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REDD in the news: 11-17 February 2013

REDD in the news: 11-17 February 2013

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.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+): Transaction Costs of Six Peruvian Projects

By Olivia R Rendón Thompson, Jouni Paavola , John R. Healey, Julia P.G. Jones, Timothy R. Baker, and Jorge Torres, Ecology and Society, 2013 | The financial mechanism of REDD+ is payment for the ecosystem service of carbon sequestration in tropical forests that is expected to create incentives for conservation of forest cover and condition. However, the costs of achieving emissions reduction by these means remain largely unknown… The results indicate that the costs of implementing REDD+ are highly uncertain for participating developing countries because of issues such as inadequate project design and how additionality is determined. Furthermore, some insight is obtained into how different activities to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, the type of implementer, and project location affect implementation costs of REDD+ projects. Even with these first estimates, the cost of preserving existing intact forests in the Peruvian Amazon may have been underestimated.

Landowners or Laborers?

Rights and Resources Initiative and Forest Peoples Programme, February 2013 | A panel on the rural development choices facing leaders of developing countries. Hosted by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) on February 5, 2013 at Royal Society, London.

CIFOR Publishes Guidance on Mainstreaming Gender into Forestry Research

Climate Change Policy & Practice, February 2013 | The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) released a report titled "Integrating Gender into Forestry Research – A Guide for CIFOR Scientists and Programme Administrators" outlining key gender considerations in forestry and presenting guidance on mainstreaming gender into CIFOR’s research work. The report defines gender and identifies a number of key issues including: the participation of women; gender and climate change; gendered knowledge and practices; gender and land tenure and resource use rights; gender and REDD+; gender and value chain analysis; and gender and benefit sharing. For each key issue, the report describes its relevance for forestry research and poses a series of corresponding questions.

Finance major challenge facing REDD

Climate Change TV, February 2013 | Becky Chacko – Senior Director, Climate Policy, Conservation International. “We’ve been talking about REDD for a long time, but there is still a lot to be done. We’re still building a common approach and looking at finance,” Chacko says. “Each area is different, but it’s imp that there are common approaches, that rights are respected, that there is environmental ingrity, that the way people count carbon in REDD is the same, so that we understand what we are accomplishing with REDD. “The biggest challenge is finance. We have seen some financing flow but it’s not clear what the future of (forest) finance is”.

11 February 2013

Activists blast World Bank on continued support of industrial rainforest logging

By Rhett A. Butler,, 11 February 2013 | Two environmental activist groups blasted the World Bank over its reported decision to block a probe into its support of industrial-scale rainforest logging. Greenpeace and Global Witness issued a statement condemning last Friday’s decision by The World Bank Board of Directors not to pursue a review of its lending to industrial logging companies. The review was recommended by an independent audit committee that has been conducting an evaluation of the effectiveness of a decade’s worth of World Bank forestry investments… The bank accepted seven of the recommendations, including the need to support direct forest management by forest-dependent communities, but said it “disagreed with IEG’s recommendation regarding timber concession reform in tropical moist forest countries” and “was not in favor of undertaking a parallel review” on the issue.

Jared Diamond on traditional societies

By Alok Jha, The Guardian, 11 February 2013 | This week Alok Jha meets the Pulitzer prizewinning author Jared Diamond to discuss his new book The World Until Yesterday. Diamond explains how his early passion for ornithology led him to New Guinea and a life-long passion for studying traditional hunter-gatherer societies. He also addresses the accusation by Survival International that he is "completely wrong, both factually and morally" to say that traditional societies are more violent than state-run societies. Observer science editor Robin McKie has written about Diamond’s new book here.

Earth’s forests get conservation boost from eyes in space

WWF, 11 February 2013 | It was a historic day for Earth conservation today with the launch of NASA’s Landsat 8 earth-imaging satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite will enable continued global land observations critical to forest monitoring and conservation. WWF’s global Forest and Climate Initiative will use data made available to monitor deforestation rates in the world’s most threatened tropical forests, as part of its efforts in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Landsat 8 is the latest satellite launched as part of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, a joint program of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey started in 1972. The satellite will circle Earth 14 times a day at an altitude of 438 miles, returning over each location every 16 days. Imagery and data captured will be archived and made freely available at no cost.

