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REDD in the news: 18-24 February 2013

REDD in the news: 18-24 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.

Seeds of Destruction: Palm oil in the Congo Basin

Rainforest Foundation UK, February 2013 | Half a million hectares of industrial oil palm expansion projects are getting underway in the Congo Basin rainforest, which will result in a fivefold increase in the area of active large-scale palm plantations in the region, according to Seeds of Destruction, a new report issued today by The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK). Approximately two-thirds of the total forest area of the Congo Basin’s forests – 115 million hectares – is believed to have suitable soil and climate for growing oil palms. Around 1.6 million hectares of new oil palm developments have been announced since 2009 , and palm oil companies are actively searching for larger areas.

Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent

UN-REDD, February 2013 | Recognizing the critical role of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communi­ties to the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of REDD+, the UN-REDD Programme has prioritized stakeholder engagement from its inception. Recognizing that a key component of effective stakeholder engagement is the right to FPIC and responding to calls from stakeholders, countries, partners and donors for further clarification on FPIC in the context of REDD+, the UN-REDD Programme organized a series of regional and international consultations with indigenous peoples, forest-dependent communities, international human rights and safeguards experts and REDD+ practitioners to delve into the complexities, challenges and remaining questions around the application of FPIC for REDD+.

Carbon rights legislation: not yet ready for private sector REDD+

IIED Publications Database, February 2013 | REDD+ is already developing private sector engagements, making rights to sell and benefit from reduced emissions (carbon rights) a crucial issue. Our review of private sector REDD+ projects reveals tendencies for legal arrangements that reinterpret tenure law so as to bundle the new commodity of carbon regulation with existing rights to tangible resources. Provisions for benefit sharing, particularly those aimed at addressing the underlying causes of forest degradation, are often vague or missing. Given the size and duration of private REDD projects, this has far reaching and long term implications for communities and countries.

Linking community-based and national REDD+ monitoringa review of the potential

By A.K. Pratihast, M. Herold, V. de Sy, D. Murdiyarso, and M. Skutsch, Carbon Management, 2013 | Countries participating in REDD+ schemes are required to establish a national monitoring system that keeps track of forest carbon changes over time. Community-based monitoring (CBM) can be useful for tracking locally driven forest change activities and their impacts. In this paper, we review some of the key issues regarding CBM and options to link CBM and national forest monitoring systems. More specifically, we highlight the importance of local drivers of deforestation and degradation and, thus, the relevance of community involvement in REDD+ implementation and monitoring; we review the scientific literature to better define the role and technical conditions under which CBM can contribute to national level monitoring; we develop a conceptual framework for linking local and national monitoring; and we analyze and synthesize 28 REDD+ country approaches to CBM.

Forestry and Climate Change Initiatives in Indonesia: Three Expert Assessments

The American Institute for Indonesian Studies, February 2013 | USINDO cordially invites you to an Open Forum Panel Discussion, Forestry and Climate Change Initiatives in Indonesia: Three Expert Assessments, with Dr. Mubariq Ahmad (Adviser for Climate Change Policy, World Bank; Strategy Working Group Leader, Indonesia’s Presidential Task Force on REDD+); Dr. Charles Barber (Forest Chief, Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science; Co-coordinator for Inter-agency Efforts on Climate and Environment under the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership, U.S. Department of State); and Dr. David McCauley (Vice President for Multilateral Affairs, World Wildlife Fund).

UNEP Report Offers Lessons Learned from Forest Financing for REDD+

Forests Policy and Practice, February 2013 | The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP Riso Centre have launched a report, titled “Translating lessons learned from financing forest projects into national REDD+ strategy development and implementation.” The report uses examples from eight projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America to generate advice on structuring national REDD+ programmes, which it says offer the greatest potential for scaling up investment in REDD+. The report emphasizes that financing remains the fundamental challenge facing forest carbon projects. It indicates that public-private partnerships have proven to be the best way to attract finance and ensure good individual project management.

