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.
8 October 2012
By T.V. Padma, SciDev.Net’s Blog, 8 October 2012 | It looks like a solution for one of group of environmentalists can, sometimes, become a problem for another. Or so I learnt this afternoon at a session that examined whether countries’ forest policies are promoting or hindering biodiversity conservation. The answer? Hindering. The topic turned to REDD (Reduction of Deforestation and Degradation) – a mechanism under the UN that is designed to use market and financial incentives in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation; and REDD+ which recognizes and rewards efforts at reforestation and afforestation… A group of non-government organisations (NOGs) and indigenous peoples organisations (IPOs) circulated a statement that says REDD+ as mechanism “suffers from a large number of inherent risks and problems which cannot be remedied”.
By Gabriel Thoumi, mongabay.com, 8 October 2012 | Professor Hall has produced an excellent contribution to the growing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) literature. He has written both a foundational analysis of the concepts underpinning REDD with a detailed history of REDD-similar activities spanning almost a half century followed by a discussion of the socio-economic frameworks of current REDD practices in Latin America.
By William Allen, The Guardian, 8 October 2012 | Until the 1960s, the region consisted of a few isolated forest villages. Then roads, built mainly to access oil and timber, opened the the area to illegal colonization and slash-and-burn agriculture. The reserve was created in 1990 to help control deforestation, but CONAP, financially strapped and often overruled by government officials friendly to the ranchers, has been hampered in its attempts to control the wave of destruction, McNab and others say. Today the human population is 118,000, with most living in poverty. Criminal activity in the area began to intensify a decade ago, further accelerating the destruction of the western half of the reserve. An important factor is that northern Guatemala is ideally situated to refuel drug aircraft flying from South America and transfer narcotics to trucks for the easy drive to Mexico. The cartels operated in a “climate of impunity” since the army and police lacked the power to take them on…
ScandAsia.Com, 8 October 2012 | Since Norway and Indonesia have signed the letter of Intent agreement on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+), Indonesia is expected to deliver some key milestones by the end of this year. Media play an important role in informing the public and it’s important that journalists have good understanding about the issues. A two-day workshop on “How should we report a climate change and REDD+” for Indonesian media, held in Pekanbaru, Riau province on 25-26 September, gathered many local journalists to learn more about REDD+ issues. “Media plays a critical role not only in presenting hard news issues such as illegal logging and other forest-related crimes or events, but to also act as an agent of change by providing in-depth coverage to make people understand climate change, forestry and REDD+ issues more comprehensively,” said Mr. Petrus Suryadi of Dr. Soetomo Press Institute.
Forest Carbon, 8 October 2012 | WWF and Forest Carbon are conducting a technical feasibility assessment of a new Trans-boundary REDD+ project in CentralVietnam and Southern Laos. The “Avoidance of deforestation and forest degradation in the border area of Southern Laos and Central Vietnam for the long‐term preservation of carbon sinks and biodiversity” project, referred to locally as the “CarBi Project” is made up of the two Sao La Nature Reserves and the Bach Ma National Park in Vietnam, as well as the Xe Sap National Protected Area in Laos. Together, the two contiguous regions comprise an area of more than 200,000 hectares. Forest Carbon, a southeast Asian environmental consulting firm, is carrying out the initial assessment focused on looking at the feasibility of combining the two contiguous forest conservation areas, in different countries, into either a single or joint project-level activities under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
By Alloycious David, The News (Monrovia), 8 October 2012 | Local farmers across the country are blaming government’s policies that allocated large-scale industrial mining, logging and agriculture concessions for climate change in the country. Participants at a recent workshop organized by Green Advocates with funding from the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) in Rivercess County southeast of Liberia have blamed current changes in their climatic conditions as well as the current rate of deforestation and forest degradation on an elitist-led massive land grabbing by foreign concessionaires. The farmers said that the current rate of deforestation and forest degradation has never been witnessed before in Liberia since the granting of the US$1million concession to the Firestone Agriculture Plantation in 1926.
