ecosystem services. Recently, scientists found out about the important functions of the ecosystems as carbon sequestration or sinks. This carbon, captured by coastal-marine organisms through photosynthesis, has been called blue carbon…. Having the largest mangrove and seagrass ecosystems in the world makes blue carbon important for Indonesia’s climate change strategy…

[Indonesia] Papuans claim Australian link to death squad

By Hayden Cooper and Lisa Main, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 August 2012 | An elite counter-terrorism unit trained and supplied by Australia is being accused of acting as a death squad in Indonesia’s troubled West Papua region. The group, known as Detachment 88, receives training, supplies and extensive operational support from the Australian Federal Police. But there is growing evidence the squad is involved in torture and extra-judicial killings as part of efforts by Indonesian authorities to crush the separatist movement in West Papua.

[Indonesia] Rainforests decline sharply in Sumatra, but rate of deforestation slows

By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 28 August 2012 | The extent of old-growth forest in Sumatra shrank by 40 percent over the past 20 years, while overall forest on the Indonesian island declined by 36 percent, finds a comprehensive new satellite-based assessment published in Environmental Research Letters. The research, conducted by an international team led by Belinda Arunarwati Margono of South Dakota State University and Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry, reveals the dire condition of Sumatra’s once extensive rainforests. Overall Sumatra lost 7.5 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2010, of which about 2.6 million hectares was primary forest. The bulk of forest loss occurred in secondary forests that had been previously degraded by logging. Only 8 percent of Sumatra retains virgin forest.

Bangkok 2012: Forests could make or break New Zealand’s Kyoto two commitments

By Tierney Smith, RTCC, 28 August 2012 | Decisions on forestry could be make or break for New Zealand’s climate change obligations, making it the key issue for the country heading into the Bangkok talks later his week. Forestry is big business for New Zealand – responsible for 3% of the country’s GDP and employing 20,000 people – and is also a key part of the country’s climate mitigation plans… “Forests currently provide a net sink and the major forest planting that took place in the 1990s is the only reason New Zealand will meet its modest Kyoto obligation,” says Peter Hardstaff, climate change programme manager at WWF New Zealand. “Despite an increase in gross emissions since 1990, New Zealand will end commitment period one with a surplus. However, these forests are due to be harvested beginning later this decade and into the 2020s.”

29 August 2012

Carbon markets may increase cost of fighting climate change

By Annie Reece, Resource magazine, 29 August 2012 | A report released by the Rainforest Foundation yesterday (28 August) has found that using forest carbon markets could actually increase (rather than reduce) the cost of tackling climate change and may not reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to ‘major design loopholes’. ‘Rainforest Roulette? Why creating a forest carbon offset market is a risky bet for REDD’ looks closely at the use of forest carbon markets in offsetting carbon emissions, and finds that rather than reducing emissions, these markets are frequently increasing emissions, and are weighted to favour carbon traders rather than forest communities.

REDD+ revisited – steady pace or passed momentum?

By L. Westholm, E. Mattsson and M. Ostwald, Focali, 29 August 2012 | Two years ago Focali published an update on the latest development in REDD+ pilot initiatives (Focali Brief 2010:04). We now revisit the REDD+ scene to take a look at what has happened with the initiatives, investments and readiness work as the negotiations seem to have lost momentum. The brief reviews developments between pilot countries and the three major multilateral schemes; UN-REDD, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and Forest Investment Program (FIP) and provides an overview of the donors contributing to these schemes. The brief concludes that REDD+ experienced a peak in 2010, as a discussion topic and as a recipient of public and private funding and discuss what has happened since then and ask the following: was the momentum for REDD+ in 2010 a passing fancy or is there genuine commitment to achieving consensus and driving long-term change.

[Australia] Joining the EU is a cautious climate tick

By Erwin Jackson (The Climate Institute), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 August 2012 | Australia’s carbon laws are designed to do two things: reduce pollution to levels consistent with avoiding dangerous climate change; and drive low pollution investment in Australia. With this in mind The Climate Institute cautiously welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Government to join Australia’s carbon price to the European Union’s. Much of the recent political debate in Australia has suggested that our carbon laws have been more ambitious than those in other economies. Some businesses have been calling for the minimum price floor of $15/tonne of pollution from 2015 to be removed despite that fact that many advanced economies have carbon prices in place higher than this level (for example, Californian permits have been recently trading at $16 to $21/tonne).