18 February 2013

UNFCCC COP 18 makes no concrete decisions on REDD+ in Doha and delays further discussions until mid-2013

Forest Peoples Programme, 18 February 2013 | The 18th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in Doha in December 2012, with the aim of laying the roadmap for a global binding agreement on emissions reduction, due to be finalised in 2015… All in all the outcomes of COP18 were disappointing for indigenous peoples as no decisions on the future of REDD+ (and the subsequent impacts from REDD+ on indigenous peoples’ lands and livelihoods) were taken.

Brazilian REDD+ strategy must be defined by November 2013

By Allan de Lima, Celestial Green Ventures Blog, 18 February 2013 | As previously published on our blog, the Brazilian Government must conclude a national Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy this year. According to the latest updates about the topic on the Brazil’s Ministry for Environment (MMA) website, it is estimated that a nationwide REDD+ regulation will be finished by the end of November 2013, in time for the nineteenth United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) on Climate Change, in Warsaw, Poland. Francisco Oliveira, the MMA’s Head of Policies to Fight Deforestation, says that a REDD+ strategy for the country will be fundamental to future international negotiations. “This year we are going to make the difference and go to the next COP in a strong position”, he adds. For the moment, the Brazilian Government is focused on the completion of the legal procedures of this regulation, which will include a public consultation…

[Philippines] Holcim renews alliance with environment group

The Daily Tribune, 18 February 2013 | After the successful first run of a project to help conserve the Davao River watershed, Holcim Philippines renewed its partnership with an environment group. The partnership aims to train an indigenous community in the Marilog uplands on ideal farming techniques to discourage them from timber-poaching. Last month, Holcim Davao signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) to extend by another year the financial support to the Kinaiyahan Foundation Inc. for the training of 40 more Matigsalug families on Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT). The said technique is designed to put less pressure on the remaining forest ecosystem in Marilog, located about 60 kilometers away from the city proper.

19 February 2013

Updated REDD-plus guide

Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development, 19 February 2013 | FIELD’s Guide for REDD-plus negotiators has been updated with advance versions of the Doha Climate Change Conference outcomes.

Climate justice set to dominate UN talks in 2013

By Edward Cameron, Responding to Climate Change, 19 February 2013 | I spent the recent U.N. climate negotiations in Doha trying to reconcile two injustices. The first is captured by Nicholas Stern’s “brutal arithmetic.” This is the simple, unavoidable fact that bold greenhouse gas emissions reductions will be needed from all countries to hold global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, thus preventing climate change’s most dangerous impacts… I spent the recent U.N. climate negotiations in Doha trying to reconcile two injustices. The first is captured by Nicholas Stern’s “brutal arithmetic.” This is the simple, unavoidable fact that bold greenhouse gas emissions reductions will be needed from all countries to hold global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, thus preventing climate change’s most dangerous impacts.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 February 2013 | Indonesia took center stage these last few weeks as both private sector actors and government actors dreamt big on avoided deforestation efforts. The Asia Pulp & Paper company – one of the largest paper producers globally – declared a zero deforestation policy effective February 1st. How this policy might affect the giant’s bottom line – and in turn influence policy implementation – remains to be seen. In East Kalimantan, villagers from 15 communities on the edge of the Kayan Menterang National Park are being trained to adopt alternatives to logging and subsistence forestry, but they must still wait several years before their underlying project to reduce/avoid deforestation (REDD+) – which is being overseen by the local district government and the German government – can bear monetizable carbon credits.

International raid targets illegal timber trade

BBC News, 19 February 2013 | Interpol has announced that it arrested nearly 200 people in a wide-ranging international operation against illegal logging and the trafficking of timber. The three-month effort spanned 12 Central and South American countries, and $8m (£5.2m) worth of timber was seized. Interpol says the illegal logging trade could be worth up to $100bn world-wide. It has also been linked to a rise in murders and corruption, as criminal groups move into remote forest areas. Interpol said officials had checked lorries, ships and containers, as well as retailers and individuals, seizing a total of 50,000 cubic metres, or about 2,000 lorry-loads, of illicit timber. More than 100 people remain under investigation.