Reuters, 8 October 2012 | Norway will almost double carbon taxes on the oil industry in 2013 and raise cash to help developing nations protect tropical forests as part of measures to combat climate change, its draft budget showed on Monday. The carbon tax on the offshore petroleum industry would be raised by 200 Norwegian crowns ($35.3) per tonne in 2013, it said. “This corresponds to an emissions charge of roughly 410 crowns per tonne of carbon dioxide,” the government said. The budget also proposes a 50 crowns per tonne tax on emissions from the fishing industry. The government would also create a fund of 10 billion crowns to promote cuts in greenhouse gases and renewable energy. Use of fossil fuels is the main source of greenhouse gases from mankind’s activities. Norway would also raise the amount of cash spent to help developing nations protect tropical forests, which absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, to 3 billion crowns in 2013, up about 400 million from 2012.
9 October 2012
By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 9 October 2012 | Supply of United Nations carbon offsets from industrial-gas projects is set to almost quadruple in October as 10 projects applied to receive credits from tomorrow through Oct. 31. The projects, which reduce greenhouse-gas pollution from hydrofluorocarbon-23 and nitrous oxide produced in the manufacture of adipic acid, requested 10 million Certified Emission Reductions, or CERs, compared with a total of 2.4 million tons in September and 3.9 million metric tons in August, UN data show. The executive board of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, the body responsible for regulating CERs, is scheduled to deliver a total of 28 million tons of credits this month, compared with 14.5 million in September, according to UN data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the biggest monthly volume since January and the seventh-largest on record, the data show. Credits from HFC-23 and nitrous oxide projects will be banned in the European Union from April.
Energy and Environmental Management Magazine, 9 October 2012 | The UK has called on the EU to cancel supply of up to 1.8bn CO2 permits in the Emissions Trading Scheme, to force carbon prices higher and encourage the private sector to invest in technology that cuts emissions. The European Commission is proposing to delay the sale of up to 1.2bn permits over the next three years to double current prices of about 8 euros, thereby encouraging investment in renewable energy and carbon capture and storage plants. Its plan is to introduce the permits into the market later, in the 2013-2020 trading phase of the $148bn scheme. But Ed Davey, the British energy and climate change secretary, yesterday used a speech to tell Connie Hedegaard, the European Climate Commissioner, who was in the audience, to get the Commission to cancel the allowances permanently.
By Fred Pearce, FERN, 9 October 2012 | This report charts the progress being made by the VPAs in encouraging forest reform and improved social justice in forests. It suggests that, while progress has not been universal — and forest exploiters are adept at finding the weakest link in any form of governance — the VPAs are succeeding. They are unique initiatives in governance. By providing a key to unlock wider actors in civil society, they offer a template for better governance far beyond the forests.
By Peter Holmgren (CIFOR), The Guardian, 9 October 2012 | Results released last year from a six-year study by the Center for International Forestry Research, show that forest income, on average, constitutes more than one-fifth of total household income for people living in or near forests. This includes wood for fuel and construction, bushmeat, edible and medicinal plants. Forest products also contribute significantly to global business and trade; wood and non-wood forest products constitute 4% of global trade in commodities. Forests also provide environmental services that are critical for sustaining life, such as biodiversity and of course climate regulation through carbon storage. While REDD+ has helped raise awareness about this latter service, there is surprisingly limited debate around the ways in which the combined benefits of forestry add up to make a weighty contribution to global sustainable development solutions.
IIASA, 9 October 2012 | ESM Researcher Florian Kraxner will introduce the REDD-PAC project at the CBD COP11 site-event. Further he will explain the links between REDD and ecosystem services with special focus on biodiversity. .. Any of the five forest-based climate change mitigation activities included in REDD+ can potentially contribute towards achievement of the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Targets. In this site event, UNEP-WCMC and IIASA will introduce the REDD-PAC project that aims to link REDD+ implementation with progress towards the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The project will evaluate biodiversity impacts associated with REDD+ implementation in the Congo Basin and Brazil based on land-use modeling and biodiversity indicators, and will conduct related analyses for other countries. Current concepts for linking REDD+ outcomes with progress towards biodiversity targets will be presented and national partners will describe initial in-country experiences.