12 February 2013

A forest of failures

Bretton Woods Project, 12 February 2013 | A leaked copy of an evaluation of the Bank’s forest strategy criticises the Bank’s failure to address social and environmental goals. Further criticism has also been raised over the Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The draft December report by the Bank’s arms-length evaluation unit, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG), which was discussed by the Bank’s Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE) in early February, assessed the implementation of the Bank’s 2002 forest strategy and concluded that “the Bank Group’s record in managing the trade-offs and tensions between conservation, poverty alleviation, and growth objectives shows that expectations, as envisioned by the 2002 strategy, have not yet been met.”

Brazil’s hydroelectric dam boom is bringing tensions as well as energy

By Juan Forero, Guardian Weekly, 12 February 2013 | Between now and 2021, the energy ministry’s building schedule will be feverish: Brazilian companies and foreign conglomerates will put up 34 sizeable dams in an effort to increase the country’s capacity to produce energy by more than 50%.The Brazil projects have received less attention than China’s dam-building spree, which has plugged up canyons and bankrolled hydroelectric projects far from Asia. But Brazil is undertaking one of the world’s largest public works projects, one that will cost more than $150bn, and harness the force of this continent’s great rivers. The objective is to help the country of 199 million achieve what Brazilian leaders call its destiny: becoming a modern, efficient world-class economy with an ample supply of energy for office towers, assembly lines, refineries and iron works.

Indonesian governor proposes opening protected areas to logging, 12 February 2013 | The governor of Indonesia’s Aceh Province on the island of Sumatra has proposed opening up more than 50,000 hectares of protected forest to logging, according to a new analysis by an Indonesian environmental group. The report, published by Greenomics-Indonesia, is based on analysis of data in a new spatial plan proposed for Aceh. The spatial plan, which lays out the zoning regulations at the provincial level, must be approved by the central government to move forward. Greenomics found that the proposed spatial plan changes the designation of several large blocks of "protected forest" to "production forest". The move would effectively rezone these conservation areas for logging concessions. The report did not evaluate the impacts of the proposed changes on blocks of forest under 1,400 hectares, but media reports indicate that other areas may be opening up for mining.

[Indonesia] Carbon Trading Windfall From REDD Still Far Off, Official Says

By Tunggadewa Mattangkilang, Jakarta Globe, 12 February 2013 | The Malinau district administration has acknowledged that it will take some time before the economic benefits emerge from a carbon sequestration project that begun there two years ago. Apriansyah, the head of conservation at the district forestry office, said on Monday that the process of accounting for and trading the carbon sequestered in the Kayan Mentarang National Park was lengthy and very complex. The administration is working with the German government on a reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scheme involving 15 villages on the periphery of the park. “The essence of the project is to empower the local communities so that they are no longer dependent on the forest for their livelihoods, which will prevent deforestation,” Apriansyah said. “This project will then open the door to the prospect of carbon trading.”

[Mexico] Intensive monitoring sites give more certainty to estimate change of the forest carbon

Strengthening REDD+ and South-South cooperation (Mexico-Norway Project), 12 February 2013 | In 2013, through Strengthening REDD+ and South-South cooperation Project, CONAFOR will have six areas of study. The Strengthening REDD+ and South-South Cooperation Project has initiated the operation of intensive monitoring sites, by signing cooperation agreements with Yucatan’s Scientific Research Center (CICY), and U’yool’ché A.C.; and planned to implement more of this sites in 2013 with the cooperation of The South Border College (ECOSUR), the Postgraduate College (COLPOS), and the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (Conanp). In this way they have located … sites at managed forest at Atopixco, Hidalgo; the biosphere reserve Calakmul, Campeche; private reserve Kaxil Kiuik, Yucatan; Community reserve Kanan Much K’aax at the Ejido Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo; and reserve La Encrucijada, in Chiapas.

N. American Carbon Markets to ‘More Than Double’ This Year

Point Carbon, 12 February 2013 | This year, North American carbon markets will more than double in value to $2.5 billion, according to market intelligence firm Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. The growth will be driven by activity in California, whose market will increase over four-fold year-on-year to 186 Mt… The value of global carbon markets fell 35 percent to €62 billion ($84 billion) in 2012, according to Point Carbon figures released earlier this month. The fall was largely due to an oversupply of credits, Point Carbon said.

US carbon market revamp could show way for struggling EU ETS

By John Parnell, RTCC – Responding to Climate Change, 12 February 2013 | While the latest research suggests the EU Emission Trading System (ETS) is headed into the abyss, a healthy US-based system has just proposed targeting yet deeper emission cuts. The EU ETS was damned by Thomson Reuters’ Point Carbon analysts this week, labelling the collapse in the price to a low of €2.81 at the beginning of the month “dramatic” and “enduring”. Plans to hold back 900m credits from the next phase of trading are currently under debate in Brussels. Proponents say “backloading” it is the best to lift the price, even campaigners and analysts alike consider 900m an insufficient quantity to hold onto. EU members with carbon intensive economies are reluctant to do anything to lift the price of carbon and the first committee vote on the subject prior to vote by the European parliament saw the backloading plan defeated.