China to introduce carbon tax: official

Xinhua, 19 February 2013 | China will proactively introduce a set of new taxation policies designed to preserve the environment, including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, according to a senior official with the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, wrote in an article published on the MOF’s website. It will be the local taxation authority, rather than the environmental protection department, that will collect the taxes. The government is also looking into the possibility of taxing energy-intensive products such as batteries, as well as luxury goods such as aircraft that are not used for public transportation, according to Jia.

Laos: End Silence on ‘Disappeared’ Activist

Human Rights Watch, 19 February 2013 | Lao authorities have failed to provide information on leading social activist Sombath Somphone since his apparent enforced disappearance in December 2012, Human Rights Watch said today. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its human rights commission should intervene in the case with the Lao authorities, who have denied detaining Sombath, and who have not reported his fate or location. “The Lao government’s long silence about Sombath Somphone’s whereabouts increase our concerns for his safety,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The authorities seem more focused on deflecting international criticism than genuinely investigating Sombath’s disappearance.”

[Tanzania] Family planning essential for Africa today

By Sinde Ndwasinde, IPPmedia, 19 February 2013 | The project chose Kilosa District as its project area because MJUMITA and TFCG have been working for several years now in 18 villages establishing community based forest management (CBFM) within a pilot programme for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Efficient charcoal production and a package of support for forest-friendly agriculture is being introduced within the REDD framework. The project will be linking sustainable charcoal production with ongoing REDD (Reducing greenhouse gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries) initiatives. Related support to sustainable agriculture will ensure that soil conservation, fertility improvement and forest protection are promoted. A mechanism is being developed for a cooperative to channel funds from voluntary carbon markets to communities that have voluntary emission reductions (VERs), through their participation in CBFM.

20 February 2013

Plants soaking up carbon pollution: report

AAP, 20 February 2013 | Plants and soils absorbed one third of the carbon pollution released from burning fossil fuels in Australia over the past two decades, a CSIRO study has found. But the report’s main author said this didn’t mean the environment was finding new ways of dealing with man-made climate change, warning the biosphere wouldn’t be able to store excess carbon forever. The three-year study saw scientists put a value on the amount of carbon cycled through the atmosphere from plants and soil “breathing”. During wet years, the Australian landscape "breathes in" more CO2 from the atmosphere than humans put out in greenhouse gas emissions, the report found. But in dry times, the biosphere "breathes out" an amount almost equal to what it absorbs. Scientists found that between 1990 and 2011, 2.2 billion tonnes of carbon was soaked up by plants on average every year, a high rate compared to the rest of the 20th century.

Industry Intelligence Webinar: Forest Health, The Supply Chain And Sustainable Paper Products

GreenBlue press release, 20 February 2013 | Los Angeles-Industry Intelligence Inc., a market intelligence and information management company serving the forest products, packaging, and food and beverage industries, today announced it will offer a webinar with Tom Pollock of GreenBlue on March 6. This presentation will explore how sustainable paper products, forest certification and informed raw material sourcing can positively address climate change, improve soil and water quality, enhance biodiversity and protect and conserve our natural forests. Tom Pollock is a member of GreenBlue’s Forest Products Working Group—a collaboration of 11 corporations across the paper supply chain. In this webinar, Pollock will review the economic factors that influence forest certification, the roadblocks and potential solutions to getting more certified fiber, how the private sector and GreenBlue are working together to achieve sustainable supply chains and how your company can take the next steps…

REDD+ Learning Session 8: Ensuring Social Safeguards in REDD+

WWF, 20 February 2013 | This is an archive of a REDD+ webinar that took place Thursday, February 14th, 2013.

China to Impose Limits on Six Industries to Tackle Air Pollution

By Bloomberg, 20 February 2013 | China will impose emission limits on six polluting industries including coal-fired power plants and steel and petrochemical factories as soon as March 1 to improve air quality in major cities. China “must strictly impose” the limits to improve air quality, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Environmental Protection website today that cited a meeting headed by Minister Zhou Shengxian. Existing plants and new thermal power, steel, oil, cement, metal and chemical projects in 47 cities will have to adhere to the new emission standards, according to the statement.

Is This the End of Indonesian Deforestation?

