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REDD in the news: 22-28 April 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.

Protecting carbon to destroy forests: land enclosures and REDD+

Eldis, April 2013 | This paper argues that REDD+ will not stop forest destruction developing countries and the underlying causes of deforestation remain untouched. The paper suggests that because REDD+ is embedded in the logic that environmental destruction in one location can be ‘compensated’ in another, it acts to reinforce the underlying drivers of deforestation and climate change. It also gives forest destroyers a way to legitimise their actions as environmentally ‘friendly’ or ‘carbon neutral’. The paper continues that far from positioning itself as an ally to the many local groups that have preserved forested lands most strongly, REDD+ tends to silence debates about the unjust realities surrounding corporate pressures on land tenure regimes. The paper aims to provide a historical background and experiences on the ground in order to further the argument that because land and nature enclosures are central to its operation, REDD+ cannot be fixed.

CIF Calls for Proposals that Involve the Private Sector in REDD+ and Climate Resilience

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), April 2013 | The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) is calling for proposals to enhance the involvement of the private sector under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) and the Forest Investment Program (FIP). PPCR distributes US$70 million to stimulate innovative programmes and projects enabling the private sector to reduce countries’ exposure to climate risk and uncertainty, while FIP distributes over US$50 million to engage the private sector in REDD+. With respect to the PPCR, selected proposals are required to be aligned with the objectives of the endorsed Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (SPCR) of one of the following countries or regions: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tajikistan, Tonga, Yemen, Zambia, and the Pacific or Caribbean.

Video films and presentations from SLU-Global seminar about REDD+

Focali, April 2013 | The seminar was held at SLU in Uppsala and moderated by Anders Malmer from SLU Global. Speakers at the seminar: Hans Nilsagård (Swedish Ministry of Rural Affairs), Lars Gunnar Marklund (FAO Central America), Daniela Kleinschmit and Sara Holmgren (SLU). View the video films from the presentations and the final discussion here. Full seminar title: "The development of forest land use in climate mitigation and specifically REDD+&quot.

Workshop on Linking Local REDD+ Projects to National REDD+ Strategies

The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, April 2013 | A workshop on “Linking Local REDD+ Projects to National REDD+ Strategies” will be held in Hawassa, Ethiopia, from April 29 – May 1, 2013, in collaboration with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise (OFWE) and Farm Africa. The objective of the workshop is to foster a dialogue among policy makers, practitioners, civil society organizations and private sector in Africa and beyond on the design of national REDD+ strategies and the role of ongoing in-country initiatives targeted at reducing deforestation and forest degradation. About 70 experts from 13 countries are expected to attend the workshop to share their experiences. Six local and subnational REDD+ projects and programs will be presented as case studies for the in-depth discussion.

22 April 2013

This faith in the markets is misplaced: only governments can save our living planet

By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 22 April 2013 | Last week the European emissions trading system died. It was supposed to create a market for carbon, whose escalating price would force companies to abandon fossil fuels and replace them with less polluting alternatives. In principle it was as good a mechanism as any other. What it did not offer was a magical alternative to political intervention. The scheme collapsed on Tuesday after the European parliament voted against an emergency withdrawal of some of the carbon permits whose over-supply had swamped the market. Why were too many permits issued? Because of the lobbying power of big business. Why did MEPs refuse to withdraw them? Because of the lobbying power of big business. If a market is to serve a wider social goal than simply maximising corporate profits it must operate within a tight regulatory framework. Pricing mechanisms do not magic away the need for regulation – if anything, they enhance it.

