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.
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, October 2012 | Sustainable development for indigenous peoples should be the growth or progress of their indigenous communities in their originality or within the context of their ethnic identity in a holistic way. This was one of the key messages of indigenous peoples who attended the recently concluded Asia-Europe Peoples Forum in Vientiane, Laos last 16-19 October 2012.In a side event entitled Indigenous Peoples Contributions and Challenges to Sustainable Development organized by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Gender Development Association (GDA), and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), around 70 individuals composing of indigenous peoples, government officials and civil society from Asia and Europe came together to discuss their issues in relation to sustainable development.
UN-REDD, October 2012 | In this issue – News: UN-REDD Set to Host 9th Policy Board Meeting in Republic of the Congo, New Success Story Series: Indonesia’s Participatory Governance Assessment, Panama Organizes its First REDD+ National Working Committee Workshop, Solomon Islands Focuses on REDD+ Awareness Raising and National Forest Monitoring, UN-REDD at FAO’s Committee on Forestry and World Forest Week. Features & Commentary: More UN-REDD Partner Countries Now Receiving Targeted Support. Reports & Analysis: Tanzania Releases Report on Estimating Cost Elements of REDD+, UN-REDD Launches New Policy Brief on Multiple Benefits of REDD+, Two New Go-REDD+ Issues from UN-REDD in Asia-Pacific.
22 October 2012
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 22 October 2012 | On REDD in developing countries, and forest conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+), the COP took note with appreciation of a list of biodiversity-related safeguards set out in UNFCCC decision 1/CP.16, Appendix I, paragraph 2, and noted that the safeguards may also enhance benefits for biodiversity, as well as for indigenous and local communities. The COP also requested the CBD Secretariat to: compile information from parties on initiatives and experiences regarding paragraph 67 of UNFCCC Decision 2/CP.17 (Durban outcome on long-term cooperative action) with regard to its contribution to the Convention’s objectives and submit a progress report prior to COP 12; and develop advice on REDD+ issues, taking into full account the relevant UNFCCC decisions, based on parties’ further views, and to report to the SBSTA prior to COP 13.
By Charlotte Streck, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 22 October 2012 | In the eighth year of international negotiations on REDD+, the structure and flows of REDD+ finance remain uncertain. There is no agreement on the magnitude and sources of funding; the role of the private sector and market-based mechanisms; or the modalities of disbursing international REDD+ funds. This paper summarizes the status quo of REDD+ finance, analyzes the potential sources of REDD+ finance and discusses their respective risks and strengths. Considering the evolving nature of REDD+ and relating insecurities of REDD+ finance, it argues in favor of complementary and pragmatic use of the various sources of finance to avoid further delay and frustration in REDD+ implementation.
Point Carbon, 22 October 2012 | U.N. carbon credits for delivery this year fell below 1 euro in afternoon trade on Monday after ICE Futures Europe data showed sellers had likely dumped ERUs late last week ahead of an expected EU ban next year. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
COTAP.org press release, 22 October 2012 | Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty (COTAP.org) today announced its partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation, adding the Clinton Development Initiative’s (CDI) Trees of Hope project in Malawi as the fourth project to its growing portfolio of certified forestry carbon projects. Through COTAP, individuals and organizations in the U.S. and around the world will now be able to offset their carbon emissions while also creating life-changing income for smallholder Malawian farmers. “We’re pleased to welcome COTAP as our first U.S.-based partner for the Trees of Hope project, which is helping rural communities in Malawi generate incomes, address environmental challenges and sequester carbon emissions,” said Walker Morris, Director of the Clinton Development Initiative. “COTAP has a proven and longstanding commitment to poverty-alleviating carbon projects, they’re very transparent and modest about their margins…”
By Robin Oisín Llewellyn, mongabay.com, 22 October 2012 | Rising concern over the environmental impact of mining led both presidential candidates in the 2009 elections in El Salvador to pledge to suspend mining operations, a promise kept by current president Mauricio Funes. To prevent further legal cases, which are already draining millions from the country’s coffers, the Salvadoran legislature is considering a special law suspending administrative procedures related to the exploration and exploitation of metallic mining concessions. Salvadoran environmentalists, in turn, are urging their government to go beyond the suspension of mining projects, and instead ban metallic mining altogether.
