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.
By David López-Carr and Jason Burgdorfer, Environment Magazine, January-February 2013 | The tiny global minority residing in rural frontier areas – how long people remain there; the timing, magnitude, and characteristics of their consumption; and their demographic transitions – promises a vast impact on future tropical deforestation. It is here, not in cities and not in long-settled rural areas, that fertility and native population growth are extremely high, rural migration is dynamic, and land cover change remains extraordinarily expansive per capita. According to recent UN projections, the vast majority, indeed very likely all, of the world’s net population growth over the next several decades will occur in the world’s poorest cities. In a paper published in 2009, the first author argued for the importance of rural migration in tropical deforestation in Latin America. This paper updates and builds on this work…
USAID-ASIA LEAF, January 2013 | This document is a draft methodological framework to help FCPF countries enhance their near term capacity for producing RLs/RELs as part of their eventual REDD+ Readiness Packages. The Readiness Packages are essentially summaries of countries’ efforts to achieve REDD+ Readiness after implementing the studies laid out in their R-PPs. This framework will serve as a guide to assist countries in understanding the steps needed to develop RLs, including what key decisions need to be made to start the process, what methods and data should be used, how to project the historic emissions estimate into the future, and what approaches are already available for developing RL/RELs.
14 January 2013
By Karin Matussek, Bloomberg, 14 January 2013 | Germany’s top criminal court upheld the first convictions in a tax-evasion probe that has spread to two of the highest ranking officials at Deutsche Bank AG. (DBK) The Federal Court of Justice rejected the appeals of four of six men found guilty in December 2011 of evading a total of 260 million euros ($347 million) in taxes on carbon emission trades, according to a ruling posted on the court website today. The ruling is part of a wider probe in which Deutsche Bank co-Chief Executive Officer Juergen Fitschen and Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause, are being investigated. The bank was raided for a second time in December and five bank employees were arrested. The case is part of the biggest crackdown on emissions- related tax crimes since Europe opened the cap-and-trade system in 2005. German authorities enlisted assistance from 10 countries in 2010 and froze 100 million euros in funds as part of the probe.
By Justin Dargin, Fair Observer, 14 January 2013 | To put it simply, carbon markets are a means to control and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by having a regulatory authority set a quantitative limit (known as a “cap”) on absolute or relative carbon emissions by major emitters such as industrial factories and power plants. For each ton of carbon emitted over the cap, the emitter would need to buy allowances to be able to legally exceed the limit… Despite international economic turmoil, the global carbon market is performing quite well. The robustness of the carbon market is illustrated through the fact that even though there has been an overall reduction in the number of CERs traded in 2011, a record number of carbon emissions related products were traded (global transaction volumes reached a new high of 10.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) in late 2011, despite a fall in prices of EU Allowance Units (EUAS) below $10.
By Alok Jha, The Guardian, 14 January 2013 | This week we feature an extended interview with a grandee of the environmental movement in the UK, former head of Friends of the Earth Tony Juniper. Tony’s latest book answers the python-esque question What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? in compelling detail.
Celestial Green Ventures Blog, 14 January 2013 | The Trocano Araretama REDD+ Conservation project, developed by Celestial Green Ventures in partnership with Instituto Amazônia Livre (IAL), is being used as the basis of a scientific article by members of the IAL team. Renan Albuquerque Rodrigues, a lecturer and PhD researcher at the Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM), the oldest and one of the most traditional universities in Brazil, and Dr. Antônio José do Nascimento Fernandes who both work at IAL have decided to use this first CGV REDD+ Natural Capital project as a test case and as the basis of a scientific academic article in Brazil.
TFT, 14 January 2013 | PT. Dwimajaya Utama, a TFT forest and logging unit of Dwima Group, has achieved Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for as much as 140,920 m³ logs. Dwimajaya Utama is the tenth natural forest in Indonesia to become recognised by the global sustainability scheme and is also TFT’s 10th forest project in Indonesia to achieve FSC.
By Emilie Mazzacurati (Four Twenty Seven), triplepundit.com, 14 January 2013 | California’s program will impact climate change in two ways. First, well, it will force emission reductions, by imposing a cap on overall emissions and letting the market figure out where the reductions should take place and at what cost. That’s the “cap” part of cap-and-trade. Second, the “trade” part, especially the part where the state sells permits to emitters, means that California has extra money to play with, which will be invested in emission reductions. The Governor’s budget established that the focus of these investments would be on transportation, electricity and water.
