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REDD in the news: 29 October – 4 November 2012

REDD in the news: 29 October - 4 November 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.

Forests brushed aside

By Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava, Down To Earth, November 2012 | Forests constitute 80 per cent of the earth’s terrestrial biodiversity. But instead of protecting it, the international community at the recently concluded Conference of Parties-11 to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) seemed more keen on using it as carbon stock. In Hyderabad, countries discussed guidelines to safeguard forest biodiversity from the possible adverse impacts of REDD+, a financial mechanism that pays developing countries for managing their forests better. But the countries did not endorse the guidelines and left it to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to take the final decision. It recognises the role of conservation and sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stock in reducing emissions. But the focus is limited to carbon emissions. Concerns have, therefore, been raised over the possible adverse impact of REDD+ on forest biodiversity…

The Meaning of Performance and the Boundaries of REDD+

Go-REDD+, October 2012 | The CIRAD report authors are right to conclude that REDD+ finance must encompass ‘sustained investment’ in changes to policies and practices over time. They are also right that we need a broader understanding of the meaning of ‘performance-based’ to lead us away from a focus on ex-post payments for verified changes in forest carbon stocks. But they also provide us with new and enticing challenges. Can we develop proxies to link these investments in specific policies or specific activities with their potential impact on emissions? If we can, not only may we learn where exactly REDD+ fits in to the broader spectrum of development finance, but we may also provide a valuable, long-term tool for cost-effective decision-making in the forest and land use sectors.

29 October 2012

Investing in locally controlled forestry is a triple win

By Duncan McQueen (IIED), The Guardian, 29 October 2012 | Forests are feeling the squeeze. Overall forest loss ran at 5.2m hectares per year between 2000-2010, driven principally by increasing consumer demand for food, fuel and fibre from a global population soaring upwards of 7 billion. People are the ultimate losers; half a billion indigenous people and 1.3 billion others whose livelihoods are attuned to and dependent on forests, are losing more, and more quickly than others. But of course all of us indirectly and ultimately depend on forests; to sequester carbon and slow climate change, to maintain water and soil cycles on which food, fuel and fibre production depends, and to preserve biodiversity to allow options for adaptation in an uncertain future. Some immediately, and all of us ultimately, may pay a heavy price unless we can create an investment opportunity that delivers food, fuel and fibre without sacrificing them.

Kyoto Protocol may die with EU playing spoilsport

By Nitin Sethi, Times Of India, 29 October 2012 | he Kyoto Protocol – the only global pact that legally requires the developed world to reduce emissions at the moment – is on the brink of collapse with indications that the EU and other rich countries will not be able to ratify it in time to kick-start the second round of emission cuts that are meant to be launched in 2013. In a ministerial level meeting of select countries held at Seoul recently, it emerged that after all the trade-offs developing countries made to keep the protocol alive, it could still die by the end of the year with a lack of legal mandate for its continuation.

Global carbon trading ‘near’

By Lan Lan,, 29 October 2012 | A global platform for carbon trading may be in place this decade, an official at one of the world’s major environmental think tanks said. China’s emissions trading system, which is likely to be the world’s second-largest carbon market by 2015, may be a major player if it is connected to the proposed world system, said Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute. The institute in Washington is a non-partisan organization that promotes policies to protect the global environment. China has seven pilot emission trading projects, including those in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province. “The idea of piloting is good; the government wants to look around and see which plan is most suitable and then use that nationally,” Steer said. Steer used to be the World Bank special envoy for climate change before joining the institute in August and is optimistic about a global carbon market.

ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd announces results of annual general meeting

ERA Carbon Offsets press release, 29 October 2012 | ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. is pleased to announce the results of its annual general and special meeting of shareholders held Thursday October 25th in Vancouver. All resolutions presented before ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd shareholders at the 2012 annual general and special meeting were passed by a significant majority of the votes cast by shareholders. The motion to fix the number of directors of the Company at seven for the next year was passed as was the motion to re-appoint Davidson & Company LLP Chartered Accountants as auditors of the Company at a remuneration to be fixed by the board. Other business included the ratification of the Company’s Stock Option Plan as required by the TSX Venture Exchange and approval of granting the directors the ability to change the Company’s corporate name should they determine it is in the Company’s best interests to do so.