Emissions from Amazon deforestation in Brazil fall 57% since 2004

mongabay.com, 29 August 2012 | Annual emissions from deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by about 57 percent between 2004 and 2011, 20 percentage points lower than the recorded drop in deforestation, reports a new study published in the journal Global Change Biology by Brazilian scientists. Overall, Brazilian deforestation represented roughly 1.5 percent of global carbon emissions from human activities. The results are based on a new emissions tracking system developed by researchers at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and other institutions. The system uses satellite data and biomass maps to estimate carbon emissions on an annual basis. According to Nature, the 20 percent difference between the drop in annual forest clearing and emissions can be partly attributed to “a natural lag as carbon stocks slowly decay and make their way into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.”

Laos shares land and forestry management goals

Vientiane Times, 29 August 2012 | Land and forestry is the primary resource of the nation, and needs to be managed properly in order to improve local people’s living conditions and further socio-economic development in Laos. To manage these natural resources sustainably and for the benefit of all Lao people, the country should have suitable policies and good mechanisms for implementation, Vice President of the National Assembly, Dr. Xaysomphone Phomvihane said at the workshop on land and forestry tenure reform in Vientiane yesterday. Appropriate policy and good legal mechanisms will make domestic and foreign investors confident and attract more companies to invest within the country, he said. The workshop is being held with the aim of improving knowledge about land and forest use and management among Lao government officials, especially land and forestry authorities.

[Pakistan] REDD+ initiative for saving forests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

By Zubair Torwali, dawn.com, 29 August 2012 | Merlin’s Wood in partnership with the country’s ministry of environment has developed a REDD+ programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to tackle the problem of deforestation. The project, which focuses on biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, will serve as a model for the wider region and nationally. It is claimed that project activities will benefit lives of 75,000 people who live in villages and settlements bordering the forest area… Pakistan has yet to undertake the mechanism on a national level, but recently the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has leased lands to Merlin’s Wood for the next 40 years to start the REDD activities in Battagram, Torghar and Mansehra districts in Hazara division; and Swat in Malakand division. It is not known whether the government has negotiated the lease with the communities of the target areas.

[UK] Carbon credit scam claims a £7,900 victim

By Andrew Penman, The Mirror, 29 August 2012 | Carbon credits are certificates bought by firms to offset ­pollution and they are traded on international markets. They are also being sold by conmen who exploit the fact that they’re trendy, green – and hard to understand. Bob Wright of Lincoln was persuaded by London Carbon Credit Company to invest £5,000 in one lot of so-called “voluntary emission reduction” credits and £2,900 in a second lot. But now London Carbon Credit’s phones and emails are not being answered and its prestigious address in Hanover Square, Central London, turns out to be just a virtual office. “I have tried in vain to get my money back since the end of April and now it looks like they may have disappeared,” Mr Wright said.

Yanomami Indians ‘massacred’ by goldminers in Venezuela

Survival International, 29 August 2012 | Goldminers in Venezuela have carried out a ‘massacre’ of isolated Yanomami Indians, according to reports received by Survival International. Witnesses of the aftermath described finding ‘burnt bodies and bones’ when they visited the community of Irotatheri in the country’s Momoi region, close to the border with Brazil. Initial reports suggest up to 80 people have been killed, but these numbers are impossible to confirm. Only three survivors have been found. The attack is believed to have happened in July, but news is only just emerging. Due to the community’s remote location, it took the Indians who discovered the bodies days to walk to the nearest settlement to report the tragedy. Luis Shatiwe Yanomami, a leader of the Yanomami organisation Horonami, was in Parima and spoke to the Indians about what they saw. He heard how those who survived had been hunting at the time the community’s communal house was set alight.

30 August 2012

REDD+: an Opportunity to Finance Sustainable Forest Management

scope|acp, 30 August 2012 | Tony Simons, Director-general of the World Agroforestry Centre states “Trees provide not only ecological resilience but also cash income, energy, environmental services, fodder for animals and nutritious fruits”. Forestry plays a major role in preventing and reversing land degradation. The numerous benefits that trees provide are a good reason for investing in sustainable forest management on a long term also for a continued and sustainable development. REDD+ is a mechanism for the implementation of the United Nations framework convention on Climate Change. This mechanism intends to create incentives for developing countries in order to protect, better manage and use forest resources in a sustainable manner. REDD+ tries to create financial value of the carbon stored in trees and make forests more valuable standing than they would be cut down.

