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REDD in the news: 27 May – 2 June 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.

UN-REDD Newsletter 38

UN-REDD Programme, May 2013 | Mongolia’s Forest Sector is Good Value for Money. First Regional Workshop on Tree Allometric Equations in Africa. Establishing a National Greenhouse Gas Inventory System in Ecuador. Ecuador Hosts First Regional Workshop on National Forest Monitoring Systems. Mexico Consults FAO Experts to Enhance its Forests Monitoring and Reporting Through Better Image Processing Techniques. UN-REDD Photo Contest Nurture Forests for the Future – REDD+ for Food. UN-REDD Photo Contest Nurture Forests for the Future – REDD+ for Food. The Triple Bottom Line: Making the Case to Link REDD+ and Green Economy. Launch of National Forest Monitoring Systems: Monitoring and Measurement, Reporting and Verification (M & MRV) in the Context of REDD+ Activities. New Report on Forest Related Trade Opportunities in a Green Economy. Two New Go-REDD+ Issues from UN-REDD in Asia-Pacific.

UNFCCC SBSTA & SBI: Bonn – 3-14 June 2013

WWF, June 2013 | The38th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 38) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 38), as well as the second part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-2) will be held from 3-14 June 2013 in Bonn, Germany. WWF calls on Parties to achieve an integrated, ambitious package of REDD+ elements. Deforestation and forest degradation contribute significantly to global carbon emissions. For this reason, realization of an effective REDD+ mechanism must be a significant part of a global climate solution. It is therefore imperative that REDD+ design elements are finalized and a clear mechanism to support REDD+ is defined, otherwise, limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C will be impossible.

New Focali Brief: Guyana-Norway REDD+ agreement – Payments based on performance – or politics?

By Sabine Henders and Madelene Ostwald, Focali, May 2013 | The second audit of Guyana’s progress under the Norway-Guyana REDD+ agreement was completed in December 2012. It found that seven out of ten verification indicators were not or only partially met. Nevertheless, the Norwegian government allocated additional funds of 45 million USD to Guyana due to “continued improvements”. Focali has written about the debated bilateral agreement between Norway and Guyana earlier (Focali Brief 2010:01 & 2011:01) and is now revisiting the process in this Brief.

Systematic inventory of REDD+ training in three regions and indications of gaps in coverage

Organization for Tropical Studies, May 2013 | Capacity building for REDD+ has consistently and frequently been cited as a key need by both REDD+ countries and donors, even since before UNFCC COP13 in Bali when REDD+ was formally entered the global climate change mitigation debate. The complexity of REDD+, and the wide range of stakeholders that must contribute to the design of the REDD+ mechanism, made it clear that the success of REDD+ would depend on extensive capacity building efforts. In recent years, governments and private sources committed large amounts for capacity building, but few efforts have been made to characterize the training that actually reaches the ground.

27 May 2013

Q+A: Sharing REDD+ “benefits”

By Adinda Hasan, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 May 2013 | International efforts to reduce forest loss and degradation through the U.N.-backed REDD+ scheme are poised to see significant benefits flow to forest-rich developing countries. But the latest study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) suggests that such benefits may not be distributed in ways that are fair and socially inclusive. CIFOR’s project on REDD+ Benefit Sharing: Opportunities and Challenges in Developing Countries aims to improve the way REDD+ benefits are distributed to help ensure the scheme is equitable, efficient and effective. “Our preliminary analysis looking at existing benefit sharing models in 13 REDD+ pilot countries including Brazil, Indonesia and Tanzania, has found that there are trade offs between being completely efficient and equitable and that these depend on the different approaches to benefit sharing,” said Grace Wong, CIFOR senior scientist…

Harnessing the Congo’s rivers to save its forests

By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 27 May 2013 | It’s not the timber trade, agricultural expansion or mining that currently poses the greatest threat to tropical forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but the demand for energy — something that could be addressed by harnessing the country’s rivers, according to new research. Floribert Nyamwoga, co-author of the new study (in French) that examines the potential of international programs aimed at slowing forest loss and degradation (REDD+), says that an estimated 80 to 90 percent of the country’s domestic energy needs – supplied in the form of fuelwood and charcoal – can be tied to household cooking, he said. “It is very difficult to consider stopping deforestation here without talking about energy issues,” said Nyamwoga, a researcher with the Kinshasa-based Council for the Defense of the Environment through Legality and Traceability (CODELT).