Two New Online Mapping Applications Launched to Support Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia

World Resources Institute, 29 October 2012 | The World Resources Institute (WRI) is launching two powerful online mapping applications that offer unprecedented capabilities to support industry and government efforts to achieve more sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia. WRI developed these web tools in consultation with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and many of its members. The Suitability Mapper empowers companies and government planners to use a standard, easily replicable method to find potential sites for sustainable palm oil production and plan field assessments for further investigation. The Forest Cover Analyzer provides a unique set of monitoring tools to help buyers, investors, and governments strengthen incentives for avoiding deforestation when developing new plantations. “Palm oil holds tremendous opportunities for people and business in Indonesia—and should be produced in a way that avoids destruction of vibrant lands and forests,” said Andrew Steer.

[Indonesia] Orangutan rescue: Dramatic images of seven Sumatran apes saved as bulldozers move in to clear their home for an oil plantation

By Katy Dartford, Daily Mail, 29 October 2012 | Their home has been destroyed by bulldozers to make way for an oil palm plantation. Seven Sumatran orangutans, including three mother and baby pairs, were saved from the tiny patch of forest that was being bulldozed by a company which is a member of an industry group responsible for protecting their habitat. They were rescued from the PT Sisirau plantation in Aceh Tamiang, Aceh province, Sumatra, Indonesia and have now been safely released back to the Gunung Leuser National Park. The plantation is managed by a company called PT. Sisirau. The company is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an industry group which regulates certified sustainable palm oil according to a set of principles developed by palm oil companies, traders, buyers, retailers, banks and social and environmental organisations, designed to limit negative environmental and social impacts of the industry.

30 October 2012

Food may cause almost a third of greenhouse emissions -study

By Alistair Doyle, Reuters, 30 October 2012 | Food production accounts for up to 29 percent of man-made greenhouse gases, twice the amount the United Nations has estimated comes from farming, a study published on Wednesday said. Looking at emissions across the food system – including forest clearance, fertiliser production and transport – rather than just farming itself – agriculture research organisation CGIAR said much more work was needed to cut climate change emissions from food. Its report, “Climate Change and Food Systems”, estimated food production was responsible for between 19 and 29 percent of mankind’s total greenhouse emissions, far above U.N. estimates of 14 percent based on a narrower definition of farming. “From a food point of view (the U.N. approach) doesn’t make sense,” said Bruce Campbell, who heads the CGIAR research programme on climate change, agriculture and food security. Many countries could make big cost savings by cutting emissions, he said.

Sizing up biomass from space, 30 October 2012 | The biomass stored in forests is thought to play a critical role in mitigating the catastrophic effects of global climate change. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Carbon Balance and Management has used Lidar data collected by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) aboard the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite (ICESat) to accurately measure the biomass of California. When the ICESat2 is launched in 2016 this method will be able to monitor biomass and other global data changes. As part of the global carbon cycle it is thought that global biomass acts as a carbon reservoir and consequently that deforestation and changes of land use contribute to global warming by liberating carbon from this reservoir. Initiatives such as United Nations Collaborative Programmed on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) are attempting to measure changes in forest carbon storage.

London visit by Indonesian President fuels human rights protests

Survival International, 30 October 2012 | Survival International will join dozens of protesters tomorrow (October 31), to demonstrate against Indonesia’s brutal repression of West Papua’s tribal people, coinciding with the country’s first state visit to London in 33 years. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (known as SBY) will be in the capital for three days, staying at Buckingham Palace and meeting ministers from the UK Parliament. Human rights campaigners will also be using his visit to highlight UK links to an Indonesian ‘death squad’, which has been implicated in the murder of independence leaders. Special Detachment 88 was formed to combat terrorism after the 2002 Bali bombings, and receives funding for training from the UK, Australia and the US. The UK’s Counter Terrorism Programme spends hundreds of thousands of pounds training the force through the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Co-operation. But serious concerns surround this elite Indonesian police unit…

[Indonesia] Citizen Journalism and REDD+

By Sopril Amir, Indonesian REDD+ Task Force, 30 October 2012 | Monitoring of forest change and forest damage is the main element of Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) as well as REDD+ projects. Monitoring here could be in the forms of remote sensing and satellite data. However, satellite technology might be to no avail when it should monitor the impact and non-physical change such as social aspect, economic aspect, and physical details on the field. That technology fails to monitor the implementation of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) as the fundamental part of REDD+. There is no other way but community participation which is deemed so important in REDD+ implementation. In this light, REDD+ monitoring which involves indigenous community and the surrounding forest dependent community should be equipped with journalism skills. Journalism is known as an objective reporting method.