Paying farmers to protect forest watersheds in Vietnam & China: The long-term prognosis

By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests News Blog,12 February 2013 | As China and Vietnam move toward decentralised, market-baed economies, they will need to improve the cost-effectiveness of ambitious programmes offering cash rewards to farmers who help protect forests, watersheds and other vulnerable ecosystems, a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research suggests. Local communities, whose participation at the moment is generally mandatory, will also need to have a greater say in how they manage the land. “The key is to find a way to make these Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes sustainable in the long run,” said Vijay Kolinjivadi, lead author of the report looking at the governments’ driving role in the projects and what impact that has. “As currently designed, these schemes may eventually require external funding, from international donors or non-governmental organisations,” he said.

13 February 2013

Report: Europe could halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

EurActiv, 13 February 2013 | By 2030, Europe could be generating more than 40% of its energy from renewables, using 38% less energy than in 2005 and emitting 50% less greenhouse gases than it did in 1990, a new WWF report shows. “Achieving such levels would put the EU on track to deliver a 100% renewably powered energy system by 2050 at the latest,” says the report, Re-energising Europe, prepared for WWF by the Ecofys consultancy. The European Commission will soon begin an orientation debate about 2030 climate targets, in advance of a public consultation (Green Paper) later this spring and a follow-up policy paper (Communication) due by the end of the year. But Jason Anderson, WWF’s head of EU climate and energy policy, said that such measures were unlikely to be successful in the absence of legal recourse. “Time and again, indicative targets and voluntary agreements have failed and been replaced by binding targets,” he told EurActiv.

European Carbon Rises to Three-Week High Before Vote on Glut Fix

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 13 February 2013 | European Union carbon permits rose to their highest in almost three weeks as the environment committee of the bloc’s parliament prepared to vote on a measure to temporarily cut supply of the certificates. EU allowances for December climbed 2.2 percent to 4.58 euros ($6.16) a metric ton, the highest close since Jan. 23, after earlier advancing to 4.72 euros on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. United Nations Certified Emission Reduction credits for December fell 2 cents, or 5.7 percent, to 33 euro cents a ton. The European Parliament committee is set to vote Feb. 19 on a proposal designed to allow the bloc to postpone the sale of 900 million tons of allowances until the end of the decade in a process known as backloading. The price of the permits plunged 31 percent this year and reached a record 2.81 euros a ton last month as Europe’s sputtering economy curbed demand for the contracts.

[Indonesia] Aceh Governor Wants to Allow More Logging in Protected Forests: Report

By Hayat Indriyatno, Jakarta Globe, 13 February 2013 | Spatial zoning proposals for Aceh indicate that the province’s governor is seeking to open up more than 52,000 hectares of protected forest there to logging, a conservation group warns. In a report published on Tuesday, the group Greenomics Indonesia found that the spatial plans proposed by Governor Zaini Abdullah would change the status of vast tracts of protected forest to production forest. “The report reveals that there are five large blocks of [protected] forest — each more than 2,000 hectares in area — that have been identified for the sole purpose of felling so as to meet timber needs of more than 21,000 hectares, equivalent to 30 percent of the total area of Singapore,” the report said.

USAID promotes forest carbon measurement in Laos

Lao Voices, 13 February 2013 | Laos has significant potential to produce carbon credits for sale by reducing emissions though limiting deforestation and increasing protection efforts. The Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) programme funded by the USAID is assisting carbon assessment in Laos, aiming to realise the country’s potential in terms of emissions reduction. Experts from the programme m et with Lao national and provincial government officials and other partner staff on Monday in Borikhamxay province to begin a three-week training programme on forest biomass and carbon stock assessment. The opening ceremony address was chaired by the Forestry Department Deputy Director General, Mr Khamphay Manivong, and the provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department Deputy Director, Mr Phonesavanh Homnabounnat.