Panamanians reject UN forest plan

By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, 27 May 2013 | Indigenous people in Panama are asking the United Nations to close down its global forestry programme, REDD, in their country… The demand, by the National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (Coonapip), will test a provision of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which says they have the right to refuse projects and investments which affect their natural resources. “When it comes to the forests of Panama, we are not mere stakeholders to be consulted”, said Betanio Chiquidama, president of Coonapip and cacique (chief) of a reserve that is home to more than 33,000 people in the east of the country.

[Tanzania] Lindi villagers threaten to fight over REDD money

By Waryoba Yankami,, 27 May 2013 | The government has been called to resolve land quarrels between two villages of Muungano and Milola Magharibi in Lindi District after their residents threatened to fight each other over benefits from forests. Speaking to The Guardian in Lindi recently, the villagers said their land disputes erupted after the Tanzania Community Forest Conservation Network (TCFCN) introduced a project on forest conservation in the area. The misunderstanding came to the surface after the organisers of the project announced that the village that will conserve a large area of the forest will get more money for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). Nangaru Ward Chairperson Yusuph Masoud said Muungano and Milola villages were disputing for a land boundary of about 50 ha so as to add it to either side in order to receive more money from REDD. Each village vowed that it was not ready to lose the land.

28 May 2013

Press Conference on Preparations for 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

UN, 28 May 2013 | The panellists responded to a number of questions, including one about whether the issue of “REDD+” (initiatives going beyond reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation ‑ REDD ‑ to include the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) would be addressed at the World Conference, and what position indigenous groups would take on the matter. Ms. Carling replied that she had been involved in REDD+ negotiations and they included both social and environmental safeguards. While aware of the controversies surrounding the programme, she respected opinions on both sides of the issue. The most important position was that of forest-dependent indigenous groups, who should themselves clarify it. “What matters is that their rights […] their dignity […] and their livelihoods are respected.”

Investigative Reporting from the United Nations

By Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press, 28 May 2013 | Joan Carling said that REDD Plus is, in fact, popular in Cambodia. Inner City Press cited opposition in Panama. She said it varies from place to place, depending on how it impacts indigenous people. She said it should be up to them, and not to NGOs which claim to work with them, "imposing their ideological views." Chief Ed John went further, citing Keystone, tar sands, the Exxon Valdes, BP and the Gulf of Mexico. He said his people in Canada still "take their fish" and are impacted by these policies.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 May 2013 | Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace invites you to take part as we launch our findings at two events celebrating the release of Maneuvering the Mosaic, our 2013 State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report. This year’s launch event in Barcelona will be hosted by Forest Carbon Group and the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) at CARBON EXPO 2013 – an event we expect will attract players from all corners of the voluntary carbon markets.

The other side of the climate story

By James Tansey, Vancouver Sun, 28 May 2013 | Our concerns about climate change have focused on limiting rising emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which push carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We don’t focus as much on land-use change, and for a country like Canada, with a vast land base, it is time to take seriously the opportunity to look at forest carbon reserves in Canada and beyond… James Tansey is co-founder and CEO of carbon-offset company Offsetters, associate professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia and executive director of ISIS, a research centre at UBC dedicated to social innovation and sustainability.

Gold standard expands: new quality label for forest climate projects, 28 May 2013 | For years, the ForestFinance Group, based in Bonn, Germany, has successfully implemented projects according to the CarbonFix Standard under the brand CO2OL. Now, the Gold Standard Foundation has extended its original renewable energy and energy efficiency project scope into land-use and forests and acquired the CarbonFix Standard which will form a core part of “Gold Standard version 3.0”. However, this will have no effect on the strict quality criteria that had to be met by CarbonFix projects: these will also be applied to Gold Standard projects. Projects such as the forest climate protection project „CO2OL Tropical Mix“ that have been validated and verified according to the CarbonFix Standard will therefore become so-called “Transition Projects” that will now be managed by the Gold Standard. CarbonFix and Gold Standard guarantee additionality of carbon forest projects.