To Reclaim Our Future, We Must Change the Present. Our Proposal for Changing the System and not the Climate

Climate Space, 22 April 2013 | While there will still be a battle inside the international UN climate negotiations, the main battlegrounds will be outside and will be rooted in the places where there are frontline struggles against the fossil fuel industry, industrial agriculture, deforestation, industrial pollution, carbon offsets schemes, and REDD-type carbon offsets projects, all resulting in land and water grabbing and displacements taking place all over the world… REDD, like Clean Development Mechanisms, is not a solution to climate change and is a new form of colonialism. In defense of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and the environment, we reject REDD+ and the grabbing of the forests, farmlands, soils, mangroves, marine algae and oceans of the world which act as sponges for greenhouse gas pollution. REDD and its potential expansion constitutes a worldwide counter-agrarian reform which perverts and twists the task of growing food into a process of “farming carbon”…

REDD Talks Aim For Substance On Otherwise Fluffy Earth Day

Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 April 2013 | Wildlife Works Carbon llc and the Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire (CSR Wire) are using Earth Day to try and educate leading executives and the media about REDD+ with their "REDD Talks", taking place today in Sausalito, California. Speakers include IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, Latin American indigenous leader Juan-Carlos Jintiach, Kenyan Women’s Group Leader Mama Mercy, and executives from Puma and Microsoft, as well as Ecosystem Marketplace co-director Molly Peters-Stanley. All presentations will be filmed and later distributed to CSRwire’s 8,000+ Members.

A new tool against illegal logging: tree DNA technology goes mainstream

By Tanya Dimitrova,, 22 April 2013 | Modern DNA technology offers a unique opportunity: you could pinpoint the origin of your table at home and track down if the trees it was made from were illegally obtained. Each wooden piece of furniture comes with a hidden natural barcode that can tell its story from a sapling in a forest all the way to your living room. "CSI rely on use of genetic info for catching criminals. Exactly the same type of analysis is used for illegal logging," explains Andrew Lowe, a professor in plant conservation biology in University of Adelaide, Australia and Chief Scientific Officer with Double Helix, a company leading in the development of the tree DNA tracking.

UNFCCC Publishes Recommendations on Possible Changes for the CDM

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 22 April 2013 | The UNFCCC Secretariat has released an information note on the recommendations of the Executive Board (EB) of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) on possible changes to the modalities and procedures of the CDM (FCCC/SBI/2013/INF.1). The document contains recommendations prepared by the CDM EB for consideration by the 38th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 38). It includes recommendations related to general issues, governance, accreditation, project cycle and methodologies. They are based on the experience built by the Board, as well as different stakeholders, and includes reflections of current practices. The document was prepared upon a request form the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 8).

[Indonesia] Forest-dwelling Borneo children foresee grim times ahead – study

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 April 2013 | Children living in the Indonesian forests of Borneo island portray a bleak image of the future, according to preliminary findings on environmental perceptions revealed by a researcher at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Drawings by almost 250 children between the ages of nine and 15 living in the provinces of East and West Kalimantan consistently depict a future environment characterized by mostly non-forest landscapes with animals either non-existent or corralled into small areas. “The children had a clarity of vision of land cover and land-use change we would normally expect to be higher among adults, not children,” said scientist Anne-Sophie Pellier. “Interestingly, the further removed their present landscape is from the original natural forest landscape, the more environmental change they expect in the future.”

[Indonesia] Samsung Admits Using Forest-Trashing Tin

The Economic Voice, 22 April 2013 | Samsung Electronics has admitted for the first time that it uses tin in its products that’s destroying tropical forests, killing coral and wrecking the lives of communities in Indonesia, Friends of the Earth reveals today (Monday 22 April 2013). The world’s best-selling smartphone brand has committed to urgent action to tackle the problem following pressure from the environment charity and more than 15,000 individuals. This was prompted by the charity’s investigation into the devastation caused by mining for tin – an essential component in all electronic items – on Indonesia’s Bangka island. Friends of the Earth welcomes the move but warns it will be maintaining pressure on Samsung to ensure action for Bangka. It is also calling on the tech giant to back new laws in Europe to help and require all companies to reveal the full human and environmental impacts of their operations.