By Tierney Smith, Responding to Climate Change, 9 October 2012 | United Nations environmental negotiations on the REDD+ mechanism need to be streamlined, according to coalition of Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia and Argentina. The call came on day two of the Convention on Biodiversity’s (CBD) bi-annual conference in Hyderabad, India… “A great deal of progress has been made on REDD+ since COP10 [in Nagoya Japan],” Brazil said. “The outcomes of Cancun [UNFCCC COP16] and Durban [UNFCCC COP17] should be considered so as not to threaten the work being carried out under the UNFCCC and to ensure the CBD mandate is fulfilled. “We must always take REDD+ negotiations in the context and the logic of climate change…This leaves a good part of the recommendations here redundant. We risk creating barriers to REDD+ rather than use it to its full objective. We should not forget that it was created for the needs of the UNFCCC.”
Amazon Watch, 9 October 2012 | Yesterday some 120 indigenous demonstrators from the Xipaia, Kuruaia, Parakanã, Arara, Juruna and Assurini peoples united with a group of fishermen who have maintained a steadfast 24-day occupation of the Belo Monte dam’s main work camp on the Xingu River in protest of the Norte Energia dam-building consortium’s imminent plans to definitively dam the Amazon’s Xingu River. The renewed occupation of the project’s earthen cofferdams paralyzed construction works, while indigenous protestors seized the keys of trucks and tractors forcing workers to leave the strategic Pimental work camp on foot.
IIASA, 9 October 2012 | IIASA researchers participated in three workshops in the last week that focused on developing effective strategies for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. IIASA’s REDD Policy Assessment Center (REDD-PAC) Project uses land-use modeling to help identify which policies are economically efficient, socially fair, and beneficial for biodiversity and other ecosystem values. Last week, ESM researchers Géraldine Bocquého and Aline Mosnier participated in a REDD-PAC workshop in the Congo Basin, a follow-up on the official kick-off meeting organized in Brazil in May 2012. During the workshop, a strategy was developed to improve project ownership at the country level. Second, four pilot countries were chosen for the high-resolution modelling work: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo, Central African Republic and Cameroon. For more information, see the event page: REDD-PAC Workshop in the Congo Basin.
10 October 2012
By Steven Shonts, Ecosystem Marketplace, 10 October 2012 | Governments around the world have committed to reducing the 17 % of greenhouse gas emissions which arise from land use change and forestry. The result so far has been the creation of the REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) financing mechanism, which is designed to funnel private-sector money to projects that save endangered rainforests. But the private sector has been slow to follow suit. In the 2012 2012 State of Voluntary Carbon Markets report, for example, Ecosystem Marketplace identified just $87 million per year in transacted REDD projects in 2010 and 2011 – and not all of that came from private-sector buyers. This pales in comparison to the $4.5 billion that governments have pledged for 2010 through the end of this year – an average of roughly $1.5 billion per year. More importantly, it’s nowhere near the $17 to $28 billion per year that many economists say is needed…
Survival International, 10 October 2012 | Australia’s Channel 7 goes to court tomorrow (11 October) seeking judicial review of a devastating ruling against it by the press regulator ACMA. ACMA found that the Channel broke the ‘racism clause’ of the broadcasting code by screening a report about a Brazilian tribe so extreme it was labeled ‘Freakshow TV’ by Survival International. The report labelled Brazil’s Suruwaha Indians child murderers; ‘Stone Age’ relics; and ‘one of the worst human rights violators in the world’. Survival complained to Australia’s regulator ACMA Channel 7 refused Survival’s request to issue a correction to its report, broadcast on its Sunday Night program.