[Australia] Doubts over Coalition plan to cut emissions

By Tom Arup, The Border Mail, 28 May 2013 | Storing carbon dioxide in soil and plants will deliver less than five per cent of the emissions cuts assumed under the Coalition’s direct action climate change policy, according to government estimates. Climate change department officials told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday night that soil carbon and revegetation projects are currently expected to deliver just 3.7 million tonnes a year of emissions cuts by 2020. Labor says these new estimates blow a hole in the Coalition’s direct action climate change policy, which suggested up to 85 million tonnes per year of carbon dioxide cuts could come from soil carbon projects alone by the end of the decade.

[Canada] Grassy Narrows looking to take case to Supreme Court

By Shawn Bell, Wawatay News, 28 May 2013 | Lawyers for Grassy Narrows First Nation have asked for leave to take the community’s legal fight over clear-cut logging to the Supreme Court of Canada. The move towards the Supreme Court comes after Grassy Narrows first won its court case against Ontario in 2011, and then had the ruling overturned by Ontario’s court of appeal earlier this year. “Grassy Narrows is determined to protect its treaty rights and to protect the integrity of our lands,” said Chief Simon Forbister in a press release. “Justice Sanderson made the right decision when she held the governments to the agreement they made with our people in 1873. We were gravely disappointed when the Court of Appeal disagreed. We hope that the Supreme Court of Canada will agree to hear our appeal and restore the trial judgment.”

EU Lawmakers Seek Limits on Carbon Fix Should Block Attempt Fail

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 28 May 2013 | Lawmakers from the biggest group in the European Parliament are seeking to restrict a proposed carbon-market fix should their attempt to block the stopgap measure fail, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News. The European Union may delay the sales of no more than 900 million carbon allowances to reduce oversupply in the EU emissions-trading system and may intervene only once until 2020, according to an amendment to the carbon-market rescue plan proposed by three members of the European People’s Party.

[Guyana] Questions abound over mega investments by Bai Shan Lin

Kaieteur News, 28 May 2013 | The Government is keeping closed, the arrangements it has with Chinese company, Bai Shan Lin, which has announced massive investment plans here. The company has been granted a forestry concession that amounts to close to one million hectares of rainforest, from which it plans to extract logs and ship them out of Guyana. The company estimates that it will make US$1,800 from each hectare of land, giving it profits totaling US$1.7 billion… Those plans were announced even before Guyana knew of it. The country became aware of what was happening only when Bai Shan Lin officials visited Guyana and held discussions with President Donald Ramotar and other Government officials. Strange enough, Mr. Chu Wenze named President Ramotar, former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Ministers Robert Persaud and Irfaan Ali, along with Ambassador to China, David Dabydeen, as part of its promotion team.

Mangrove conservation pays off for Kenya’s coastal communities

By James Karuga, Reuters, 28 May 2013 | When Kahindi Charo gathered 30 of his friends to replant mangroves in the 32 square km (12 square mile) Mida Creek area, people in his village of Dabaso in Kilifi County dismissed them as crazy idlers. Charo recalls that back then, in 2000, the creek had suffered badly from unregulated harvesting that had left the area bare, with rotting stumps and patches of old mangrove trees. Today, Mida Creek, about 60 km (38 miles) north of Mombasa, flourishes with dense mangrove plantations that provide a habitat for birds, fish and crabs. There is also a boardwalk leading to a 12-seat eco-restaurant perched beside the Indian Ocean.