23 April 2013

While 1% of Global GDP Would Be Enough to Fix Climate Change, IMF Says that World Spends 2.7% on Energy Subsidies Each Year

By Wolfgang Sterk, Scrapbook of a Climate Hawk, 23 April 2013 | Prof. Schellnhuber last week showed IPCC results according to which the 2°C target can be met by investing 1% of global GPD annually if action starts before 2020. The International Monetary Fund recently published a report (summary presentation here) showing that the world is currently spending 2.7% of GPD on energy subsidies each year, a whopping US$ 1.9 trillion, most of which to the benefit of fossil fuels. So lack of money rather seems not to be the issue. And according to the IMF just removing these subsidies could reduce CO2 emissions by 13%.

Can EU climate leadership survive next round of UN talks?

By Joseph Curtin, RTCC – Climate change news, 23 April 2013 | International climate negotiations are now ratcheting up after something of a post-Durban hiatus. A UNFCCC Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action will be hosted in Bonn, between 29 April and 3 May 2013. The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action sets in motion a process – to be completed by 2015 – with the ultimate objective of delivering a top down legally binding emissions reduction agreement to cover all countries (and the EU), applying from 2020. Has the EU approach to international climate negotiations evolved after its failure in Copenhagen, and its modest success at Durban? Hints are provided by a consultative paper launched on 26 March, which opens the debate within the EU on the shape of a new agreement.

Clinging to a climate of optimism

By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 23 April 2013 | It never rains, but it pours. It really has been a pretty depressing few days for anyone who cares about the fight against the existential threat that is climate change. As a self-avowed New Environmentalist I am naturally optimistic about mankind’s ability to respond to the many environmental challenges we face – the countless green success stories I write about every day make it impossible to be anything but. And yet, while I remain positive that a sustainable economy can be built, I have to admit that my optimism has been dented over the past few days. I dare say you are feeling much the same way, it has been that kind of week. To recap, first up Bloomberg New Energy Finance confirmed that global investment in clean energy fell during the last quarter. Yes, clean energy capacity is continuing to increase at a rapid clip and there are plenty of reasons why a short term slowdown in investment does not constitute a crisis for the sector.

Experiment aims to steep rainforest in carbon dioxide

By Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 23 April 2013 | One of the wild cards in climate change is the fate of the Amazon rainforest. Will it shrivel as the region dries in a warming climate? Or will it grow even faster as the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere spurs photosynthesis and allows plants to use water more efficiently? A dying rainforest could release gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating warming; a CO2-fertilized forest could have the opposite effect, sucking up carbon and putting the brakes on climate change. Climate modellers trying to build carbon fertilization into their forecasts have had precious few data to go on. “The number one question is, how will tropical forests react if we put more CO2 into the atmosphere?” says Carlos Nobre, a climate scientist who heads research programmes at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Brasilia. “We don’t know.”

Frontrunners show the way how to make sustainable forestry business work

Tropenbos International, 23 April 2013 | “Front runner companies show us the way”, says Herman Savenije of Tropenbos International, who presented the main findings of ETFRN News 54 publication entitled Good Business: Making Private Investments Work for Tropical Forests. “They have identified sustainable forest management as a new future market and business opportunity and see sustainability not only as a core corporate value and responsibility, but also as a business asset and effective risk mitigation strategy”. The many examples in the publication illustrate the way forward, including the hurdles to overcome. To make money flow to sustainable businesses, foremost the proper enabling climate needs to be set up; multi-actor national forest financing strategies be developed; front runners be incentivized, and coalitions and partnerships be facilitated. Key is to bridge the current disconnects between the finance and forestry worlds and between public and private sectors.

Can rural women also have it all? Voices of “elite women” important for truly oppressed

By Carol Colfer, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 April 2013 | As an anthropologist who has lived and worked with rural peoples throughout the forests of the world for over 40 years, a fair amount of my professional attention has been focused on the lives of women in tropical forests. These experiences have convinced me that these women are not so very different from elite women. Forest women take pride in their productive work, and they struggle with their desire to better look after their children – what we call “work-life balance”. For over a year, I lived with Uma’ Jalan Kenyah women in the remote center of Borneo. When introduced to birth control, they quickly grasped the potential to time births when husbands were present (their men often left in short-term search of cash), and to reduce the time spent nursing their children, thus freeing them for their central productive role: providing their families with rice.