15 January 2013
UN-REDD, 15 January 2013 | If the history of reforestation and forest restoration provides any indication of their future, then the outlook of enhancing forest carbon stocks under REDD+ in Asia and the Pacific is quite gloomy. That’s in a nutshell the conclusion that Barr and Sayer draw in a recent article on The Political Economy of Reforestation and Forest Restoration in Asia-Pacific: Critical Issues for REDD+. According to their review, past reforestation and restoration have: “Consolidated the control of state agencies and corporate actors over ‘degraded’ forest landscapes, often resulting in the displacement of rural communities; Exacerbated economic disparities by channeling large capital subsidies and resource rents to companies with close ties to state elites; Facilitated corruption and financial fraud, in some cases on a grand scale; Accelerated biodiversity loss by creating perverse incentives for the conversion of ‘degraded’ secondary forests; and Generated mixed results…
Shuttleworth Foundation, 15 January 2013 | The outcomes of the Rights-based REDD+ dialogue held in Cape Town in November 2012 have been released in a new report. The dialogue was hosted by Natural Justice with the support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation for Southern Africa and the Open Society Iniative for Southern Africa. Issues of concern regarding Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) activities on the African continent included the limited participation of forest-dependent communities, lack of appropriate REDD+ information, the diversity and complexity of safeguard standards which could increase communities reliance upon outsiders and experts, insufficient or lacking grievance and compliance mechanisms, limited gender awareness, that communities may not be aware of their rights, and that existing rights may not be enforced.
The Economist press release, 15 January 2013 | Political attempts failed in Doha, but could better stewardship of the world’s forests help stop global warming-or even reverse it? This is one of the key topics to be discussed at The Economist’s World Forests Summit, due to be held in Stockholm at the Grand Hôtel on March 5th-6th 2013… “The world’s forests are essential to keeping our planet habitable. Deforestation not only degrades the environment, but also stands at 20% of all global carbon emissions.” says Henrik Ehrnrooth, Chairman of Pöyry. “A huge opportunity exists to explore reforestation on a massive scale, reversing the destructive trend whilst delivering economically viable benefits to society from bioenergy and shelter to agricultural development.” … The World Forests Summit is organised by The Economist, part of The Economist Group. The premium sponsor is SCA, with Pöyry as supporting sponsor.
Ecosystem Marketplace, 15 January 2013 | Ecosystem Marketplace is ringing in the new year with this retrospective edition of V-Carbon News. One year ago, our New Year edition took you back to the top stories of 2011 and your predictions for the year ahead. As predicted, in 2012 we witnessed a reorientation of the voluntary carbon markets toward domestic, pre-compliance, and fragmented national initiatives. Readers reflected these trends in their survey-based ranking of the top stories from 2012 – including stories of scale, consolidation, fraud, corporate uptake and country-level progress. The same readers offered their predictions for the current year, all of which are published below to offer our readers a glimpse of markets present and future. In 2013, our expert readers tell us to expect a continued emphasis on carbon projects’ social and other “non-carbon” co-benefits; a continued move (on the supply side, anyway) toward standardized and jurisdictional approaches…
By Alex Lo, The Conversation, 15 January 2013 | China is more ambitious back home than it appears in international scenes. It has pledged to cut back emissions intensity (emissions per unit of GDP) by 40-45%, relative to 2005 by 2020. Short-term goals include reduction in energy intensity by 16% and carbon intensity by 17%, for the period from 2011 through 2015. The most prominent plan is to run a national emission trading scheme (ETS), ahead of the US and along with Australia. It is destined to be the world’s second-largest emissions market. The notion of carbon emission trading has found its way in industrialised economies, notably the European Union (EU). Yet, carbon trading had experienced an uncertain period in 2009 when the world economy stumbled and international climate change negotiations encountered major hurdles. At the time of uncertainties, a non-traditional market advocate cast a vote of confidence for the contested concept of carbon trading.