REDD Carbon Offset Project in Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park Earns Double Validation and Verification from SCS Global Services

SCS press release, 28 May 2013 | A "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)" carbon offset project in Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park has earned independent validation under two internationally recognized standards based on assessments conducted by third-party verifier SCS Global Services. The project, which will protect more than 1,300,000 hectares of tropical forests from deforestation, also achieved verification status under one of these standards. The validations, issued under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard at the Gold level for Exceptional Biodiversity Benefits and under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), confirm that the carbon offset project as designed will successfully store carbon by curbing deforestation. The project was simultaneously verified under the VCS standard, proving that the project has been effectively implemented and can support carbon credits in the growing carbon market.

29 May 2013

World Bank Maps Carbon Pricing Initiatives, Recommends Gradual Development

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 29 May 2013 | The World Bank has released a report, titled ‘Mapping Carbon Pricing Initiatives: Developments and Prospects,’ which provides an overview of current and prospective carbon pricing initiatives at the international, regional, national and sub-national levels. The report recommends flexibility in carbon pricing, alignment with national priorities, a staged approach for the introduction of new initiatives, and carefully timing the construction of linkages between emissions trading schemes. The report finds that initiatives for carbon pricing, such as cap-and-trade systems and carbon taxes, have been developed or have started to develop in over 40 national and 20 sub-national jurisdictions. It calculates that all these initiatives originate in countries that together account for about 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

EU Carbon Price Expectations Plunge 47% in a Year, IETA Says

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 29 May 2013 | European Union carbon price expectations through 2020 have fallen 47 percent since last year, the International Emissions Trading Association said. Prices will average 10 euros ($13) a metric ton in the period, according to an IETA survey of 73 members, the lobby group that includes EON AG and BP Plc (BP/) said in an e-mailed statement. That compares with 19 euros a ton last year, Jeff Swartz, international policy director at Geneva-based IETA, said yesterday by phone. EU carbon fell 50 percent in the past year as regulators struggled to deal with a glut in the market, the world’s biggest by traded volume. An agreement by United Nations envoys in December to extend the Kyoto Protocol and cap emissions for another eight years until 2020 at climate-protection talks in December in Doha failed to bolster demand, Dirk Forrister, president of IETA, said in the statement.

New forestry investment fund launched

KMS Baltics, 29 May 2013 | A new fund has been announced that will focus on investment in forestry assets across Europe. The ForestCare Investment Fund is set to be launched by Diapason Commodities Management, which is a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment initiative and as such follows the guidelines relating to fiduciary duty… Related derivatives and other investment opportunities within the forestry sector will also be considered, including biodiversity credits, carbon credits and REDD credits, which relate to efforts to mitigate the effects of deforestation. Mark McDonnell, managing director of Diapason Commodities Management, said: "ForestCare is a completely new way of approaching investment in forestry and with our approach to biodiversity in forests this investment opportunity has forest sustainability at its core."

The invisible extinction of forest genetic resources: Can trees survive?

By Valerie Gwinner, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 May 2013 | Trees are the oldest and largest beings in the world, living for hundreds, even thousands, of years. But the secret to their longevity – their genetic diversity – is under threat, experts say. “Trees are highly diverse genetically,” said Laura Snook of Bioversity International during her keynote presentation at CIFOR’s Sustainable forest management in Central Africa conference in Yaoundé. “They contain not only the traits to survive the tests of time, but also the seeds for producing the next generation of trees.” “But their genetic resources are undergoing an invisible extinction,” she warned. Snook’s calculations put the total number of trees being removed in the Congo Basin each year, through both formal and informal sectors, at 4 million. Heavy harvesting has left some species very vulnerable, or even endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

Farmers need stronger rights and incentives to preserve trees on farms in Africa: study

By Barbara Fraser, Reuters, 29 May 2013 | Some farmers in Ghana kill saplings on their land over fears their food crops will one day get damaged by loggers who come to clear the trees. And in Cameroon, while communal forests can generate up to 50 times more income than what they did under state control, almost none of that money goes to families or toward roads, schools and other projects that benefit the community as a whole. Studies published in a special issue of the journal Conservation and Society say despite reforms designed to promote community-managed forests in Africa, local people often have little incentive to preserve them. Giving stronger rights to the resources on their lands is only part of the solution, the authors say: Countries must also ensure that there are tangible benefits for those involved in protection and management.