Bernama, 10 October 2012 | Malaysia will pursure its first carbon offset conservation programme involving the conservation of carbon at a biologically diverse forest site within the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) campus here. The programme, a collaboration between FRIM and Bumi Armada Bhd, would involve the conservation of carbon stored at Field 11, a 5.6 hectare of rich biologically diverse forest site within FRIM’s 544 hectare campus. The signing of the collaborative effort was signed Wednesday by FRIM director-general Datuk Dr Abd Latif Mohmod and Bumi Armada’s executive director and chief executive officer Hassan Basma. Dr Abd Latif said Field 11 has the capacity to store the equivalent of 3,938.6 tons of carbon dioxide annually and Bumi Armada’s RM107,000 contribution would cover the carbon credits from the conservation of the forest within the project site for over a period of five years.
RECOFTC’s Blog for People and Forests, 10 October 2012 | Between 17 and 21 September 2012, 20 participants from across Indonesia worked with expert facilitators from RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, during the first ever training on FPIC in support of the implementation of the REDD+ national strategy. The first part of the training however, was designed as a high level seminar open to a wider interest group. Various proponents of REDD+, representing community forestry, private companies, the National Forestry Council, and indigenous and local people shared their experiences and views on FPIC with over 70 participants. Expert presentations helped to develop the views on key questions surrounding FPIC: What is FPIC, who benefits from it and why is FPIC important for REDD+?
11 October 2012
BusinessGreen, 11 October 2012 | UN carbon credits could be worth just 50 euro cents by the end of the decade due to a huge oversupply of allowances, hitting investment in its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), analysts Thomson Reuters Point Carbon warned yesterday. The current surplus of Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits generated in the UN’s CDM and Joint Implementation (JI) schemes, and used by companies to offset their emissions, could be as large as 1.43 billion for the period up to 2020, the company said. The projected surplus is almost one-and-a-half times the previous estimate of 900 million CERs, and is expected to apply serious downward pressure to carbon prices. The glut of credits, and worries over the credibility of the carbon-cutting projects generating them, has already sent CER prices spiralling to less than €2 a tonne and seen the use of CERs limited in both the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) and Australia’s forthcoming carbon market.
By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 11 October 2012 | European Union carbon permits gained 1.2 percent as Barclays Plc increased its price forecast for the allowances next year by 13 percent, citing EU plans to delay auctioning some allowances from 2013. EU permits for delivery in December rose 9 cents to 7.81 euros ($10.10) a metric ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices next year in the bloc’s carbon market will average 8.50 euros a ton, up from a prediction of 7.50 euros previously, Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at the bank in London, said today in a report. “We maintain our forecast that 700 million tons will be back-ended but assume that 60 percent of those volumes are taken out of 2013,” Sikorski said. “We now assume the volumes only come back in from 2018 onwards.”
By Betwa Sharma, New York Times, 11 October 2012 | If it’s Thursday, it must be Tree Diversity Day – at least for the nature lovers milling about the ballroom of a massive conference center in Hyderabad, home of the 11-day United Nations Conference on Biodiversity. About 8,000 tree species, approximately 10 percent of the Earth’s total, is threatened with extinction. The Tree Diversity Day, organized by the World Agroforestry Center based in Nairobi, brought together experts to discuss ways of preventing these losses. During one such discussion, M.S. Swaminathan, often called the father of the Green Revolution in India, stressed the need to create “biohappiness” to stop biodiversity degradation. To explain his point, Dr. Swaminathan spoke of largely poor people living along the most biodiversity-rich parts of the Great Rift Valley in Africa. “Bio-resources need to create jobs and livelihoods,” he said. “This will create prosperity between man and nature.”
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 11 October 2012 | If the world is to conserve its wealth of life—species great and small, beautiful and terrible, beloved and unknown—it will cost from $3.41-4.76 billion annually in targeted conservation funds, according to a new study in Science. But that’s not all, the cost of protecting and managing the world’s conservation areas was estimated at an additional $76.1 billion a year. If these numbers seem daunting, the researchers write that in fact it’s a wise investment. The total costs are only about 1-4 percent of the total value of ecosystem services that are lost each year due to environmental destruction, a number estimated at $2.6 to 6 trillion. ‘Ecosystem services’ include a wide variety of benefits provided by the natural world that doesn’t often show up on balance sheets, such as pollination, soil health, seed dispersal, water filtration, air purification, and tourism among many others.