[Indonesia] Forestry Ministry to reopen log export market to boost price

By Anggi M. Lubis, Jakarta Post, 23 April 2013 | The Forestry Ministry is deliberating the reopening of the export market for logs after a request from the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires (APHI), which complained about the current low price of logs and the limited markets available. Logs from industrial forests are currently priced at US$30 per cubic meter — compared to the regional price of $80 per cubic meter — as local production only circulates in the domestic market, making the price uncompetitive. Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto said on Monday that the ministry would set up an international market for logs from industrial forests to boost the price, but added that “everything would have to be discussed first with related stakeholders”. “The development of industrial forests is sluggish due to the low price; therefore, we need to open the markets to elevate it,” Hadi told reporters.

Worldwide protests demand protection for Peru’s uncontacted tribes

Survival International, 23 April 2013 | Survival International supporters held worldwide protests outside Peruvian embassies and consulates in London, San Francisco, Berlin, Madrid and Paris today, calling for an end to the deadly expansion of the Camisea gas project in Peru’s Amazon rainforest. Camisea threatens the lives of uncontacted Indians. Protesters in London and Madrid, dressed as gas workers with masks and helmets, carried placards symbolizing the lethal effects of the Camisea project. The protesters handed oil canisters filled with the names of 120,000 people to the Peruvian embassies and consulates, asking Peru’s President to stop outsiders and companies from invading uncontacted tribes’ land. Peru’s government is on the brink of approving a huge expansion of the notorious Camisea gas project which would penetrate further into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve, home to several uncontacted and isolated tribes.

24 April 2013

Figueres: Time for World Bank coal investment to end

TckTckTck, 24 April 2013 | Top UN climate change official Christiana Figueres said that it is ‘no longer necessary’ for the World Bank to rely on coal in its energy projects, saying that the organization should now focus on bringing alternative energy sources forward. Figureres commended World Bank Director Jim Yong Kim on his commitment to climate action and acknowledged that coal has understandably played an important role in past energy development projects. She went on to say, however, that it is time for the World Bank to move on from coal.

Why is Reuters puzzled by global warming’s acceleration?

By Dana Nuccitelli, The Guardian, 24 April 2013 | There are periods when the ocean heats up more quickly than the surface, and other periods when the surface heats up more quickly than the oceans. Right now we’re in a period of fast ocean warming and overall, global warming is continuing at a very fast pace. The confusion on this subject lies in the fact that only about 2 percent of global warming is used in heating air, whereas about 90 percent of global warming goes into heating the oceans (the rest heats ice and land masses). But humans live at the Earth’s surface, and thus we tend to focus on surface temperatures. Over the past 10–15 years, Earth’s surface temperature has continued to rise, but slowly. At the same time, the warming of the oceans – and the warming of the Earth as a whole – has accelerated.

UN Carbon Emission Credits Drop to Record 1 Cent as EU Ban Nears

By Alessandro Vitelli, Bloomberg, 24 April 2013 | Prices for United Nations carbon offsets fell to the lowest ever as a ban on the use of some credits approached and as factories and power stations surrendered permits and credits to cover emissions in 2012. Certified Emission Reductions, or CERs, for next-day delivery fell 86 percent to 1 euro cent ($0.01) a metric ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contracts have plunged from 19 cents at the start of the year amid a surplus of permits in Europe, where the region’s recession has cut demand. Offsets representing reductions of hydrofluorocarbon-23 and nitrous oxide, known as grey CERs, will become ineligible for compliance in the EU emissions trading system after April 30. The credits, which make up 54 percent of the 1.3 billion of offsets issued since the market started in 2005, will only be eligible for use by developed country governments meeting emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

China agrees to stop manufacturing super-warming chemicals

RTCC – Climate change news, 24 April 2013 | China has agreed to end the production of industrial hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) by 2030. The chemicals deplete the ozone layer and create a very potent greenhouse gas during production meaning that the phase out could save the equivalent of eight billion tonnes of CO2. Although they have shorter lifetimes than CO2, their effect on warming in the near term is significant. $385 million from a Montreal Protocol fund will be used to phase out the production of HCFCs in China, the country produces 97% of all the HCFCs in the developing world. The productions process also creates HFC-23, which is 14,800 times more potent than CO2 at warming the atmosphere. It is sometimes destroyed and sometime vented into the atmosphere.