Q&A: What’s behind the lag in climate-related finance in Central Africa?

By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 May 2013 | Most Central African countries have been unable to access climate funds—and, according to experts, donors are “skeptical” about the countries’ ability to meet requirements on accounting, internal control and external oversight. Preliminary findings from a case study report on Cameroon were presented by Kirsten Hegener of the German cooperation agency GIZ in a panel discussion on climate funding for Central Africa, part of an international conference organized by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The findings showed that Cameroon is not ready to access climate finance, as climate change is not yet taken into account in the country’s guiding vision and national development strategy. Good financing governance criteria also need to be met by the public finance management system, Hegener added.

Brazil’s treatment of its indigenous people violates their rights

By Fiona Watson, The Guardian, 29 May 2013 | These are challenging times if you happen to be an indigenous inhabitant of South America’s largest democracy. Not since the dark days of Brazil’s military dictatorship, when the indigenous people were regarded as "obstacles to progress" and their lands were opened to massive development schemes, have they faced such an assault on their rights. The fortuitous discovery of the landmark Figueiredo report, which documented appalling crimes against Brazil’s tribal peoples during the 1940s, 50s and 60s and led to the creation of the tribal rights organisation Survival International in 1969, has re-ignited debate, and serves as a warning at a time when the denial of land rights and killing of indigenous people continues.

Indonesian villagers think their land tenure is stronger than it actually is – study

By Reuben Carder, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 29 May 2013 | A sample of Indonesian villagers describe their land tenure as strong and secure, a perception that appears to be at odds with reality, a study from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) reports. In 2010, researchers from CIFOR interviewed residents of 20 villages in Sumatra and Kalimantan about whether they felt they had secure tenure over the land they used. “The households expressed strong conviction that their tenure is secure, but they are relying largely on customary rights and legally weak land documents,” said Daju Resosudarmo, lead author of the study, Does tenure security lead to REDD+ effectiveness? Reflections from Five Emerging Sites in Indonesia. “We found that, contrary to their perceptions, villagers’ forest tenure is actually fragile. They do not really have the ability to exclude outsiders from their land or to enforce rules at the village level,” she added.

[Indonesia] Govt to revoke concessions in customary forests

By Prodita Sabarini, Jakarta Post, 29 May 2013 | The government has said it will revoke business permits it has given to companies operating in customary forests after the Constitutional Court annulled its ownership of customary forests. Forestry Ministry’s secretary general, Hadi Daryanto, said on Monday that the government would rescind all plantation and mining concessions that have been granted to businesses in customary forests that have been legally recognized by the local administrations. “We’ll get them [businesses] out. Even if there’s a concession for HTI [industrial forest permits] or HPH [production forest concessions] as long as there’s a bylaw then the businesses will have to leave,” Hadi said. However, as of now, no regional administration has issued a bylaw on customary forests…

Look who isn’t talking now: REDD+ information flows in Indonesia

By Adinda Hasan, Reuters, 29 May 2013 | The REDD+ policy process in Indonesia is not fulfilling its promise of greater participation and inclusiveness, says a new infobrief by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). This is despite the fact that, more than any other policy issue in Indonesia, REDD+ has attracted and involved a multitude of diverse actors outside the government, including NGOs, donors and the private sector. REDD+, a global mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, has been adopted in Indonesia as an opportunity for improving forest governance. “Given the amount of interest and participation that REDD+ has evoked among multiple stakeholders, it is disappointing to discover that there is a lack of information exchange and collaboration between them, which are vital for the effectiveness of REDD+,” said Moira Moeliono, CIFOR scientist and lead author of REDD+ policy networks in Indonesia.