Survival International, 15 January 2013 | Three Bushman children have been arrested by paramilitary police in Botswana. The arrests are the latest signs of a new government policy to intimidate Bushmen who have returned to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). The children were jailed last week for being in possession of antelope meat in the CKGR. All have since been released, but further reports of harassment and intimidation have surfaced, and there have been a growing number of Bushmen arrests. On Wednesday, wildlife scouts beat up and confiscated fruit and berries from one Bushman, Amogelang Segootsane, telling him the food is ‘for animals, not humans!’ He was being treated in hospital last week. One Bushman told Survival, ‘The Bushmen are being hunted and their rights are being denied because of tourism (….) Police are given guns to go out and hunt and arrest Bushmen gathering bush food. The Bushmen of the CKGR cannot eat, cannot drink. How will they survive without food?’
elEconomista.es, 15 January 2013 | Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, announces its Cinterion M2M business is providing wireless connectivity for Invisible Tracck TM, an innovative device used in a pilot program to thwart illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Developed by Cargo Tracck TM, a technology leader in Brazil, the device uses Gemalto´s Cinterion M2M technology together with local cellular networks to send location updates from sensors in trees to a central server allowing officials to remotely track trees removed from protected areas.
Sky Rainforest Rescue, 15 January 2013 | Last month Acre state – home of the Sky Rainforest Rescue project – took a critical step towards realising reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (known as REDD+) by signing a new agreement with German development bank KfW. As part of the agreement, Acre will need to demonstrate real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to access up to €19m worth of KfW payments that will go towards conserving the state’s forests. Notably, supporters of Sky Rainforest Rescue have played a key role in making this agreement possible. In these last weeks, donations through Sky Rainforest Rescue were critical in bringing together a meeting of the state’s Science Committee to approve the baseline for carbon monitoring in Acre – a key requirement to assess how much forest-based carbon dioxide emissions are reducing in the state. The KfW funds are set to flow over the coming four years…
By Kate Evans, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 15 January 2013 | Brazilian policymakers can take some of the credit for a dramatic slowdown in the deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon, say experts – but that’s not the whole story. In November Brazil announced deforestation rates in the Amazon declined 27 percent from August 2011 to July 2012, reaching the lowest rates ever recorded for the fourth consecutive year. According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), 4656 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest were cleared over the twelve months, compared with 27,772 square kilometres in 2004. Brazil’s government says this represents a 76 percent reduction since 2004 – coming close to the country’s commitment to reduce deforestation in the Amazon region 80 percent by 2020. It has attributed the dramatic results to a package of policies known as PPCDAm (The Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Legal Amazon Deforestation) that were first implemented in 2004.
The Guardian, 15 January 2015 | Many people living in rural communities in the Congo basin depend on the rainforest – the second-largest in the world – for food, often bushmeat, and income from selling timber. However, the forest is being cleared at a rapid rate because of global demand for minerals and wood. The Centre for International Forestry Research (Cifor) is working in Congo basin countries to analyse the threats facing the forests and its communities.
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 17 January 2013 | An indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon has won a reprieve after building up an arsenal of spears, blowpipes, machetes and guns to fend off an expected intrusion by the army and a state-run oil company. The residents of Sani Isla expressed relief that a confrontation with Petroamazonas did not take place on Tuesday as anticipated, but said the firm is still trying to secure exploration rights in their area of pristine rainforest. “We have won a victory in our community. We’re united,” said the community president, Leonardo Tapuy. “But the government and the oil company won’t leave us alone. ” The Kichwa tribe on Sani Isla, had said they were ready to fight to the death to protect their territory, which covers 70,000 hectares. More than a quarter of their land is in Yasuni national park, the most biodiverse place on earth.
Ecuador Ministry of Environment, 15 January 2013 | Ecuador, through the Ministry of Environment, has been leading the process for preparation of future implementation of the mechanism “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD+). This mechanism represents an alternative to help mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and degradation of the country’s forests. For this end, Ecuador has already initiated the construction of a National REDD+ Programme, through which it seeks to implement a high quality nationwide REDD+ mechanism ensuring multiple additional benefits and avoiding risks for all parties involved, but in particular for communities, indigenous peoples and nationalities, Afro-Ecuadorian and Montubio peoples and communities living and depending on the forests, as well as other vulnerable and priority groups.