Peru seeks World Bank carbon market support

Reuters Point Carbon, 30 October 2012 | Peru’s government has requested technical and financial support from the World Bank to support its plans to study the adoption of a greenhouse gas emissions trading system, according to official documents. The South-American country requested support from the World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR), an initiative that provides financing and technical assistance to countries to explore market tools to cut their carbon emissions. Peru has turned to the PMR at a time with the European emissions trading system, the world’s biggest carbon market, struggles with excess supply and the U.N. carbon offset market fetches all-time low prices. Peru and more than a dozen developing countries who have received PMR support have shown they are still willing to explore carbon markets as an option for climate mitigation.

31 October 2012

What’s the Future of the Climate Investment Funds?

By Clifford Polycarp and Milap Patel, WRI, 31 October 2012 | The committees governing the $7 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) – the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF) – will meet in Istanbul this week. Alongside these meetings, a range of stakeholders from civil society, indigenous groups, and the private sector will participate in a series of events organized as part of the annual Partnership Forum, which takes place from November 4-7, 2012. Decisions made at these meetings are critically important for the funding of climate mitigation and adaptation activities in developing nations. They’ll have important implications for meeting the immediate investment needs of developing countries, as well as for long-term global climate finance. The meetings will mark the start of discussions on how to sunset the CIFs and transition to a new global climate finance mechanism – the Green Climate Fund.

CIF 2012 Pilot Country Meeting Highlights

IISD, 31 October 2012 | The fourth meeting of pilot countries participating in the Forest Investment Program (FIP) convened today in Istanbul, Turkey, in association with the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) 2012 Partnership Forum that will meet on 6-7 November. The FIP is one of the three targeted programs under the CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund (SCF)… Jeff Brez, Senior Communications Officer, CIF Administrative Unit, highlighted recent improvements to the CIF website, and invited participants to write and blog about their CIF experiences. Andrea Kutter, FIP Coordinator, CIF Administrative Unit, announced that Indonesia, Ghana and Burkina Faso will present their investment plans to the Sub-Committee meeting on 5 November for endorsement. She reported that 13 projects were in the FIP pipeline, two of which have been approved, with one, in Mexico, already receiving funds. She described the Designated Grant Mechanism (DGM) for indigenous peoples and local communities…

[Fiji] Call to ID forest owners first

By Felix Chaudhary, Fiji Times, 31 October 2012 | For REDD+ to be successful in the Pacific, it is critical that the issue of carbon ownership or the right to benefit from sequestered carbon and reduced emissions be properly ascertained as an important first step. Secretariat for Pacific Communities (SPC) Land Resources Division (LRD), acting director Inoke Ratukalou revealed this to participants at a workshop in Nadi last week on forest carbon rights in Melanesia. “A clear definition needs to be formulated of forest carbon stocks, linked to the rights associated with the resources that store the carbon and the land where those resources reside. “It was for this reason that we, with the support of German Agency for International Co-operation (GIZ), commissioned national studies in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to look at this issue and suggest how it could be effectively handled under the appropriate legal reforms,” Mr Ratukalou said.

Indonesia could plant 14.5m ha of oil palm in Borneo without further deforestation, 31 October 2012 | Indonesia could establish some 14.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations in Borneo without needing to clear rainforest or high-carbon peatlands, finds a new interactive mapping tool developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI). The tool, unveiled at the opening of the tenth meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), aims to highlight specific areas in Indonesian Borneo — also known as Kalimantan — where oil palm developers could potentially establish “sustainable” oil palm plantations. These exclude forests, wetlands, and places that have been deforested since 2005, the cut-off for date for plantations to qualify for RSPO certification. WRI also launched a “Forest Cover Analyzer” that provides maps of deforestation that has occurred on an annual basis in Kalimantan since 2001.