World Organization Warns Forests Disappearing in Paraguay

Prensa Latina, 29 May 2013 | A global environmental organization warned that at current rates, deforestation will remove the significant existing forests of eastern Paraguay in five to ten years from now. The alarming warning was made by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and its representative in Paraguay, Lucy Aquino, who said that ongoing satellite study of the indiscriminate felling provide support for the claim. With five million members, the WWF is composed of a network of 27 national and five partner organizations, as well as 22 offices of programs that work in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Switzerland. The uncontrolled felling affects the entire eastern region and even the so-called Atlantic Forest, in the department of Alto Paraná, extending into Brazilian territory. Between March and May this year alone, deforestation of 2,400 hectares was shown in the department of Amambay and another 300 in the Department of Caazapa, although those numbers may be higher.

30 May 2013

Land-based carbon offsets: False hope? Forest and soil carbon is important, but does not offset fossil fuel emissions

ScienceDaily, 30 May 2013 | Leading world climate change experts have thrown cold water on the idea that planting trees can offset carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Professor Brendan Mackey of Griffith University Climate Change Response Program is the lead author of an international study involving researchers from Australia and the U.K. Their findings are reported in "Untangling the confusion around land carbon science and climate change mitigation policy," published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change. "While protecting and restoring natural forests is part of the solution, the reality is that for all practical purposes fossil fuel CO2 emissions are irreversible," Professor Mackey said. The findings highlight the urgent need for policy-makers worldwide to re-think the issue as many decision-makers, national and internationally, assume that fossil fuel emissions can be offset through sequestering carbon by planting trees and other land management practices.

Market for REDD+ carbon credits declines 8% in 2012, 30 May 2013 | The market for carbon credits generated from projects that reduce deforestation and forest degradation — a climate change mitigation approach known as REDD+ — dipped eight percent in 2012 according to an annual assessment of the global voluntary carbon market. The report, published by Ecosystem Marketplace and Bloomberg New Energy Finance and slated to be released next month, found that overall demand for voluntary carbon credits rose four percent in 2012, with buyers offsetting 101 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Buyers paid $523 million for those credits, or 11 percent less than they spent in 2011. The average price per ton of carbon dioxide emitted fell five percent from $6.20 to $5.90.

Maneuvering the Mosaic: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013

Forest Trends, 30 May 2013 | Voluntary demand for carbon offsetting grew 4% in 2012, when buyers committed more than $523 million to offset 101 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Private sector buyers flocked to offsets earned by planting trees, saving tropical forests, or distributing clean cookstoves in the developing world, according to this year’s State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets report, released by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace this week in Barcelona, Spain. The European private sector, including regulated energy utilities, was the market’s biggest voluntary buyer – seeing demand grow 34% to 43.4 million tonnes of offsets even in the face of significant challenges to Europe’s mandatory carbon market. Across the pond, United States-based corporations, ranging from The Walt Disney Company to Chevrolet, offset more emissions than buyers in any other single country at 28.7 million tonnes.

REDD+ projects fighting an uphill battle on tenure – study

By Reuben Carder, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 30 May 2013 | Land conflicts between palm oil companies and communities in Indonesia. Squatters with no documentation of land rights in Brazil. Local leaders exploiting customary practices to gain favors in Tanzania. Encroachment into a national park by an agro-industrial company in Cameroon. Unclear rights to carbon in Vietnam. These are just a few of the many complex land tenure issues that proponents of REDD+ projects around the world are working hard to address. But their best efforts alone may not be enough to resolve tenure security, according to a study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “In most cases, proponents are trying to resolve at the local level tenure challenges whose origins and scope are well beyond the boundaries of the project,” said CIFOR’s William Sunderlin, lead author of the paper “How are REDD+ proponents addressing tenure problems?”.

[Brazil] Indigenous carbon conservation project to start selling credits, 30 May 2013 | The Surui Forest Carbon Project is the first indigenous-led REDD+ project in the world. REDD+ generates carbon credits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Globally, forest conversion and diminishment accounts for around ten percent of carbon emissions. Chief Almir Suruí, a Suruí leader who conceived the project in 2007, said the project is could serve as a model for sustainable development by indigenous people elsewhere. “REDD+ is a mechanism that unites our values and those of the non-indigenous capitalist world,” Almir said in a statement. “This is our contribution to forest preservation, but projects like this can only be achieved by people with a medium- to long-term perspective.”