By Daisy Ouya, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 October 2012 | While India has taken bold steps to move to cleaner fuels, a biting shortage of jatropha fruits used to produce biodiesel means the country will not meet its 2012 target of blending five percent biodiesel into all regular diesel. An estimated four million hectares of jatropha plantations (and area the size of Switzerland) would need to be grown to supply the biodiesel needed to meet this target, said Navin Sharma, chief scientist with ITC Ltd, Bangalore at Tree Diversity Day at the 11th UN Convention on Biodiversity Conference of Parties in Hyderabad. He said given current land pressure, cost and sheer logistics, fresh ideas were needed in order to produce crops and trees for bioenergy. India’s fuel consumption is estimated to be close to 150 million tonnes per annum.
SCS press release, 22 October 2012 | SCS Global Services announced the validation of the Madre de Dios Carbon Offset Project under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), thereby allowing the project to generate carbon credits that will finance the protection of key Peruvian rainforest habitat. “We are proud to have been a part of the Madre de Dios REDD project,” said Robert J. Hrubes, Executive Vice President of SCS. “This is a high quality project that meets the highest standards for carbon projects.”
By Tom Arrandale, governing.com, 22 October 2012 | For decades, Lock Haven, Pa., has secured its municipal water supply from 5,200 acres of city-owned forest in northern Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountains. In the past, the city kept its water rates down by logging hemlock, hardwoods and other timber from the property. But this summer, Lock Haven figured out that it could achieve more sustainable financial benefits from the property. The city realized it stands to reap a lucrative windfall simply by preserving the forest. In a deal with The Nature Conservancy’s Working Woodlands program, Lock Haven expects to bring in $1.4 million over the next decade by selling credits the forest will earn for sequestering carbon dioxide gases. In addition, Lock Haven will still harvest timber from the forest — just more selectively. For a city of 9,700 residents with a $1.9 million yearly water and sewer budget, that extra income will be a useful bonus.
23 October 2012
By Lan Lan, China Daily, 23 October 2012 | The Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) on climate change, a new group of developing countries, have been coordinating their positions on climate change negotiations ahead of the upcoming climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has said. Representatives of a number of developing countries-from Bolivia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Venezuela-attended the first meeting of the group, hosted by China in Beijing last week, according to a statement by the NDRC late Tuesday. The new grouping, as part of the Group of 77 & China, creates a platform for developing countries with the combined goals of “environmental sustainability, social and economic development, and equity” to exchange views and coordinate positions, it said.
By Melati Kaye, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 October 2012 | Recognising areas conserved by indigenous peoples could double the amount of land designated as protected worldwide, said representatives attending the Convention on Biological Diversity conference last week, as international policymakers gathering nearby puzzled over ways to bump the global area of conserved land from 12 to 17 percent within the next eight years. Whether a grove in the Khasi hills of Northeast India from which nothing can be removed, or an Ethiopian gudo boulder surrounded by forest where shamans can summon or stop the rain, sacred areas are not only rich in biodiversity but vital to keeping communities intact.
Deforestationwatch, 23 October 2012 | The Interactive Forestry Atlas of Cameroon Version 3.0 has just been released by the World Resources Institute (WRI), giving spatial details on all the management units of Cameroon’s forests for 2011. The data have been released in the form of a report, an excellent interactive map, and the raw GIS files1. While the report does not give data on rates of deforestation per se, it does show the location and status of forest and mining concessions, as well as the various categories of protected and non protected other forests. I downloaded the data yesterday, and expected to spend this morning overlaying the active logging concessions on satellite imagery, to test my ability to detect forest degradation. However, opening the full dataset, I was immediately horrified by a different spatial layer. It appears that mining permits have now been issued for almost 10 million hectares of Cameroon, about a fifth of the country’s total area.
24 October 2012
The Korea Herald, 24 October 2012 | The world’s carbon trading market is growing at an accelerating rate, according to financial sources and the World Bank on Wednesday. The volume of the global carbon emission trading market — a market where companies or individuals buy carbon credit to lower their total CO2 emissions – reached $176 billion last year, 16 times greater than in 2005 when the Kyoto Protocol went into effect. The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty under the U.N. that set binding obligations on industrialized countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases to prevent climate change. In 2007, Louis Redshaw, head of environmental markets at Barclays Capital, had predicted that “carbon will be the world’s biggest commodity market, and it could become the world’s biggest market overall.” Other experts have forecast that carbon may become the next major currency.
By Barbara Lewis, Planet Ark, 24 October 2012 | A rapid rise in surplus EU carbon credits is expected to slow from 2014 onwards, but to tackle a short-term glut member states need to decide before the end of the year on a temporary fix, a European Commission draft document said. The draft report on the carbon market also called on the member states to discuss and explore options for more lasting changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) after allowance prices hit a record low in April. It urged the Climate Change Committee “to decide on the proposed amendment to the auctioning regulation before the end of the year in order to provide certainty for market participants”. The committee brings together representatives of member states as part of a fast-track process for lawmaking.