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, 15 January 2013 | Tensions have risen in the small Amazonian community of Saül in French Guiana after locals discovered that the French government approved a large-scale gold mining operation near their town—and inside French Guiana’s only national park—against their wishes. Run by mining company, Rexma, locals and scientists both fear that the mine would lead to deforestation, water pollution, and a loss in biodiversity for a community dependent on the forest and ecotourism. The gold mine isn’t necessarily illegal despite occurring inside the Guiana Amazonian Park. Tropical ecologist Sébastien Brosse, who has long worked in the region, says that a portion of the park is open to such activities.
By Johann Earle, AlertNet, 15 January 2013 | Guyana is pushing forward on protecting its rich inland forests as a source of income but is investing too little money in helping its low-lying coastal regions prepare for and adapt to climate change, national and international experts say. A study published last year by researchers from the University of Western Ontario in Canada says that massive adaptation investment is needed if the South American nation is to stave off flooding and salt contamination of agricultural land as a result of rising seas and more frequent storms. “The Guyana government clearly recognizes the country’s acute vulnerability to climate change – which has been accentuated by multiple recent flood events – and focuses on the need for vast infrastructural rehabilitation and enhancement as the main adaptation priority,” the authors noted.
Jakarta Globe, 15 January 2013 | Indonesia should embrace its key role in climate change and extend a ban on the destruction of forests and peatlands despite opposition from the agriculture minister and the influential palm oil industry, a senior forestry ministry official said. Indonesia, home to the world’s third-largest expanse of tropical forests, is under intense international pressure to limit deforestation and destruction of its carbon-rich peatlands, at risk from urbanization and the rapidly expanding palm oil and mining sectors. Southeast Asia’s largest economy imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest in May 2011 under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, and the government has yet to announce what it plans to do about the ban. Hadi Daryanto, secretary general at Indonesia’s forestry ministry, told Reuters he hoped it would be extended. “The ministry of forestry would like to continue the moratorium…”
By Zoe Cormier, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 15 January 2013 | Nearly a third of all orangutans left in the wild can be found within logging concessions in Indonesia, according to a new study by the Center for International Forest Research, which says designation of these areas for conservation could help save the endangered apes from extinction — while at the same time protecting forests. “In the conservation movement, many are only interested in protected areas, and dismiss the potential of logging concessions outright,” says CIFOR researcher David Gaveau, one of the authors of the study mapping the distribution of orangutan populations in Indonesia. Many of the 50,000 to 60,000 that remain can be found in national parks. But even more live in patches of forest scattered by development. The greatest number, however, almost a third, can be found in concessions where the selective harvesting of trees for timber is permitted.
By Michael Bachelard, Brisbane Times, 15 January 2013 | Some of the richest and most biodiverse forests in Indonesia will soon be opened up for commercial exploitation under a plan drafted by the new government of Aceh. The chairman of the Aceh parliament’s spatial planning committee, Mr Anwar (who goes by only one name) has confirmed the plan would reduce the total forest cover from about 68 per cent of the province’s land mass to 45 per cent. Most of the newly threatened areas are lowland forests, home to orang-utans, tigers, Sumatran rhinos and other endangered species. Conservationists say the plan drastically increases the danger of their extinction. Much of the forest has been designated ”production forest” since the 1990s, but these areas were saved from logging and agriculture initially because they provided a hiding place for Aceh’s armed Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) insurgents, and lately by a moratorium imposed by former governor Irwandi Yusuf.
ICIMOD, 17 January 2013 | ICIMOD and WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the Balochistan Forest Department organized district-level consultation workshops in Ziarat District and Zhob District to work with local communities and other stakeholders to identify drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in their respective areas. The workshops, held on 18 and 20 December, were part of the series of district-level consultations planned under the Preparedness Phase of the REDD+ Project in Pakistan. The Deputy Commissioner from Ziarat and former Chief Conservator of Forest from Balochistan were chief guests at the event in Ziarat. In Zhob, Haji Abdul Jabbar, a local political leader and community activist, chaired the consultation process. Forest contractors, media personnel, officials from various government departments and representatives from local forest communities and local NGOs provided valuable feedback during the consultations.