[Guyana] Pact signed for US$65,000 forest law enforcement programme

Stabroek News, 24 April 2013 | The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) yesterday launched a US$65,000 Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Programme (FLEGT) Support Programme which may enable timber traders to expand to new international markets.

[Indonesia] Powerful film, posters spark lasting dialogue over future of local forests

By Andrea Booth, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 24 April 2013 | A study that aimed to protect the interests of forest dwellers by measuring the value of biodiversity and improving communications with policymakers has had a profound impact due to an innovative public awareness campaign, scientists have said. The Multidisciplinary Landscape Assessment (MLA) was launched in 2000 by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in the remote Malinau area of Borneo’s East Kalimantan province and has since been used elsewhere in Indonesia as well as in Bolivia, Philippines, Vietnam and several African countries. “We wanted to help stakeholders understand more about how local people interact with their landscapes and the importance of certain forest products and values – about what happens to local livelihoods if these forests, products and values disappear and how these people will adapt,” said Imam Basuki, a scientist at CIFOR.

[Indonesia] Forest Ministry Pushes to Continue Deforestation Moratorium, House Pushes Back

Sawitwatch, 24 April 2013 | Indonesian lawmakers threatened on Friday to freeze the budget for reforestation projects if President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono continued the nation’s deforestation moratorium until 2014. Yudhoyono issued last year a two-year moratorium on new forestry permits for peat and primary forests after the Norwegian government promised $1 billion in conservation assistance. To receive the funds Indonesia has to provide verifiable proof that it has reduced deforestation rates in a nation where more than a million hectares of forests are cut down annually. The bulk of the money won’t be paid until Indonesia can prove reforestation efforts have made an impact. But the promise of funds was not enough for United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker Romahurmuzy. The head of the House of Representatives forestry and agriculture commission said Indonesia was losing too much money setting up reforestation projects when it could be issuing more permits for palm oil plantations.

[Indonesia] Gapki says ‘no’ to moratorium extension

By Anggi M. Lubis, Jakarta Post, 24 April 2013 | The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) has opposed the government’s plan to prolong a two-year forest moratorium, slated to end in May, saying that such an extension would only hamper the expansion of the country’s palm oil sector. Indonesia, through Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011, had set a two-year moratorium to halt the commercial use of a total 65.2 million hectares of primary forests and peatland in an attempt to curtail deforestation and reduce greenhouse gases. The moratorium, which resulted from an Indonesia–Norway bilateral agreement with a US$1 billion potential carbon transaction, will expire on May 20. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has declared the moratorium a success, saying that the move has slowed the country’s deforestation rate to 450 hectares per year during 2010-2011 from 3.5 million hectares per year in the period of 1999-2002.

UK CO2 emissions rising, government advisers warn

By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 24 April 2013 | A new report has laid bare the UK’s pretensions to have cut greenhouse gas emissions over recent years. Ministers have claimed global leadership in reducing CO2 emissions and urged other nations to follow suit. But the official Climate Change Committee (CCC) said that the UK’s total contribution towards heating the climate has actually increased. This is because the UK is importing goods that produce CO2 in other countries. The UK has been cutting emissions at home, but it has been importing more goods from other countries, pushing up CO2 emissions there. The UK is second highest importer in the world of these so-called "embodied" emissions. Each individual in the UK is responsible for double the imported emissions of someone in Germany, which has kept its manufacturing base.