By Andrew Gumbel, The Guardian, 11 October 2012 | Environmentalists campaigning to prevent the wholesale destruction of the Indonesian rainforest scored a major victory on Wednesday after coaxing the Walt Disney company, one of the world’s largest publishers of children’s books, to revamp its paper purchasing policies and sever ties with two of Asia’s most controversial pulp and paper manufacturers. After two years of occasionally testy exchanges and intense negotiation with the Rainforest Action Network (Ran), a San Francisco-based advocacy group, Disney agreed in a new written policy to do everything it could to safeguard endangered forests and their ecosystems, which support the sorts of animals celebrated in Disney feature films and their multimedia spinoffs.
12 October 2012
By Steve Curwood, Living on Earth, 12 October 2012 | CURWOOD: What’s the downside of letting large carbon polluters in California buy some offsets? CZEBINIAK: There are three key problems. And the first is that sub-national forest offsets that are being considered here have not been proven to deliver real additional emission reductions. So, if you’re exchanging fake reductions for real reductions, you’re actually making the climate crisis even worse. I think the second problem – studies at Stanford University and elsewhere have shown – that the sub-national offset approach could actually do more harm than good by creating a disincentive to national-level reductions in different sectors. And, finally, the markets are very good at delivering a specific commodity at the lowest possible cost. And in the framework of forests, you’re dealing with very complex ecosystems, which have people who have lived there for millennia, and rich biodiversity, and foods for the planet.
By Melati Kaye, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 12 October 2012 | A leading research program has agreed to join forces with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity as part of a broader goal to cut the rate of deforestation in half by the end of the decade and to promote sustainable management of farms and forests. “If a single tree is in your field, this is where birds will come and live. Trees in landscapes are central to sustaining terrestrial biodiversity so achieving the targets set out by the UN’s Convention of Biological Diversity would not be possible unless a multi-functional landscape management approach considering forests and trees is adopted,” said Robert Nasi, director of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry who co-signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the CBD Secretariat at Tree Diversity Day, held on the sidelines of this week’s 11th Conference of the Parties (COP11) in Hyderabad, India.
Survival International, 12 October 2012 | Leaked plans to resettle Malaysia’s Penan have surfaced, as the tribe continues to hold a two-week blockade on the road leading to the controversial Murum dam. Anger is growing within the tribe, which says it has been ‘manipulated’ and ‘cheated’ by the Sarawak government as it makes way for the dam. The Murum Penan say they have been kept in ‘complete darkness’ about the resettlement plans, despite the dam’s construction starting four years ago, and only months remain until their ancestral lands will be entirely flooded. However, this shroud of secrecy has been broken by a leaked ‘Resettlement Action Plan’, obtained by Sarawak Report, which reveals how the government is using the negative effects of rampant logging of the Penan’s forests, to justify the tribe’s resettlement.
Forest Peoples Programme, 12 October 2012 | I remember when the park guards first came to our village. They called a meeting and said ‘get your things together and pack your bags, don’t make any new farms and we will see where you can be resettled’. These are the words of Miguel Ishwiza Sangama, former headman of the village of Nuevo Lamas, a small Kichwa indigenous community in Northern Peru as he remembers the moment in 2007 when officials of the Cerro Escalera Regional Conservation Area first attempted to resettle his community. In the following years, Park authorities persisted with these efforts but when the community remained resistant the Park authorities resorted to restricting community access to the forest for hunting and gathering and prohibiting their traditional system of rotational agriculture. In 2010, charges were brought against three members of the community for practicing their rotational agriculture.
13 October 2012
14 October 2012
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.