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 24 October 2012 | The European Union saw greenhouse gas emissions fall 2.5 per cent last year, despite recording overall economic growth of 1.5 per cent. The latest figures from the European Environment Agency (EEA) suggest that while the combination of a relatively warm winter and sluggish economy helped hold down emissions in some countries, investments and policies designed to curb overall emissions also played a role in the continued decoupling of economic growth and carbon output. The report also confirmed again that the EU as a whole is comfortably on track to meet targets set under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, although a handful of individual countries may fall fractionally short of the target and have to resort to acquiring carbon credits to comply with the international agreement.
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 24 October 2012 | On Monday Indonesia’s House of Representatives moved to establish “North Kalimantan”, a new province in Indonesian Borneo. It also voted for four new districts: Pangandaran in West Java, South Coast in Lampung (Sumatra), and South Manokwari and Arfak Mountains in West Papua (New Guinea). While the moves aim to improve governance by boosting local autonomy, they could make it more difficult for Indonesia to meet its deforestation reduction goals if recent trends — detailed in a 2011 academic paper — hold true. The study, published last year by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and South Dakota State University (SDSU), linked an increase in political jurisdictions to a rise in deforestation between 1998 and 2009. The researchers blame the election cycle. Politicians in forest districts appear to often rely on funding from loggers, plantation developers, and miners…
Radio New Zealand, 24 October 2012 | A group of forest owners is accusing Prime Minister John Key of breaking an election promise to encourage more tree planting. The Kyoto Forest Owners Assocation says in 2007, Mr Key promised to encourage climate-friendly policies such as forestry by providing incentives for more tree planting and less cutting. But association spokesperson Roger Dickie says under the Emissions Trading Scheme, the Government is allowing the sale of cheap foreign carbon credits, which is undercutting the price of credits produced by New Zealand foresters. “The only thing they need to do is what everybody else with an emissions trading scheme is doing, and that is reducing the number of these dodgy, cheap carbon credits from eastern Europe … that are allowed into our emissions trading scheme. Everyone else is doing it, why it this Government not doing it?” Mr Dickie says the availability of cheap carbon credits is leading to deforestation rather than more planting.
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 24 October 2012 | The UK cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than any other European country last year, over-achieving on targets under the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Some of the reduction was owing to milder weather and an increase in renewable energy generation, but the sluggish economy is also likely to have contributed. France and Germany also made sizeable cuts in emissions, but Spain and Italy are lagging and are in danger of missing their Kyoto targets, according to figures released by the European Environment Agency on Wednesday. The EU as a whole will meet its target under the 1997 treaty, which requires developed countries to cut their emissions by a total of just over 5% from 1990 levels by the end of 2012. Currently, EU member states are the only major countries pledging to continue the Kyoto protocol beyond the end of this year, when its current provisions expire.
25 October 2012
The Mending News, 25 October 2012 | Do you know about REDD? The Mending News checks in with IEN (Indigenous Environmental Network) Executive Director, Tom Goldtooth, to get the download on the real story of REDD, the deceptive climate ‘solution’ proposed by the UN. It sounds good on paper “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries” but the reality is that REDD enforces the global colonization of mother earth and a stolen future.
By Catriona Moss and Vanessa Reid, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 October 2012 | A new set of ‘best practice guidelines’ aiming to inform policy makers on how to balance competing pressures on land for food and fuel while protecting forests and biodiversity have been taken into consideration by the UN Convention of Biological Diversity last week. “These guidelines could set a standard for policymakers, NGOs, and practitioners working in conservation and development in over 100 countries across the world on how to develop and improve land-use planning policies,” said Terry Sunderland, principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and lead researcher of the principles.
Survival International, 25 October 2012 | A group of Brazilian Indians who endured violence and death to return to their land have made a dramatic appeal to the government after learning that they face eviction once more. The 170 Indians, members of the 46,000-strong Guarani tribe in Brazil, have suffered several brutal attacks since going back to a small part of their ancestral land. The Indians’ territory, known as Pyelito Kuê/ M’barakai, is now occupied by a ranch. The Indians are surrounded by the rancher’s gunmen, with little access to food or health care. Last month a judge ordered their eviction. Now the Indians have declared in a letter, ‘This ruling is part of the historic extermination of the indigenous peoples of Brazil. We have lost hope of surviving with dignity, and without violence, on our ancestral land… We will all die soon…’
Sydney Morning Herald, 25 October 2012 | European Union governments will probably reduce emissions outside the bloc’s carbon market by 8.8 per cent more than required under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, according to projections published today on an EU website. The oversupply of reductions among the 15 older members of the bloc will amount to 1.03 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in the five years through 2012 compared with a limit of 11.8 billion tons, according to the data. That includes 419 million tons of United Nations offset emission credits those nations are buying for compliance in the period, the data show… Of the 15 older EU members, 10 are using offsets, according to the data. Of those, Italy is the only nation that will undershoot its reduction target, with a shortfall of 58.5 million tons in the five years, the data show. That’s after the nation buys about 10 million tons of offsets.