[USA] Linkage Approval Boosts Cap-and-Trade Momentum

By Erica Morehouse, EDF, 24 April 2013 | Don’t look now, but California’s cap-and-trade program is going global. With California Air Resources Board (CARB) approving linkage between California and Quebec’s cap-and-trade programs today, these two programs will now be able to trade emissions allowances across borders starting in 2014. CARB’s action comes on the heels of California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent decision to approve the linkage, which will increase the size of California’s cap-and-trade market by 20 percent. More importantly, linkage will boost California’s clean energy economy by creating a broader market for innovative, low-carbon technologies. The linkage is also a shot in the arm for global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and it sends a positive signal to other jurisdictions that are working on building their own carbon markets and might ultimately seek to join with California and Quebec.

25 April 2013

Small farmers hold the key to tackling climate change

By Frank Rijsberman (CGIAR), Reuters, 25 April 2013 | As a lifelong scientist I have attended climate change meetings for over 30 years. Our aim was to convince scientists and policymakers to take climate change seriously. The message was: ‘Take action now, to leave a better world for your grandchildren.’ In the past, many of my colleagues working in development were not convinced – poor and hungry people cannot afford to worry about climate change. Such was the conventional wisdom. The conference on “Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice” that I attended in Dublin this month has shown a hugely significant development. Finally, grassroots activists, smallholder farmers, pastoralists and fishermen are being given a voice and placed at the centre of climate change discussions.

A step by step guide to making maps of vegetation carbon stocks

By Ed Michard, Deforestationwatch, 25 April 2013 | I’ve just come back from leading a training workshop in Accra, Ghana, as part of the Building Carbon Bridges across Africa project. For me this was a very useful and informative workshop, and I hope very much that the 12 participants from African government ministries and forestry departments learned some useful new skills. I’m writing this blog post to share some of the training I conducted in that workshop more widely… Building Carbon Bridges was funded by the Clinton Climate Initiative and run by Ghana’s Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) in partnership with the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Learning Session 10: Tools for capturing and sharing REDD+ lessons learned

WWF, 25 April 2013 | This is an archive of this webinar that took place Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

Bolivia: TIPNIS Road On Hold Until Extreme Poverty Eliminated

By Emily Achtenberg, North American Congress on Latin America, 25 April 2013 | Bolivian President Evo Morales has promised to eliminate extreme poverty in the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), before taking any further steps to design, fund, and build the controversial highway that would bisect the reserve. The decision is expected to put the highway on hold for three years, until the end of 2015. The surprise announcement comes as lowlands indigenous groups and their supporters continue to challenge the highway on a variety of fronts, and as Bolivia gears up for the 2014 presidential elections. Morales is again the declared candidate of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, notwithstanding the current controversy over whether a third presidential term is constitutionally permissible.

[Indonesia] With or without moratorium, RI forests still under threat

By Nadya Natahadibrata, Jakarta Post, 25 April 2013 | The Forestry Ministry has failed to show its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation despite its support for the extension of the moratorium on forest clearance, activists claim. They accuse the ministry of getting around the moratorium by rezoning forest areas into non-forest areas through spatial planning bylaws and ministerial decrees. Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto has said that the ministry would approve the new spatial planning bylaw proposed by the Aceh administration that allows for conversion of protected forests into non-forest zones. Data from the Coalition of Aceh Rainforest Movements shows that the new spatial planning would allow the conversion of around 1.2 million hectares of Aceh’s existing 3.78 million hectares of protected forest into non-forest areas.

[Indonesia] How rogue palm oil producers are getting away with forest destruction

By Wirendro Sumargo, Greenpeace, 25 April 2013 | It always amazes me how the actions – or rather inaction – of high-level meetings in far-off cities can so seriously impact forests in my own country. Today, an organisation with the declared aim of ensuring environmentally responsible palm oil production – the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – will be voting on new rules for its members – mostly palm oil producers, traders and consumers. It’s a big day for the organisation, because for the first time, members will be deciding whether or not to introduce rules on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and clearance on peatlands – which are massive stores of carbon. The process looked promising last year, but the final proposal is weak. Unfortunately, the new Principles and Criteria (P&C) that will likely be passed do not enforce anything. Instead, the new principles “strongly encourage” that members “commit to a process” to reduce GHG emissions.