Carbon credits, energy efficiency and education

The Guardian, 30 August 2012 | The founder and managing director of Industry Carbon and mytreefrog.com talks about the SOS Challenge, a new initiative designed to help schools improve energy efficiency, save money and teach students about sustainability. mytreefrog.com was established to help the public understand the value of a type of carbon credit known as REDD. These credits work by ensuring that rainforest is protected from segregation through illegal destruction or indigenous people needing to destroy the forest just to live. The credits work because the trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the body of the tree. When forestry is destroyed on an industrial scale, we not only lose the absorption capability but the CO2 is invariably released back into the atmosphere as a result of the slash and burn tactics employed in the practice. So, REDD credits protect forest by securing land that would otherwise be at risk.

Nations warn of broken promises at UN climate talks

Reuters, 30 August 2012 | Almost 50 of the world’s poorest nations said pledges made by rich countries to provide funds to help them adapt to a warmer planet risk being overlooked as UN negotiations over a global climate pact to start in 2020 got underway in Bangkok on Thursday. The group of mostly African nations said that ill-fated talks launched in 2007 to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol must not end without richer nations pledging financial aid to help them cope with rising sea levels cause by climate change. Traditional industrialized nations such as the EU, the US and Japan want to close down the talks, which failed in 2009 to produce a legally-binding global pact to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases starting next year. They want to focus on a new deal to take effect at the end of the decade.

[Australia] Origin drops forestry deal amid carbon worries

Business Spectator, 30 August 2012 | Origin Energy has quit $133 million worth of options for forestry projects in Australia amid fears that the price of carbon will plunge, according to The Australian Financial Review. The federal government’s move to abandon plans for a carbon price floor threatens to make it cheaper for carbon emitters to buy carbon units on the market instead of investing in carbon sinks like forests. However, Origin denied that its decision to walk away from its 2013 contract with carbon sink developer Carbon Conscious was at all related to the government’s announcement. Carbon Conscious director of business development Dan Stevens said the decision by Origin, which is the company’s largest client, was motivated by an expectation that carbon prices will fall after 2015, when the local market tethers itself to the European market. “It has something to do with market sentiment and uncertainty around the carbon price,” he said, according to the AFR.

Australia Carbon Price Mechanism linkage to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

Citola, 30 August 2012 | The Australian Government announced on 28 August 2012 that it would implement a one-way link between Australia’s Carbon Price Mechanism and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) from 1 July 2015. The Australian Government and European Commission would then negotiate a two-way link between the schemes to commence from 1 July 2018. The key changes to the scheme are the removal of the floor price and a restriction of 12.5% on the use of Certified Emission Reduction Units (CERs), Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) and Removal Units (RMUs) within the overall 50% annual limit on the surrender of international units by liable entities… Transitioning to an Emissions Trading Scheme integrates Australia with the largest and most liquid carbon market globally, the EU ETS, and opens the way to integrate with other schemes such as New Zealand, California, and Korea in the future… Citola welcomes the certainty that changes bring to the market.

[Australia] Missing the point on carbon pricing

By Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 30 August 2012 | Thanks to the deep recession, Europe’s emissions over the last few years have been dramatically lower than the interim caps the European Commission has set. This means they can leave most of their industrial facilities and power stations unchanged and still easily meet their 2020 target thanks to a large bank of surplus allowances. In fact they could even cut back on some of their renewable energy support policies to save money and instead use a bit more gas. Australia could also make no change to its industrial infrastructure, or in fact allow it to become even more polluting, and still barely raise a sweat in meeting its 2020 target. This could be done by buying a large amount of $5 carbon credits from developing countries. From the atmosphere’s perspective it won’t notice the difference in 2020. But both Australia and Europe’s industrial muscles will not have been exercised by the carbon price…

EU-OZ link sets global emissions trading scheme in motion

Sandbag, 30 August 2012 | The prospect of a global carbon market came one step close this week with the announcements that Australia and the EU are to link their respective emissions trading schemes (ETSs). This is not the first time the EU has sought to link its scheme, negotiations will Switzerland were announced in November 2011 and the European Commission has openly remarked that talks with South Korea, California and China were under way. This announcement sets the EU-OZ scheme on course to becoming the de facto global emissions trading scheme. Australia had previously spoken about the creation of an Asia Pacific trading scheme, along with their neighbours New Zealand, China and South Korea. This latest move is likely to focus fledgling emissions trading schemes’ attention on how they might join the EU-OZ partnership in years to come.