SustainableBusiness.com, 15 January 2013 | One of the little-known facts about cap-and-trade is that individuals are allowed to buy and trade carbon credits just like corporations can. It’s the same as buying and trading a stock through a broker, but in this case individuals would do so through brokers that specialize in environmental credits. Take California’s first historic cap and trade auction last November. After registering with the California Air Resources Board, any US citizen could have participated. Once an investor buys credits they can be traded or sold the same way as any stock. In California, each credit represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide. Right now, they are trading at about $15 each, but during the auction they sold for $10.09. The idea is that as California tightens the cap on greenhouse gas emissions, those credits will rise in value. So far, few individuals have jumped in, but as the market matures, it could be viewed as a new investment vehicle. Of course, the price can go down as well as up, as has been true of cap-and-trade for acid rain. Because the program has been so successful in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions, credits that cost $1600 in 1995, now are worth just $1.25.
16 January 2013
Forest Research Associates, 16 January 2013 | The news that the World Bank’s Forestry Carbon Fund has been boosted by an impressive $180 million in funding, has been welcomed by Forestry Research Associates (FRA). The research and analysis consultancy, specialising in sustainable forestry investments, claims that the extra funding will help improve chances of improving sustainability in countries like Indonesia and Brazil. “Some of these regions are still heavily reliant on the income they get from illegal forestry and being able to offer cash incentives for keeping their forests alive is a major boost to efforts to reduce deforestation.” Stated Peter Collins, FRA’s analysis partner.
By Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen, 16 January 2013 | Legislators gathering at a summit in London this week have pledged to boost their efforts to fight deforestation, by advancing the aims of the UN-backed REDD+ finance mechanism in their countries. MPs and other policymakers from 33 of the world’s major economies agreed the pledge on REDD+ at the first GLOBE International summit yesterday. Barry Gardiner MP, vice-president of GLOBE, told delegates the agreement was intended to be “non-controversial” and would reinforce efforts to cut emissions from forest loss.
By Denis Sonwa, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 January 2013 | Forests have occupied a role in the first 20 years of the Rio era (1992-2012) through three main conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). In the CBD, forest protection has been regularly highlighted, a trend that is likely to continue in the next decade. The place of forests in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including Aichi Biodiversity Targets (“Living in harmony with nature”) is an illustration of its recognition. In the UNCCD, forests, including dry forests, are also considered a priority. To help mainstream the importance of forests in the UNFCCC, “forest days” have been organized since Bali 2007 with the leadership of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).
Environmental Leader, 16 January 2013 | Energy demand and supply, deforestation and President Obama’s political leadership on climate change are among the top environmental and sustainability stories to watch in 2013, according to the World Resources Institute. CO2 emissions are on the rise globally, from 6 billion tons in 1950 to 35 billion tons in 2012 as the world becomes more urbanized — from 30 percent urban in 1950 to a projected 75 percent by 2050 — WRI president and CEO Andrew Steer said in a presentation yesterday. This increasing urbanization also puts more pressure on natural resources.
UNEP press release, 16 January 2013 | An increase in the amount of land being used for crops is one of the main reasons for the continuing loss of biodiversity and threatens to undermine attempts to meet international environmental goals, according to a new report backed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report, entitled Crop Expansion and Conservation Priorities in Tropical Countries, details how land, which is often rich in biodiversity, is being converted or set aside for crops like rice and maize in some 128 tropical countries. The study warns that such trends, if continued, could derail progress towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets – a set of 20, time-bound measurable targets aimed at halting global biodiversity loss by the middle of the century.
By Donna Bowater, The Indendent, 16 January 2013 | Trees in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are being fitted with mobile phones in an attempt to tackle illegal logging and deforestation. Devices smaller than a pack of cards are being attache d to the trees in protected areas to alert officials once they are cut down and the logs are transported. Location data is sent from sensors once the logs are within 20 miles of a mobile phone network to allow Brazil’s environment agency to stop the sale of illegal timber. The technology, called Invisible Tracck, which is being piloted by Dutch digital security company Gemalto, has a battery life of up to a year and has been designed to withstand the Amazonian climate. It will also allow officials to track trees in real time rather than relying on slower traditional means of monitoring through satellite images.