[USA] Carbon tax on the table in the Senate

By Stephen Stromberg, Washington Post, 25 April 2013 | For years it’s been obvious in policy-wonk circles that a carbon tax is a great idea. But it’s been even more obvious that the policy is politically toxic. Yet — and I almost don’t want to point this out, in case publicizing it prompts lawmakers to run away as fast as they can — taxing carbon and some other excellent ideas that have been under-appreciated in Washington are now officially on the table in the Senate Finance Committee.

26 April 2013

[Indonesia] 20,000 condemn Aceh deforestation

Jakarta Post, 26 April 2013 | An online petition against forest clearance in Aceh has the support of 20,000 netizens. As of Friday, the petition at, had drawn 20,200 signatories both from Indonesia and abroad. A team led by Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan is currently discussing the forest conversion proposals. The government via the ministry’s secretary general, Hadi Daryanto, denies that it has given approval for the conversion of 1.2 million hectares of protected areas stipulated in the draft Aceh spatial planning bylaw. A signatory to the petition, Muhammad Fathahillah Zuhri, said, “Tanah Naggroe is not our ‘endatu’ (ancestor)’s heritage. It belongs to future generations and we have to protect its balance.” Kadek Wahyu Adi Pratama said, “The forest is our future. There are so many lives that depend on forests. They are human beings, animals, plants, and many more.”

Standing Up: Guyana and Norway Partner to Keep Trees Standing

By Mindy Lubber, Forbes, 26 April 2013 | Where this starts to get interesting is that Guyana has embarked on a long-term commitment to a “Low Carbon Development Strategy” (LCDS) whereby it will avoid tropical deforestation and degradation, create low-carbon infrastructure such as hydro-electric power plants, and provide its people with the tools they need to succeed without plundering the nation’s vast ecological and natural resources… Guyana has been able to do what few developing forested countries have done – resist the economic forces to cut their natural resources for cash (something that would provide development, but would be a sustainability disaster for both their land and our climate). They’ve kept more than 99.5 percent of their trees vertical and their forests healthy… It’s a win-win. The world gets closer to stopping runaway climate change while countries like Guyana can develop what President Jagdeo calls “new economies” – built on inclusive green growth.

Indonesia’s REDD+ pilot province: how is it faring two years on?

By Yogita Tahilramani, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 April 2013 | When Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono selected Central Kalimantan as the pilot province for his country’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) program, it was widely hoped some of the region’s grave environmental issues — such as large expanses of threatened peatlands and high forest conversion rates — would be addressed. Two years on, it seems many of the same challenges remain, prompting some policy makers and conservationists to name the province a ‘matter of priority’ for the Indonesian government. Central Kalimantan and Riau were the two provinces in the sprawling tropical nation at risk of releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere due to their large number of deep, carbon-rich peatlands, said Daniel Murdiyarso, senior scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

27 April 2013

28 April 2013

The European Commission and its sinking climate flagship policy, the EU ETS, wins the Climaxi Greenwash Awards

Scrap the EU-ETS, 28 April 2013 | The EU ETS has been making headlines for the past weeks due to failed attempts to raise the carbon prices. On Saturday 20th April, the EU ETS came first place at Climaxi’s Greenwash competition with a big majority, taking 46% of the votes (545 votes). The Greenwash awards, organised by Belgian activist group Climaxi, is meant for organisations or companies who in spite of the green image they cultivate, promote activities which are far from sustainable. The nomination was submitted by Carbon Trade Watch, Corporate Europe Observatory and FERN, groups part of the Time to Scrap de ETS campaign, arguing that the ETS needs to be exposed for what it is, a subsidy for the worst polluters that the EU Commission is using to avoid effective climate policies. In addition, the Commission is irresponsibly expanding the scheme to other regions and to other areas of nature.

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