14 February 2013

Carbon fat cats are killing the emissions trading mouse

By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 14 February 2013 | What is the most important climate change policy issue in Europe right now? By a wide margin it is the broken emissions trading scheme, because it should the biggest and best way of cutting carbon emissions. The idea of a cap-and-trade scheme is that the cap shrinks, requiring a progressive reduction in carbon emissions. Meanwhile the trade means that the cuts in emissions take place where they are cheapest, meaning the maximum benefit for the least cost. That’s the admirable theory. In practice, two factors have left the EU ETS in ruins, with a price – today about €4.50 – far below the €20 where it will even start to have an effect. The first is industrial-scale lobbying from the vested interests which has led to vast windfalls being handed to many companies in the energy-intensive sector (but not the energy sector itself). The second is the global recession, which has reduced the already-inflated demand…

Ex-IPCC head: Prepare for 5°C warmer world

By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 14 February 2013 | The world has missed the chance to keep greenhouse gas emissions below the level needed to prevent the temperature climbing above 2°C, according to the British scientist who used to chair the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The scientist, Professor Sir Robert Watson, chaired the Panel from 1997 until 2002, when he was ousted after US pressure for his removal. Professor Watson says there is a 50-50 chance of preventing global average temperatures rising more than 3°C above their level at the start of the industrial age, but a 5°C rise is possible. That would mean the Earth warming more than it has since the end of the last Ice Age. He was speaking at a symposium, Preventing global non-communicable diseases through low-carbon development, held at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

[Bolivia] Criminalising social protests

By Manuela Picq, Al Jazeera English, 14 February 2013 | Sumak kausay is the Kichwa word for “living well”, or buen vivir in Spanish. It is an indigenous principle that entails the harmonious interaction between man and nature, the respect for life and ecosystems, and an equitable and sustainable sharing of resources. This millennia-old idea has gained visibility in plurinational states of Latin America. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, first elected in 2005, invoked this ancestral value against the capitalist principles of extraction and growth, and Ecuador made it a constitutional right in its 2008 Constitution that was internationally acclaimed for defending the rights of nature. Paradoxically, principles of harmony between nature and men can also forge terrorists. In Ecuador, 10 young people who gathered to discuss their understanding of the political agenda implied by sumak kausay have been arrested on charges of terrorism.

[Indonesia] Preventing partnerships: Timber companies & indigenous groups grapple over land

By Maya Thatcher, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 14 February 2013 | Scientists have been sifting through stacks of case studies trying to understand why — despite all good intentions — some partnerships between indigenous groups and private timber companies in Indonesia fail, while others flourish. Krister Andersson, co-author of a Center for International Forestry Research report Towards more equitable terms of cooperation: Local people’s contribution to commercial timber concessions, said many factors come into play, including whether concessionaires are serious about incorporating local knowledge (what species are most likely to thrive in a given climate, for instance, or who the real players are in decision-making) and the challenges of hammering out agreements that are mutually beneficial. But when it comes to failed collaborations in this archipelagic nation of 240 million, the biggest culprit continues to been overlapping land claims, which in the worst cases have led to violence…

15 February 2013

Understanding the role of forest income in rural livelihoods: Insights from China

By Louis Putzel, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 15 February 2013 | With almost a quarter of the world’s population relying on forest resources for their livelihoods, understanding how forests can improve the lives of the poorest people is an important topic in economic development. In a recently published World Development article, Nicholas Hogarth and colleagues show that rural households in a poor and remote mountainous region in southern China get more than 30% of their livelihoods from managing plantation forests. Since 1994, the Chinese government has been engaged in a national poverty reduction plan incorporating a number of important policies to promote forest-based cash crops while increasing both forest cover and the area of forestlands allocated and managed by rural households.

New climate change agency in Indonesia to go beyond carbon

World Agroforestry Centre, 15 February 2013 | Between 60 and 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia come from forest and peatland loss. “We have to tackle this in order to meet Indonesia’s commitment to emissions reduction,” Minister Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said to an audience at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) headquarters in Nairobi, on 5 February 2013. At the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the richly forested country. “We are devising …a policy … that will reduce our emissions by 26 percent by 2020. With international support… we can reduce emissions by as much as 41 percent,” the President said. And in May 2010, Indonesia signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Norway to support REDD+ through a contribution of 1 billion US dollars, to be paid based on verified emissions reductions.

Helping Indonesia Reduce Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Rob Finlayson, World Agroforestry Centre, 15 February 2013 | One of the most important projects in the fight against global warming has made public its final report, say Suyanto and Sonya Dewi, the project’s leaders Indonesia has been well-known in scientific circles as the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, after the USA and China. Most of those emissions come from land uses and land-use changes, particularly deforestation. However, Indonesia is also one of the world leaders in acting quickly to try and reduce its emissions. To help the Government of Indonesia identify sources of emissions and design ways of reducing them, the European Union funded the World Agroforestry Centre to implement a ground-breaking project called Accountability and Local Level Initiatives to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Indonesia (ALLREDDI).