Rainforest Alliance: The Frog Blog, 20 February 2013 | Early this month, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)—a colossal forestry company that has been broadly criticized for its contribution to deforestation and social conflict in Indonesia—announced a zero deforestation policy that could seriously slow the tide of deforestation in the Southeast Asian country. For more than a decade, global nonprofit organizations including Greenpeace and the Rainforest Alliance have campaigned against APP for its harmful practices and attempted to work with the behemoth to transform its operations.

Kenya: Tea Companies Go Green Through Carbon Finance

UNDP press release, 20 February 2013 | In Kenya’s Nyeri district, several hundred miles north of the capital of Nairobi, energy-intensive tea production employs thousands of farmers and tea-factory workers – and now the industry is beginning to go green. Four factories managed by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) are going green through the ‘Gura project’, which facilitates the use of clean electricity. Named after the nearby Gura river, the project aims to significantly reduce the factories’ carbon footprint while increasing productivity and incomes. Much of the tea-manufacturing process requires electricity – withering, cutting, and drying tea leaves consume the most. Tea production currently produces high emissions and depends, inefficiently, on the national grid.

Myanmar’s Golden Opportunity

By Fred Pearce, Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog, 20 February 2013 | We should cheer the reforms under President Thein Sein, and the country’s opening up to the Western world. This is good news for human rights. But some fear that, unless properly managed, this moment of hope could prove a false dawn, with the freedoms undermined by escalating land grabs and resource extraction, often by Western companies. Land disputes, particularly over existing joint projects with Chinese companies, unleashed the civil unrest that helped trigger the country’s current reforms. In late 2011, after protests from the Kachin people in the mountains of the north, the government suspended construction by the Chinese Power Investment Corporation of the Myitsone mega dam on the River Irrawaddy. The scheme would have supplied power to China, while displacing some 10,000 Kachin.

[Pakistan] Sindh forest dept, UK firm sign pact

Pakistan Press Foundation, 20 February 2013 | Sindh Forest Department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Merlins Wood Limited (UK) here on Tuesday, which will raise and arrange funds worth $8-10 million from various sponsors for the project, REDD +, aimed at developing forest areas. According to an official handout, the MoU was signed by Chief Conservator of Forests Sindh Riaz Ahmed Wagan on behalf of Government of Sindh and Director Merlins Wood Limited (UK) Surreikha Khan in Karachi in the presence of secretary forest & wildlife department and other officials. Under this MoU, the Merlins Wood Limited would develop an emissions reduction programme in the forestry sector of Sindh province. This programme will help conserve, develop and manage the forest areas for the social, economic and ecological welfare of local people and also mitigate the adverse impact of climate change as well as earn carbon credits.

In summary: Overcoming conflicting land-use claims in Peru

By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 February 2013 | Forests in southeastern Peru are threatened by a hodgepodge of overlapping land-use concessions — in part because of imprecise mapping of boundaries and lack of coordination among government agencies that hand out permits. A new Forest and Wildlife Law could help, but it will not take effect until implementing regulations are drafted and approved, a process that is currently under way. Scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research working in the region of Madre de Dios studied and mapped conflicting land-use claims to identify key areas that the regulations should address.

[Zimbabwe] Deforestation on the rise

The Herald, 20 February 2013 | Zimbabwe has lost 4 989 548 hectares of wooded land to various causes inspired by both human and natural factors between 1992 and 2008, an official with the Forestry Commission has said. In an interview on the sidelines of a Regional Workshop on Reduction of Deforestation and Degradation in Kariba last week, Mr Member Mushongahande said Zimbabwe had the highest level of deforestation that was pegged at 1,6 percent per year while Malawi had one percent with Zambia experiencing the least at between 0,3 and 0,4 percent per year. The workshop, dubbed the “Regional Workshop on REDD+ Readiness in Miombo Woodland Countries” drew participants from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The participants sought to find ways of containing deforestation, environmental degradation and strategies of producing and harnessing carbon for commercial purposes in the Miombo eco-region.

21 February 2013

What went wrong in the Global Climate Negotiations?