Brazil’s controversial Belo Monte back on track after court decision overruled

mongabay.com, 30 August 2012 | Brazil’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered work on the controversial Belo Monte dam in the Amazon to resume, overturning a lower court order that suspended the project less than two weeks ago. Construction activities by the Norte Energia, the consortium building the dam, resumed immediately, according to the Associated Press. Supreme Court Justice Ayres Britto granted the request for an injunction made by the Attorney-General on the grounds that the lower court “disregarded” an earlier decision by the Supreme Court. However Britto said the new ruling could still be revised. Cleber Buzatto, executive director CIMI, an indigenous rights group, told the A.P. his organization would continue to fight Belo Monte. “We are confident that in analyzing the merit of the case, the court will see that the government has focused all its arguments on the economic aspects of the project and none on the impact it will have on human lives.”

[Indonesia] Defending West Papuan activism

By Jim Middleton, ABC News, 30 August 2012 | Australia has raised hackles in Jakarta over Canberra’s response to an ABC report accusing an Indonesian counter-terrorism unit of human rights violations in West Papua. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has called on Jakarta to investigate the killing of a West Papuan activist Mako Tabuni. Jennifer Robinson is an Australian lawyer best known for representing Julian Assange. But for a decade she was deeply involved in providing legal assistance to West Papuan activists.

[Malaysia] Sabah protects 700 sq mi of rainforest in Borneo

mongabay.com, 30 August 2012 | Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo, has reclassified 183,000 hectares (700 sq km) of forest zoned for logging concessions as protected areas. The Sabah Forestry Department recently re-gazetted Ulu Segama Forest Reserve and Northern Gunung Rara — formerly Class 2 commercial forests — as Class 1 protection forests, effectively protecting them from further logging or conversion to plantations. The reserves border the Danum Valley conservation area, which is world-renown for its research facilities and high levels of biodiversity. Although the area has been selectively logged, it remains key habitat for endangered orangutans, Bornean clouded leopards, Sumatran rhinos, and pygmy elephants, according to conservationists.

Indigenous groups in Panama wait for UN REDD to meet promises

By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 30 August 2012 | A dispute over the implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) in Panama has pitted the United Nations (UN) against the nation’s diverse and large indigenous groups. Represented by the National Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP), indigenous groups charge that the UN has failed to meet several pledges related to kick-starting REDD+ with their support, including delaying a $1.79 million payment to the group to begin REDD+-related activities. The on-going dispute highlights the perils and complexities of implementing REDD+, especially concerns that the program might disenfranchise indigenous groups who have long been the stewards of their forest territories.

[Thailand] The real enemy of our forests

Bangkok Post, 30 August 2012 | Kanya Pankiti’s rubber smallholding in Trang’s Ratsada district in the Khao Bantad mountain region is not an ordinary one. Hers is not the typical commercial plantation promoted by authorities where rows of rubber trees stand neatly side by side without any undergrowth, thanks to chemical herbicides. Kanya’s rubber orchard looks like a small jungle. The rubber trees are thriving together with all sorts of local fruit trees, bamboo bushes, herbs and other forest food plants such as the sataw, luk niang, and pak liang southern delicacies. It’s an ecologically-friendly rubber agroforest which has sustained both the green cover and the locals’ livelihoods for generations. It’s also the way of life for thousands of families in the Khao Bantad mountain region. Yet the government wants to wipe it out. An army of 1,500 fully armed forest guards are now ready for the big raze. Backed by a 50 million baht budget approved by the Yingluck Shinawatra government…

[USA] California Tests Cap And Trade System

By Kathleen Masterson, KPBS.org, 30 August 2012 | California officials held a trial auction to test the state’s new system for selling carbon credits today. Starting this November some companies will be required to pay for their pollution emissions as part of California’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. Many of those companies took part in the test of the auction software. Stanley Young is with the California Air Resources Board, which is running the auction. “What we’re trying to do is present the system with a range of challenges by putting in very low bids, high bids, and we’re trying to make sure that the system rejects bad bids, and accepts the correct ones,” said Young. The key question will be how the auction sets prices for carbon offsets. Young says the board designed the system to learn from challenges the European Union has faced. There low carbon prices have sometimes been a problem.

31 August 2012

Bangkok UNFCCC Sessions Kick-off with REDD+ Finance Debate

RECOFTC’s Blog, 31 August 2012 | An area where progress is urgently needed in the run-up to COP 18 in Doha is how ‘results-based’ REDD+ will be financed. The good news is that there has clearly been much work put into debating and analyzing the options, backed up with formal party and observer submissions in March, work-shopping and a UNFCCC technical paper published in July. During the final session, the Chair was moved to remark that each Party was beginning their statement with ‘as has already been said’ or ‘we are in full agreement with’. Typical workshop idiom – but in UNFCCC discussions, Parties have a duty to defend their interests. Perhaps the consensus on these issues, at least at this stage, is building.