The Economic Times, 25 October 2012 | Should it concern a country with at least 330 million people still living in abject poverty and several hundred million more in poverty that 20,219 of the 65,518 species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of threatened plant and animal species are facing extinction? Or that 132 of these critically-endangered species are from India? For a country that strives hard for high growth, are forests more valuable standing or felled for timber and providing access to mineral wealth below it? Responses to the questions have been binary: development versus environment and biodiversity. Environmentalists and conservationists weigh in favour of forests and endangered species, while growth advocates argue that conservation was fine as long as it did not interfere with development.
By Jane Velez-Mitchell, HLNtv.com, 25 October 2012 | Orangutans in Indonesia could be on the brink of extinction all for a product many Americans do not even know they are consuming. The Orangutans natural habitat in Indonesia are allegedly being burned down and decimated to make room for trees that produce palm oil. Palm oil is a cheap ingredient that is used in almost half the items in American grocery stores. But because palm oil goes by so many different names it can be hard for consumers to identify it in the products they are purchasing. Jane Velez-Mitchell spoke to Rolf Skar the Forest Campaign Director for Greenpeace USA.
Solomon Times Online, 25 October 2012 | SPC, through its Forests and Trees team in the Land Resources Division (LRD), has organised a two-day regional workshop in Nadi, Fiji, on forest carbon rights in Melanesia. The workshop specifically aims to explain what forest carbon rights are and how they relate to REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). The 37 participants and resource consultants will share legal research about who owns the carbon rights in the forests, and discuss how each country can clarify the ownership and management of forest carbon rights in their national REDD+ framework. Speaking at the opening of the workshop yesterday, Acting Director of LRD Mr Inoke Ratukalou said that, for REDD+ to be successful, a critical issue is that of carbon ownership or the right to benefit from sequestered carbon and reduced emissions.
La Via Campesina, 25 October 2012 | The ProSavana Programme is a triangular project between the Republic of Mozambique, the Federal Republic of Brazil and Japan, for the development of large-scale agriculture in the Nacala Development Corridor, affecting 14 districts in the provinces of Niassa, Nampula and Zambezia, covering an area of approximately 14 million hectares. The project was inspired by an earlier agricultural development project implemented by the Brazilian and Japanese governments in the Brazilian Cerrado (savannah), where large-scale industrial farming of monocrops (mainly soybeans) is now practiced. This Brazilian project led to a degradation of the environment and the near extinction of indigenous communities living in the affected areas. The Nacala Corridor was chosen because its savannah has similar characteristics to the Brazilian Cerrado, in terms of its climate and agroecology, and because of the ease with which products can be exported.
By Brian Fallow, New Zealand Herald, 25 October 2012 | At current prices an industrial emitter could face a carbon bill of just $200 for every $1 million of revenue. The Government is set to put the emissions trading scheme into an induced coma – not dead, but not able to accomplish much. New Zealand units are now worth around $2.50 on the carbon market or just 10 per cent of the indicative price assumed when the scheme was being designed. If enacted as it stands, legislation reported back largely unchanged from select committee last week will do nothing about that. With United Future’s and ACT’s support it will pass. The Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group points out that the NZUs allocated to iwi – around 30 per cent of the total so far – have dropped in value by more that $500 million compared with what they were worth in the first year of the scheme, up to mid-2011, when NZUs were trading at around $20. They are not happy.
Radio New Zealand, 25 October 2012 | Landowners encouraged into a Government scheme that awards carbon credits for keeping land permanently in trees could be forced off their farms. Forestry sources say forced sales of thousands of hectares in the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative are on the cards if the carbon price does not recover soon. Under the initiative, a covenant preventing the clearing of trees for a minimum of 50 years is placed on land in exchange for annual payments of carbon credits from the Government to the landowner. One farmer spoken to by Radio New Zealand says he signed over half his farm to the scheme two years ago, when the price of carbon was $23 a tonne, which meant the Government gave him carbon credits he could sell for $200,000. Now, with the carbon price under $3 dollars a tonne, his credits for this year are worth just $30,000.