Indonesia scored over human rights in state visit

By Alessandra Prentice, Reuters, 31 October 2012 | Dozens of protesters denounced alleged torture in Indonesia and accused Britain of putting commercial interests ahead of human rights on Wednesday on the first day of a state visit by the Indonesian president. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received a lavish royal welcome for the first Indonesian state visit to Britain in more than 30 years, but activists criticised the British government for valuing commercial ties over the rights of Indonesian minorities. “The West Papuans are being held, tortured and killed and all England and the whole European Union do is back him (Yudhoyono) up – they are only in it for the money,’ protester Nal Pattinama said with tears in her eyes.

[Malaysia] Tackling climate change through sustainable forest management and community development

European Union tenders electronic daily, 31 October 2012 | The project aims to contribute to the sustainable and low carbon development of the State of Sabah, Malaysia. This will be achieved by enhancing institutional capacity of the Sabah Government and developing necessary systems and tools to design and implement the State REDD+ strategy. The main target groups for project activities will be the Sabah authorities and other key stakeholders including government agencies, NGOs and targeted communities. The project should enhance their understanding and capacity to formulate and implement the State REDD+ strategy in conformity with the national policies. This will include establishment of the Sabah REDD+ MRV system and environmental and social safeguards, enhancement of capacity, policy frameworks and market opportunities for REDD+ in Sabah, technical support to demonstration activities on community-based REDD+.

In Nepal and Papua New Guinea, media does little to explain REDD+

By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 31 October 2012 | Mainstream media coverage of REDD+ in the forested nations of Nepal and Papua New Guinea is dominated by government policy makers and experts, while the voices of traditional land owners and local communities are conspicuously absent, two new studies by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) have found. And because journalists in both countries are ill-equipped to constructively analyse policies linked to the U.N.-backed scheme, they often have had little influence in shaping public debate which may prove to be critical to the scheme’s success… Researchers from CIFOR and its partner organisations looked at the quality and quantity of coverage REDD+ got in the newspapers from 2005 to 2011. In these countries, the forested land is either held by customary land-owners or is being actively managed by the community forest groups – with limited direct management role of the government or private companies.

UK sustainable palm oil targets are too weak, say retailers

By Jessica Aldred, The Guardian, 31 October 2012 | Retail bodies and charities have criticised the government for setting “weak” targets on the use of sustainable palm oil. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday asked retailers, manufacturers and charities to sign up to “work towards” ensuring that, by 2015, all palm oil used in food and other products is responsibly produced and does not contribute to deforestation. But the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that while the government deserved praise for putting the palm oil issue on the agenda, many of its members had already made more ambitious commitments. The BRC wants other sectors to commit to nothing less than the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards for sustainable palm oil.

1 November 2012

It’s Global Warming, Stupid

By Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg, 1 November 2012 | Yes, yes, it’s unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they’re right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all. Clarity, however, is not beyond reach. Hurricane Sandy demands it: At least 40 U.S. deaths. Economic losses expected to climb as high as $50 billion. Eight million homes without power. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated. More than 15,000 flights grounded. Factories, stores, and hospitals shut. Lower Manhattan dark, silent, and underwater.

POLL-U.N. carbon price forecasts to 2020 slashed again

Point Carbon, 1 November 2012 | Analysts have cut forecasts for United Nations carbon permits for a fifth straight month, including permits for all years to 2020, a Reuters poll of 14 analysts showed, after prices hit fresh record lows last week. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Germany] KfW Moves Staff Away From Carbon Finance Unit as Demand Declines

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 1 November 2012 | KfW Bankengruppe, the German government-owned development bank, has redeployed staff away from its unit that purchases greenhouse gas credits, after demand dropped. “No new purchase programs will be set up due to lack of demand from German and European compliance buyers,” Charis Poethig, a spokeswoman for the bank in Frankfurt, said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions. “Existing programs will be continued, with contractual obligations fulfilled.” An unspecified number of employees will either take up different functions within the carbon fund department or in other sections of the bank, Poethig said. The carbon unit will concentrate on testing new types of emission market and programs to cut greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, some of which are known as Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, she said. Existing credit buying programs will conclude next year, the bank said.