By Liat Clark, wired.co.uk, 16 January 2013 | Brazilian authorities hope to combat deforestation in the Amazon by fitting trees with wireless location devices that send out alerts if their host tree is cut down. Invisible Tracck is a device about the size of a smartphone developed by Brazilian firm Cargo Tracck and fitted with wireless technology and location algorithms from digital security firm Gemalto. Once covertly installed up a tree it will connect with mobile networks in the region and use sensors to send out routine location updates. If a tree is cut down, it will call for help as soon as it picks up a mobile signal, sending an alert about its whereabouts directly to protection agency Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente (IBAMA). Invisible Tracck can pick up a network signal from nearby towns up to 32 km away courtesy of Gemalto’s Cinterion BGS2 radio module, which amplifies range in low signal areas.
Walta Information Center, 16 January 2013 | Agriculture State Minister Sileshi Getahun said that the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) has evolved wider benefits in managing forests more sustainably, ensuring greater conservation efforts and carbon through forest expansion, beyond reducing deforestation and degradation. Launching the implementation workshop of the second phase of Ethiopia REDD+ Readiness Process-the readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) at the Ghion Hotel yesterday, Sileshi said forests and trees store carbon by capturing and processing CO2 through the photosynthesis pathway, but when they are burnt down or cleared (deforestation), the stored carbon is released back to the atmosphere thereby contributing to climate change.
Guyana Chronicle, 16 January 2013 | The local protected areas system received a significant boost yesterday with the exchange of notes to formally initiate a funding grant from the German Government to the Guyana Government via the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. Future investments will focus on the construction and equipping of offices for the recently established Protected Areas Commission (PAC). German Ambassador Stefan Schluter said that his country’s partnering with Guyana on environmental issues began in 1996, and since then, has continued to grow. “We are actually now celebrating the third phase of this on-going project which, so far, amounts to US$14 -15M. This is the latest phase which will have about Euros 5 million in aid.
By Caity Peterson, AlertNet, 16 January 2013 | Ever wish there was some kind of “REDD+ for underachievers” guide? Something that was not so densely theoretical but told us how this concept actually works in practice? Or whether it actually works in practice? Fear not, such a guide exists – although you won’t find it in paperback. The Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (IAFCP) has given us a life-size demonstration of how a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) carbon scheme might work. The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP), funded by Australia, is an attempt to design, build, and trial a functioning carbon programme that is sensitive not only to emissions reductions but to local livelihoods as well.
17 January 2013
Ecosystem Marketplace, 17 January 2013 | With 2013 already bringing in new developments in the forest carbon market, Ecosystem Marketplace is taking a look back at the most memorable stories of 2012, according to our readers – who also shared their market predictions for 2013. A year ago, our readers accurately forecasted an emphasis on sub-national initiatives that would foster regional forest carbon markets, and a continued focus on the development of REDD outside the UN process. The survey-based ranking showcased below of the most eye-catching stories in 2012 supports these trends. REDD projects around the globe, some of which made it to our top ten list, consistently made headlines throughout last year as they took on validation and verification processes to both domestic and international standards. Meanwhile, both national and sub-national efforts were manifested – and some materialized – to develop domestic markets and/or enter international ones.
The Gold Standard press release, 17 January 2013 | The Gold Standard Foundation is pleased to announce that the financial information services provider, Markit, has been appointed to develop and manage The Gold Standard’s new registry for Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) in the voluntary carbon market. The Registry also serves as the Gold Standard’s Clean Development Mechanism/Joint Implementation (CDM/JI) project database to track the certification of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) and Emission Reduction Units (ERUs).
NASA, 17 January 2013 | An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change. An international research team led by Sassan Saatchi of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., analyzed more than a decade of satellite microwave radar data collected between 2000 and 2009 over Amazonia. The observations included measurements of rainfall from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and measurements of the moisture content and structure of the forest canopy (top layer) from the Seawinds scatterometer on NASA’s QuikScat spacecraft.