By Pablo Solon (Focus), Climate Space 2013, 21 February 2013 | In the last 20 years, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world have, instead of declining, increased, by more than a third. In 1990, GHG emissions were 37 Gigatons (Gt) of CO2e. In 2010, they surpassed 50 GtCO2e. At this rate, if business-as-usual continues, global emissions can reach 58 GtCO2e by 2020, which would be a catastrophe for humanity and nature. How much will they decrease with the agreements of Cancun, Durban and Doha? Following the current scenario, the agreements will only succeed to decrease GHG emissions to 57 GtCO2e by 2020. This means that with the UNFCCC outcomes, projected emissions will only be 1 GtCO2e lower than the business-as-usual level. In other words, global emissions will, instead of decreasing, increase by 7Gt CO2e annually until 2020.

REDD+ and People

By Duncan Gromko, Natural Capital, 21 February 2013 | The head of the World Bank’s forest carbon division, Benoit Bosquet, recently wrote about the organization’s efforts to include indigenous people in REDD+. REDD+ has gotten a lot of criticism for favoring governments and big corporations at the expense of local, forest-dependent people. To their credit, the World Bank has made a concerted effort to include these people in the decision-making process. According to Bosquet: "Indigenous Peoples have turned from critics of REDD+ to critical actors for REDD+." … Unfortunately, there are several potential problems with REDD+ implementation…

Controversial palm oil project concession in Cameroon is 89 percent ‘dense natural forest’

By Jeremy Hance,, 21 February 2013 | Satellite mapping and aerial surveys have revealed that a controversial palm oil concession in Cameroon is almost entirely covered by “dense natural forest,” according to a new report by Greenpeace. The activist group alleges that the concession, owned by Herakles Farms, is under 89 percent forest cover. The U.S.-based corporation intends to build a 70,000 hectare palm oil plantation in a region surrounded by four protected areas, including Korup National Park, but has faced stiff criticism from numerous environmental groups as well as conflict with locals. “The project would remove land and resources that are critical to the livelihoods of local communities and would disastrously impact biodiversity as well as produce millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions,” the Greenpeace report, Herkales Farm in Cameroon: A showcase in bad palm oil production, reads.

China’s Going to Tax Carbon: That’ll Hit Half the Coal Plants in the World

By Brian Merchant, Motherboard, 21 February 2013 | China, the world’s second largest economy, and number one worldwide polluter of greenhouse gases, has announced that it is instating a carbon tax. Yes, China. The country that currently consumes half the planet’s coal. (Coal, of course, is pure carbon.) … China is also considering taxing high-emissions sectors like air travel. The People’s Republic is also going to raise coal taxes. This is huge. In the climate policy arena, it’s downright ginormogantic. We’ll have to wait to scrutinize the details, but the proposal alone is momentous: Half the coal plants in the world, taxed in favor of environmentally-preferable energy sources. And listen: Hear that? That is the sound of the Republicans’ seemingly indefatigable go-to argument against pricing carbon evaporating before their eyes.

Activists warn of industrial palm oil expansion in Congo rainforest

By Jeremy Hance,, 21 February 2013 | Industrial oil palm plantations are spreading from Malaysia and Indonesia to the Congo raising fears about deforestation and social conflict. A new report by The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK), dramatically entitled The Seeds of Destruction, announces that new palm oil plantations in the Congo rainforest will soon increase fivefold to half a million hectares, an area nearly the size of Delaware. But conservationists warn that by ignoring the lessons of palm oil in Southeast Asia, this trend could be disastrous for the region’s forests, wildlife, and people. "Governments of Congo Basin countries have handed out vast tracts of rainforest for the development of palm oil with apparently little or no attention to the likely impacts on the environment or on people dependent on the forest," Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, said.

[Indonesia] Kutai Barat: between low carbon development and demand for 7% of economic growth

WWF, 21 February 2013 | WWF-Indonesia has been developing carbon project under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism. One of four REDD+ pilot projects in the Heart of Borneo is in Kutai Barat District in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. REL (Reference Emission Level) development is the first important step in REDD+ scheme. You need to know reference level from which you would start to count emission reduction you have achieved. REL determines level of emission happened in the absence of REDD+ activities. REL is used to measure the effectiveness of an REDD+ project, it estimates carbon stock in the forests and level of emission reduction should be achieved in order to maintain the stock.