2 November 2012

Forest Carbon Prices Doubled In 2012

Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 November 2012 | The price of forest carbon credits doubled in 2011, leading to a record market value of $237 million according to the latest Ecosystem Marketplace survey of forest carbon markets, Leveraging the Landscape: State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2012, released this morning. The report, which aggregates data from 451 individual forest carbon projects historically, was financially enabled by Premium Sponsors: the World Bank BioCarbon Fund and the Code REDD Campaign; Sponsors: Baker & McKenzie, Face the Future, the Kinship Conservation Fellows program and the UK Forestry Commission’ Woodland Carbon Code program; as well as donations from Astrium Services and Conservation International. The report examines a variety of strategies for injecting financial resources into projects that save or plant forests that capture carbon. Carbon offsets from these projects averaged $9.2 per tonne of sequestered carbon in 2011, up from $5.5 per tonne in 2010.

[Australia] Indigenous fire project to earn carbon credits

By Matt Brann, ABC, 2 November 2012 | An Indigenous-owned property in the Northern Territory will be home to the first savanna burning project approved under the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI). It’s estimated that Fish River Station, about 200 kilometres south of Darwin, could earn 20,000 carbon credits a year by strategically burning the rangelands in the early months of the dry season, which reduces the fuel load and the severity of late season fires (a major contributor to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions). Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Mark Dreyfus says the project could be very lucrative for the station. “This is an additional source of income for farmers and landholders across Australia,” he said. “And I’ve got no doubt that there’ll be ample demand for this type of carbon credit and possibly even a premium, which has been suggested to me by some carbon market people, because there’s co-benefits.”

New Zealand carbon scheme on hold as prices plunge

By Gyles Beckford, Reuters, 2 November 2012 | Just two years after expanding a scheme that was feted as the world’s only emissions trading scheme outside of Europe, New Zealand has effectively put the scheme on hold, just as other nations step into the carbon trading arena. The government says it can comfortably meet its 2008-12 emissions target under the UN Kyoto Protocol climate pact and will gauge the need for tougher action when it sees what other countries commit to in talks for a new UN pact from 2020. New Zealand has said it would opt for emissions cuts of between 10 and 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 depending on the ambition of the next pact. In the meantime, the government says the local carbon price should be kept as low as possible. “This means the emissions trading scheme will continue to deliver a price signal that falls far short of what is required to achieve any emission reductions at all,” said Lizzie Chambers of New Zealand online trading platform Carbon Match.

Sustainable forestry à la Sweden

By Peter Holmgren, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 2 November 2012 | So can the “Swedish model” be a solution for forestry elsewhere? It can certainly contribute to the debate. The long-term perspective in policy development and the gradual inclusion of multiple objectives are very relevant, although I also think the “Swedish model” could benefit from experiences elsewhere. It gives an important historical perspective but it is too much about the trees and too little about the people. A well-known quote from the late Jack Westoby, author of The purpose of forests, says that “Forestry is not about trees, it is about people. And it is only about trees insofar as it serves the needs of people.” Now, that is also a model!

3 November 2012

[UK] Scots pine could be next casualty of a ‘tidal wave’ of tree diseases

By Rob McKie, The Guardian, 3 November 2012 | Scientists have pinpointed the Scots pine as the next well-loved British tree species that could fall victim to foreign pathogens. They believe that the expected devastation triggered as ash dieback disease sweeps Britain – which could see most of the country’s 90 million ash trees killed off – could soon be followed by a second invasion. Pinus sylvestris is considered to be particularly vulnerable because two major pests that attack it have already established themselves in western Europe: the pine wood nematode, a worm that infects pine trees and causes pine wilt, and the fungus Fusarium circinatum, which causes the disease pitch canker. Both pathogens are poised to spread to Britain, say tree experts, and a simultaneous double attack would be devastating. The Scots pine is the national tree of Scotland and is distinctive for its blue-green needles and rich orange-red bark. It is also an important source of timber in the UK.

4 November 2012

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