By Peter Persaud, Guyana Chronicle, 17 January 2013 | History will judge Guyana’s former President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo as being a true statesman with outstanding world class leadership. As a result, he received four Honorary Doctorates from International Universities including awards and high profile positions from the International Community in recognition of his Global Leadership on Climate Change thus boosting Guyana’s International profile as a developing country in the forefront of the fight against global climate change. Although Mr. Jagdeo has demitted Presidential office, his international recognition and awards provide an extended platform for him to continuously play both national and international roles on matters relating to Climate Change, REDD+ and Forestry.
By Prodita Sabarini and Nurni Sulaiman, Jakarta Post, 17 January 2013 | East Kalimantan’s achievements are not without consequences. A ride around the capital shows the environmental destruction of Samarinda. Being the capital, it is a telling example of the shape of things to come in the rest of province’s regions. The city is surrounded and squeezed in by mines. In all directions from the city center, hills are sliced and chopped. Red and dusty barren land has replaced the once green jungle. The mines are very close to residential areas, causing in 2009 houses in a Samarinda district called Loa Kulu to subside due to a landslide, according to Said, a local resident. Concerns are also mounting, given that the province’s coal reserves will eventually be exhausted, that East Kalimantan’s non-renewable-resource economy faces the inevitable risk of coming to a halt. The province is highly dependent on these resources with more than 70 percent of its GRDP coming from them.
Asian Correspondent, 17 January 2013 | Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday added to international pressure on the authoritarian government in Laos to investigate the disappearance a month ago of a prominent social activist and reunite him with his family. Sombath Somphone, 60, went missing Dec. 15 in the capital of Vientiane after he was stopped by police at a checkpoint. The government of the small Southeast Asian nation has disavowed responsibility for the disappearance, suggesting he was kidnapped over a personal dispute.
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 17 January 2013 | A Harvard professor is challenging America’s environmental leaders to learn from their failures on climate change. Theda Skocpol accused Washington environmentalists in a research paper of grossly under-estimating the resistance to any environmental measures from Republicans in Congress and the conservative Tea party movement. That miscalculation doomed efforts to pass a climate change law. Now, in an interview, the political scientist is urging environmental activists to accept their mistakes, stop blaming Barack Obama and move on. “If environmentalists can’t step back two years later and realise it’s more than Obama failing to do something, then they are not going to be ready for the next opening that comes along,” Skocpol told The Guardian.
18 January 2013
mongabay.com, 18 January 2013 | The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) must implement standards that protect forests and account for greenhouse gas emissions to remain credible, said an environmental group ahead of a that will determine the body’s “Principles and Criteria” for the next five years. In a statement issued Friday, The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) called on the RSPO to enact rules that ensure the palm oil it certifies is deforestation free. “The moment is now. There won’t be another opportunity to add forest and climate protections until 2018 – and by then, the deforestation caused by the palm oil industry could make forest protections a moot point,” said Sarah Roquemore, outreach coordinator for UCS’s tropical forest and climate initiative. UCS noted that nearly 200 scientists have signed a letter urging the RSPO to establish stricter criteria for certification.
By Bernardo Camara, Greenpeace International, 18 January 2013 | Trucks filled with timber from illegal logging operations in the Amazon have been stopped in their tracks by an indigenous village protesting the continued exploitation of their lands. With little or no support from the local or federal authorities, the Pukobjê-Gavião people in Maranhão state, Brazil, are refusing to stand aside as their forests are destroyed by illegal loggers. The Pukobjê-Gavião have blocked four trucks and a tractor filled with fresh timber from leaving their lands. Frederico Pereira Guajajara, a member of the neighboring Indigenous Land “Arariboia”, says he was assaulted as he began filming the Pukobjê-Gavião protests as the trucks were trying to leave their land. “Loggers beat me on my head, pushed me, broke my phone and wanted to throw me in the fire, but did not because the other Indians started to leave,” he said.