[USA] Experts Look Ahead to California REDD

By Selene Castillo, Ecosystem Marketplace, 21 February 2013 | In November 2010, the Governors of California, Chiapas and Acre – all members of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) – signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote collaborative efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Through the MOU, the REDD+ Offset Working Group (ROW) was created February 2011, tasking 11 technical experts with providing guidance on the policy, legal framework and performance standards participating governments should consider regarding the recognition of REDD-based offsets in California’s recently launched cap-and-trade program. One year later, the ROW releases its draft recommendations, presenting a number of architectural options for REDD+ in California’s program, and – of equal importance – a sign that REDD+ inclusion is possible.

22 February 2013

[Australia] Carbon credits present new forestry opportunities

ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 22 February 2013 | A private company that develops reafforestation projects to earn carbon credits says the newly approved Reforestation and Afforestation Methodology opens the way for valuable forestry projects in Tasmania. CO2 Australia Director, Dr James Bulinski, says projects worth millions of dollars now have the go ahead. The much awaited Reforestation and Afforestation Methodology was approved by the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency just weeks ago, giving the go ahead for registering projects and earning Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU’s) to trade under the Australian Carbon Pricing Mechanism. CO2 Australia developed the first privately developed methodology in the forest sector to reach the Determination stage and the first to apply in-field carbon accounting approaches.

Deforestation, wetlands loss in Brazil and Indonesia generated 45b tons of CO2 in 20 years

By Rhett A. Butler,, 22 February 2013 | The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a global set of statistics on carbon emissions from deforestation, agriculture and other forms of land use for the 1990-2010 period. The dataset, which is part of the FAO’s database of statistics known as FAOSTAT, is based on FAO estimates of forest biomass, deforestation, and crop cover. The data is listed by country and region. Unsurprisingly, the FAOSTAT GHG dataset shows that high deforestation countries generated the most emissions from forest loss over the 20-year period. Net forest conversion in Brazil released 25.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) between 1990 and 2010. Indonesia (13.1 billion tons), Nigeria (3.8 billion tons), Democratic Republic of the Congo (3 billion tons), and Venezuela (2.6 billion tons) rounded out the top five among emitters, according to the system.

EU carbon emissions trading system survives key vote, 22 February 2013 | The beleaguered EU carbon emissions trading system survived a key vote in the European Parliament this week, in which MEPs agreed to "backloading." The Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, ENVI, voted by a substantial margin Tuesday to endorse the European Commission’s call to backload, or withhold, 900 million tons of carbon allowances that were set to be auctioned for the 2013-15 period. The total — amounting to about one-quarter of the planned auction — would be backloaded into the 2019-20 period in a bid to prop up record-low prices, which had plunged to less than $4 per ton of carbon equivalent. Analysts said a negative vote from ENVI could have spelled doom for the trading scheme, which has languished as the financial crisis and resulting slump in European industrial activity has dampened demand for the allowances.

Latin America’s forests – what lies ahead in 2013?

By Barbara Fraser, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 February 2013 | One way to encourage countries to protect their forests is to compensate them for reducing deforestation and forest degradation. So many observers were disappointed that no real progress was made on that incentive – known as REDD+ — at the U.N. climate talks in Doha in December. Questions remain about international guidelines for REDD+ in areas such as monitoring and verification, financing and safeguards. Despite those international stumbling blocks, however, some countries are moving ahead with local or national REDD+ projects, testing different models for creating conservation incentives. “Many are already successfully tackling deforestation with the help of REDD+. Much is already being achieved independently of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and in the absence of an international climate agreement,” Louis Verchot, CIFOR Director of Forest and Environment Research, said after the Doha talks.