[Indonesia] Is APP deal a sign of a changing forestry sector?

By Nigel Sizer, Ruth Nogueron and James Anderson (WRI),, 15 February 2013 | APP’s new policy—which includes sourcing all material from plantation-grown trees, ceasing clearing of carbon-rich peatland, and engaging more with local communities—is significant, both for the business world and forest conservation. APP and its suppliers manage more than 2.5 million hectares of land in Indonesia and produce more than 15 million tons of pulp, paper, and packaging globally every year. Strong action by APP could indicate that the industry is heading for a more sustainable future. The question is whether APP will follow this positive announcement with action. The company does not have a strong track record, having defaulted on past commitments to end deforestation. But APP has something else going for it this time around. A rapidly evolving world of improving corporate practices and powerful technology could provide the right enabling environment for APP’s commitment … to succeed.

[Peru] SUCCESS: Gas giant backtracks on exploration in UNESCO World Heritage Site

Survival International, 15 February 2013 | The Argentine gas giant Pluspetrol has publicly backtracked on plans to expand the notorious Camisea gas project in southeast Peru into one of the most biodiverse places on earth, following a shock exposure this week by The Guardian newspaper and Survival International. The company has released a statement in which it admitted planning what it described as ‘superficial geological studies… for scientific interest,’ in Manu National Park, but promising that it had now abandoned these plans. The Peruvian national parks authority Sernanp has also released a statement following the media storm, confirming it had denied Pluspetrol’s request to work in the area on the grounds that the Manu’s protected status ‘expressly prohibits the exploitation of natural resources’.

South Asia’s Forests Help Fight Climate Change But More Needs to be Done

World Agroforestry Centre, 15 February 2013 | For the first time, a carbon budget has been calculated for South Asia, showing that forests contribute to reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but rice and livestock add to it, say a team of scientists that includes the Centre’s Rodel Lasco. South Asia is home to 1.6 billion people: almost a quarter of the global population. Most of these people reside in India, which is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world. But until recently, little was known about the region’s contribution to the global carbon budget (the gains and losses of carbon). To find out, our team estimated the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and methane from anthropogenic and natural biospheric activities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

[USA] Capping Pollution from Coast to Coast

By Susanne Brooks, EDF, 15 February 2013 | As the second auction in California’s landmark cap and trade program approaches, a coalition of states on the opposite side of the country – that have been cost-effectively reducing their carbon pollution while saving their consumers money – announced plans to strengthen their emission reduction goals. Last week, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – the nation’s first cap and trade program which sets a cap on carbon dioxide pollution from the electric power sector in 9 Northeastern states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) – released an updated Model Rule containing a number of improvements to the program, primarily a significantly lower (by 45%) overall cap, realigning it with current emissions levels.

16 February 2013

Carbon markets: Extremely Troubled Scheme

The Economist, 16 February 2013 | On February 19th Europe’s emissions-trading system (ETS) faces a potentially fatal vote. It could not only determine whether the world’s biggest carbon-trading market survives but delay the emergence of a worldwide market, damage Europe’s environmental policies across the board and affect the prospects for a future treaty to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Quite a lot for a decision which—as is the way of things European—sounds numbingly technical. The vote is due to take place in the environment committee of the European Parliament. If the committee approves the proposal before it (and the parliament in full session as well as a majority of national governments agree with the decision), this would give the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, the power to rearrange the ETS’s schedule of auctions. Its plan is to delay the sale of about 900m tonnes of carbon allowances from around 2013-16 to 2019-20.

[Suriname] US$ 14 million budgeted for REDD+ preparations, 16 February 2013 | Some US$ 14.3 million has been budgeted for preparations of Suriname’s REDD+ program. A second stakeholders meeting was held yesterday to discuss the proposal to be submitted with the World Bank on 25 February. John Goedschalk, REDD+ project coordinator and director of the Climate Bureau is currently studying ways how Suriname can implement REDD+. The program stands to reward countries with large forests for sustainable forest management. On 19 March, the REDD+ project group is to present its proposal to the World Bank, which finances the preparation phase in countries such as Suriname. In order to be eligible for funds, an extensive proposal, R-PP, must be approved along with a budget. In Suriname’s case, this budget is estimated at US$ 14.3 million for the preparation phase, spread over a five years period. In addition to the World Bank, the government and other ‘green’ agencies will provide funds as well.

17 February 2013

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