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 18 January 2013 | The US space agency Nasa warned this week that the Amazon rainforest may be showing the first signs of large-scale degradation due to climate change. A team of scientists led by the agency found that an area twice the size of California continues to suffer from a mega-drought that began eight years ago. The new study shows the severe dry spell in 2005 caused far wider damage than previously estimated and its impact persisted longer than expected until an even harsher drought in 2010. With little time for the trees to recover between what the authors describe as a “double whammy”, 70m hectares of forest have been severely affected, the analysis of 10 years of satellite microwave radar data revealed.
mongabay.com, 18 January 2013 | Data released by Imazon, a Brazil-based NGO, shows that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to pace well ahead of last year’s record low rate. In a bulletin posted today, Imazon reported that its near-real-time deforestation tracking system detected 82 square kilometers of forest clearing in December 2012, more than twice the figure of December 2011. It marked the fourth consecutive month where forest clearing exceeded the year-earlier period. Overall forest loss between August 2012 and December 2012 amounted to 1,288 square kilometers, 127 percent higher than same period in 2011. However Imazon’s near-real-time system isn’t as accurate as the system used for tracking annual deforestation. The tool, which has relatively coarse resolution, is used mostly for alerting authorities on the location of forest clearing, rather than measuring changes in forest cover.
Stabroek News, 18 January 2013 | The Chinese company Bai Shan Lin Forest Development Inc, which last week announced that it was seeking to recruit 700 Guyanese workers to kick-start a number of major investment projects in Guyana is aiming to provide jobs for up to 10,000 Guyanese in the longer term, Whenze Chu, Chairman of the company’s parent entity China Forest Industry Group Company Ltd, said. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
By Niniek Karmini and Ali Kotarumalos, AP, 18 January 2013 | Jakarta, a low-lying city on the sea, has long been prone to floods, but their scale has become worse over the last 10 years as infrastructure development has not kept pace with the city’s growth. Other Southeast Asian cities, Bangkok and Manila especially, have also proved vulnerable to widespread floods in recent years… Deforestation in the hills to the south of the city, chaotic planning and the rubbish that clogs the hundreds of waterways that crisscross the city are some of the factors behind the floods. Corrupt city officials turn an eye to building violations and lack the skills and ability to build flood defenses.
By Michael Taylor, Reuters, 18 January 2013 | “From my perspective, I’ve proposed to the president to extend,” said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, a technocrat who oversees forestry sector reform and heads a presidential delivery unit aimed at cutting through red tape. “It is good that we can extend for another year, maybe two.” “I’m happy with the results so far,” he said in an interview. “It is still not perfect but at least we are close. We’ve achieved a lot, although I’m not totally satisfied.” The moratorium, which covers 65 million hectares or about a third of Indonesia, is part of a climate change deal signed with Norway in 2010, although officials said only $28-$29 million of the $30 million disbursed so far has been used. “I’m a fairly conservative person when it comes to utilizing funds,” he added. “I know the environment, the bureaucracy, the problem in the areas … I have to be very prudent.”
19 January 2013
By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 19 January 2013 | European Union emission permits plunged to a record after low bids from utilities, factories and banks forced Germany to cancel a sale for the first time. EU carbon for December dropped 8.9 percent after the European Energy Exchange AG failed to generate higher bids even after extending the sale by 15 minutes. The unsold volume will be added to the country’s next four auctions. The contract has fallen 23 percent this month as EU member states consider whether to approve a European Commission plan to temporarily fix a record glut in supply. Unsold volumes could exacerbate the market’s oversupply in subsequent sales, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Demand from utilities just isn’t there,” Matthew Gray, an analyst in London at Jefferies Group Inc., said in a phone interview. “It’s a concern how quickly it’s happening. I didn’t think we’d see an auction fail this soon in the year.”
WWF, 19 January 2013 | Bruce Cabarle, Leader of WWF’s global Forest and Climate Initiative (FCI), answers some key questions on the REDD+ related outcomes of UNFCCC-COP18, which took place in Doha, Qatar. Q. What were WWF’s expectations for REDD+ at UNFCCC-COP18 in Doha, Qatar? A. WWF’s top line expectation was to ensure that REDD+ emerged from COP18 as part of the post-Doha framework toward the target date of 2015 for a new global deal on climate change. WWF also expected conclusion on the outstanding technical issues needed to maintain forward progress with REDD+ implementation… Q. While there seems to be quite a lot of support for REDD+, Parties could not agree on significant next steps – why, what happened? A. REDD+ was held hostage to political disputes over the lack of progress on commitments to mid- and long-term climate finance, and the parity in both process and standards for the verification of pledges for international finance and domestic reductions of GHG emissions.
20 January 2013
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