26 October 2012
By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 October 2012 | It is important to note that there are both positive and negative area trends, and that the clock only shows the negative trend. That is, there is a considerable area of forest gained over time, and an even larger area lost. In the year 2000 edition of the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), which is produced by my former employer, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the estimated losses (deforestation) were 14.8 millions hectares per year (Mha/yr) and the gains 5.6 Mha/yr resulting in a net area change of -9.4 Mha/yr. In FRA 2005, the gross and net changes were not analysed, but a deforestation rate of 13 Mha/yr, or 0.41 hectares per second (ha/s), for the period 1990-2005 was provided as the sum of all country reports showing a negative area trend. This is inherently an underestimate as within-country variations are not taken into account, however the current clock uses this number.
Transparency International, 26 October 2012 | This manual helps interested parties to understand and address corruption risks associated with forest carbon accounting – particularly REDD+ – programmes and strategies at the national level. Users will learn how to identify corruption risks and instruments to help address these risks within the development of national Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) action plans and strategies, and the implementation of REDD+ and other forest carbon projects. The manual’s scope does not extend to corruption risks at the international level. Rather it is deliberately focused on processes that occur in country, to facilitate the participation of national and local groups in informing national policy, planning and project implementation.
By Tierney Smith, Responding to Climate Change, 26 October 2012 | The REDD+ mechanism cannot become a reality unless the next round of UN climate talks set a path towards creating a market for carbon credits from forests. That’s the view of Tim Christopherson from the UN REDD programme, who has warned that governments must send the right signals in Qatar to give investors confidence. “It would be very useful that [there be] some form of starting signal that financial transactions between developed and developing countries can now take place on a pilot and demonstration level, so we can see where this leads, so that the early movers can move,” he told RTCC. “Of course this should be in line with all of the safeguards we now have from Cancun [COP16] and in line with all the experience we have already made in the UN REDD programme and other pilot demonstration activities.”
By Chris Meyer, EDF, 26 October 2012 | Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is very pleased to be the newly selected representative to the UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) Program Policy Board for northern (i.e., developed-country) Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The Policy Board is a critical component of the UN REDD Program, providing strategic direction and approving financial allocations. The Board is comprised of representatives from partner countries, donors to the Multi-Partner Trust Fund, civil society, and indigenous peoples, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Development Program, and the UN Environment Program. As one of the Board’s Civil Society Observers, EDF will participate in UN REDD Program Policy Board meetings, and solicit concerns to be raised at meetings on behalf of northern civil society organizations; EDF will also share information among its networks about REDD meetings and processes.
Xinhua, 26 October 2012 | The Republic of Congo government and the United Nations (UN) on Friday signed an 8 million U.S. dollars agreement for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), an official source in Brazzaville has said. The 2012-2015 program will be funded by the Congolese government which will contribute 600,000 dollars, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) which will contribute 3.4 million dollars and the UN-REDD which will contribute 4 million dollars. The UN-REDD will provide both technical and financial support to this national REDD program for a three-year period. The UN-REDD agreement covers the organization, dialogue, strategic analysis and technical management of the REDD mechanism. The program was signed by Congolese Forestry Minister Henri Djombo, the representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Congo, Dieudonne Koguiyagda, as well as the deputy representative of the UNDP in Congo, Eloi Kouadio.
By Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 26 October 2012 | Imports of ash from Europe will be banned on Monday in an attempt stop a deadly disease wiping out most of the species’ 80 million trees in the UK, despite the fungus behind ash dieback first being discovered in the country eight months ago. Chalara fraxinea has already killed 90% of Denmark’s ash, and on Wednesday it was confirmed the disease had spread beyond plantations and nurseries into trees in the wild in Norfolk and Suffolk. The find has raised fears of a repeat of the epidemic of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s, which wiped out virtually the entire mature population of elm trees – 25 million – by the 1990s.
27 October 2012
28 October 2012
By Bill Weinberg, World War 4 Report, 28 October 2012 | An Oct. 8 report on Yale University’s Environment 360 website, “In the Land of the Maya, A Battle for a Vital Forest” by William Allen, states that “In Guatemala’s vast Maya Biosphere Reserve, conservation groups are battling to preserve a unique rainforest now under threat from Mexican drug cartels, Salvadoran drug gangs, and Chinese-backed groups illegally logging prime tropical hardwoods.” … The REDD Monitor website features an insightful quote on the program from Bram Büscher of the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University in the Netherlands: “Making money will always trump the ecological benefits of forests in a capitalistic economic system. It’s simplistic to say everyone wins with REDD. There is nothing win-win under capitalism. It’s all about winners and losers. Capitalism is inherently unecological. We’re trying to rig the system to make it work for the green economy. It’s a sham.”
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.