U.S. offers airspace-based emissions regime

By Valerie Volcovici and Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 22 February 2013 | A U.S. proposal for curbing aircraft emissions would exclude time spent flying over international waters, an approach that some environmental groups say is too timid in addressing the rise in greenhouse gasses from the aviation sector. The proposal, seen by Reuters, would cover just a quarter of aviation emissions, according to some estimates, and is in sharp contrast to a European Union law that would require all airlines to pay a carbon fee for the entire flight if departing or arriving at EU airports. A high-level group of negotiators is trying to develop a global plan to address aviation emissions and will meet again next month in talks sponsored by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations body.

International REDD+ negotiator to lead WWF REDD+ policy work

WWF, 22 February 2013 | Josefina Braña Varela, former Director of Climate Change and Negotiations with the International Affairs and Financing office of the National Forest Commission of Mexico (CONAFOR), has been named REDD+ Policy Director of WWF’s global Forest and Climate Initiative (FCI). Varela will lead WWF’s efforts at the global level to influence REDD+ policy and finance developments, as well as to provide direct technical assistance to WWF offices in key tropical forest landscapes working to design and implement REDD+ at scale. “WWF’s Forest and Climate Initiative is excited to welcome Josefina Braña Varela to our team,” said Bruce Cabarle, FCI Leader. “The high caliber of her global REDD+ policy expertise will strengthen WWF’s efforts to support the development and financing of a REDD+ mechanism that benefits people and nature.”

23 February 2013

Air trade: Can trade restrictions be justified on environmental grounds?

The Economist, 23 February 2013 | Carbon markets look green around the gills. The price of carbon on Europe’s emissions-trading system, the world’s biggest, has slumped. Barack Obama’s hope of getting a cap-and-trade proposal through Congress seems as distant as ever. There is no sign of action in places like India and Brazil. But it is easy to forget how far carbon markets have come. They exist or are on their way in Europe, Australia, California, China and South Korea. One day, carbon prices will vary greatly between countries. When they do, those with higher carbon prices will be at a competitive disadvantage because the cost of emitting carbon will be embodied in the overall price of goods, raising them relative to goods produced in countries with no or low carbon prices. A new study by Aaditya Mattoo of the World Bank and Arvind Subramanian of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank in Washington, DC, looks at how big this disadvantage might be.

Inspiring Practice: Development of the Amazonian Indigenous REDD+ Proposal

WWF, 23 February 2013 | This Inspiring Practice is part of a series designed to share REDD+ lessons learned, so that they may be replicated by others for their own REDD+ work. This factsheet highlights lessons learned through the process of developing the Amazonian Indigenous REDD+ Proposal.

Ecuador’s president vows to push large-scale mining despite indigenous protest

AFP, 23 February 2013 | Ecuador’s re-elected President Rafael Correa said Saturday he will push large-scale mining projects during his next four years in office, despite opposition from some indigenous groups. “The Ecuadoran people have voted to responsibly take advantage of non-renewable resources,” said in a weekly address on his administration’s activities. Correa, a socialist, said his goal was to use the country’s mining and oil wealth to eliminate poverty and said he was committed to “the Amazonian people and all the areas where there is mining or oil.” A year ago, Correa’s government signed a contract with the Chinese company Ecuacorriente to mine copper in the Amazon basin province of Zamora-Chinchipe, in a major move to open the country to large-scale mining. The country’s largest indigenous organization opposed the deal, however, and with the backing of opposition groups led a two-week-long protest march from the Amazon to Quito.

[UK] Carbon credit 20% profit boast from MH Carbon Limited that went up in smoke

By Tony Hetherington, Mail on Sunday, 23 February 2013 | I have yet to see any ordinary investor make a penny from trading in carbon credits, and I am afraid you are not going to be the first – though I do have some good news for you. MH Carbon, based in the City of London, is run by its sole director Jeffrey Razaq, so I asked him whether it was true you were first told your credits were showing a 20 per cent profit, with a promise of more to come, yet suddenly they could not be sold at all. He told me he had bought the company on November 14 last year, and that the broker who dealt with you had already left by then. There was no record of what you had been told, he said. Well, I asked, what about the idea that the Government was going to force companies to buy carbon credits from investors like you? Razaq came up with an announcement made last June, but he had the honesty to admit that all this does is make major companies report their greenhouse gas emissions.

24 February 2013

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