REDD+ Activities highlighted in ITTO Annual Report

World Agroforestry Centre, 31 August 2012 | Reporting on its activities during 2011, the UN International Year of Forests, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) has paid particular attention to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stock (REDD+). The report looks at successful partnerships with the private sector, including one which supports estimations of carbon benefits from REDD+ activities, including investments in agroforestry and ecotourism in Indonesia. It also summarizes work with the Government of Japan on REDD+ Readiness to assess the opportunities and challenges of developing REDD+ projects in Indonesia and Brazil. In 2011, the ITTO spent over US$4 million on 14 projects in Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa relating to REDD+.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 31 August 2012 | In this issue, our global forest carbon market tracking plants us first in Ecuador, which recently kicked off its UN-REDD National Programme during the country’s inception workshop in the province of Sucumbios – engaging various stakeholders including provincial and local government officials, national and international NGOs, community members and indigenous groups. Meanwhile, multilateral groups in Indonesia and offsite researchers studying projects based in Brazil, Cameroon and Tanzania stress participation of local communities and indigenous groups in the REDD+ process. In REDD+ financing, Ghana may be getting financial support from the Embassy of Switzerland in the area of $4 million, while the first glance at Forest Trend’s Expenditure Tracking Project progress offers some explanations for regions’ potential gaps in funds reporting.

Amazon forest threat is greater outside Brazil

The Washington Post, 31 August 2012 | Across this corner of eastern Bolivia, peasants torch the forest for subsistence crops, while soy producers clear trees to plant one of the world’s great cash crops. Their relentless push, much of it legal, has given Bolivia the highest rate of Amazonian deforestation and underscored a little-known trend that environmentalists say should be a wake-up call for the world’s greatest forest. While environmental campaigns have, for decades, focused on Brazil’s Amazon, today in South America, it is the enormous expanse of Amazonian forest outside Brazil, in a moon-shaped arc from Bolivia to Colombia and east to French Guiana, that is facing its most serious threat. In Brazil, the enforcement of land-use laws reduced deforestation by 76 percent in eight years…

Brazilian Congress waters down forest protection

Nature News Blog, 31 August 2012 | The text of Brazil’s controversial Forest Code went through what is likely to be its final convulsion on Wednesday 29 August, after years of debate about how the country should balance the interests of farmers and developers with the need to protect the country’s forests. Although forest protection has been enshrined in Brazilian law since the 1960s, stricter enforcement of the rules in recent years had prompted complaints from landowners, who argued that the law was hampering the country’s development… Brazilian Environment minister Izabella Teixeira said she was “saddened” by the final form of the Forest Code, adding that the text “lacks balance”. It is not yet clear if she will push for another veto to the bill. Watering down the presidential text was, however, considered by government allies as the only possible way of pushing the forest legislation forwards.

[Indonesia] MP3EI infrastructure projects flounder as govt fails to act

Jakarta Post, 31 August 2012 | What is MP3EI? The program is a set of plans and actions to build economic clusters and business centers on all of Indonesia’s major islands to support their unique local economies. The corridors are defined as six economic development highways, mostly located along coastlines, which will connect economic growth centers on five islands: Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. For example, the northern coast of East Java will be developed as a hub for the petrochemical and shipbuilding industries, while the province’s inland areas will be developed as centers for the food and beverage sectors. South Sumatra and Riau will become the nation’s hubs for the palm oil processing industry under the scheme, while Bali and Lombok will be centers for tourism. Remote and isolated Papua has been slated to become a center for gas, gold and copper exploration, while its southern parts would be allocated to food plantations.

1 September 2012

Brazil asks Venezuela to investigate village massacre claims

Reuters, 1 September 2012 | Brazil is pressing Venezuela to determine whether Brazilian gold miners crossed the border and massacred a village of about 80 indigenous people from a helicopter. The alleged assault, which a tribal group says could have killed more than 70 people in early July, came to light this week when the group asked Venezuela’s government to investigate. Because of the remoteness of the region and the scattered nature of the native settlements, fellow tribe members were able to alert the government only on Monday. Brazil’s foreign ministry said on Friday that its embassy in Caracas had asked the Venezuelan government to provide it with any information that could help it determine whether the attack had happened and whether Brazilians had been involved. Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, a government body that oversees indigenous affairs, said it would seek a joint investigation by officials from both countries at the site.

2 September 2012


PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.

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