[India] Award credits for planting trees, says Welspun

Economic Times, 30 May 2013 | In an innovative plan to increase forest cover, Welspun Energy, India’s biggest developer of solar projects, has proposed that private firms planting trees should be awarded credits similar to tradable carbon credits. According to Welspun, private sector should be involved to reforest and maintain degraded forest land patches. These organisations in turn should then be rewarded with an economic instrument — Grow Forest Certificate (GFC) which is similar to the tradable Certified Emission Reduction (CER). GFCs should be awarded by the local governments after scrutinising and evaluating the redevelopment of the forest lands over a period of five years, based on the state of the forest. The idea was presented by Welspun at a workshop it organised with the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) and Forest Research Institute Dehradun (FRI) at Dehradun.

Indonesia Goes Green to the Dismay of Palm Oil Producers

By Bruce Einhorn, Yoga Rusmana, and Eko Listiyorini, Businessweek, 30 May 2013 | Indonesian industry isn’t happy with the government’s ban. “We will lose the momentum,” says Joko Supriyono, secretary general of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association. Already, plantation owners such as Malaysia’s Sime Darby are looking to less regulated countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Some environmentalists aren’t totally satisfied either. According to Yuyun Indradi of Greenpeace Indonesia, banning new plantations on primary rain forest isn’t enough, because planters can still clear secondary-growth forest. A more comprehensive ban “is what’s really needed,” he says. The bottom line: Indonesia is moving to address multinationals’ concerns about the destruction of rain forests for palm oil plantations.

Indonesia extends logging moratorium, but questions remain

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Reuters, 30 May 2013 | Activists have lauded a decision by Indonesia’s president to extend a moratorium on new logging licenses, calling it a historic move in the struggle to save the country’s forests and cut carbon emissions. But some experts say the new policy doesn’t go far enough and will do little to fix Indonesia’s chaotic forest management. On May 13, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a new presidential instruction, known as the Forest and Peat Land Moratorium. It seeks to protect primary forest and peat land — both major stores of carbon — by suspending the issuing of any new forest-clearing permits. The two-year moratorium, which serves as an extension of a previous presidential instruction which expired on May 20, is directed at various governmental officials including the ministers of forestry and home affairs and the head of geo-spatial information as well as all of the country’s governors and mayors.

[UAE] The Middle East’s Latest Scam: Carbon Credits

By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy, 30 May 2013 | One company is now attracting suspicion: Dubai-based Advanced Global Trading, headed by Charles Stephenson, a British salesman who had spent the last decade working for a company specialising in audio-visual digital displays, Balfour Group. AGT promised investors 30% returns and “for a minimum investment of $25K you too can invest in Carbon and make a difference,” the company said on its website. But, last week, clients were contacted by AGT and informed that the voluntary credit market was about to crash from $15.85 per credit (AGT’s value) to $3, and that there was an exit strategy to sell all credits to a third party high end investor. In return clients would receive Strategic Earth Metals (SEMs), or Rare Earth Metals which are widely known to also be used by conmen as part of similar scams.

[UK] Dodgy carbon credit company terminated by the Insolvency Service, 30 May 2013 | Carvier Limited, a London-based company that marketed carbon credits to the public – and is linked with Tullett Brown Limited and Foxstone Carr Limited, both previously shut down for being rip-off merchants – has been wound up following an investigation by the Insolvency Service. The company’s now defunct website described its business as a “carbon reduction and management services provider”. The website offered the public the opportunity to purchase carbon credits packages from Brazil to off-set carbon footprints… Welcoming the Court’s winding up decision, Company Investigations Supervisor at the Insolvency Service, Chris Mayhew said: “We will investigate abuses and close down companies if they are found to be operating or about to operate against the public interest. If any investor has been contacted by this company the Official Receiver now handling its affairs will be glad to receive details of its dealings with you”.

31 May 2013

Bonn delegates to tackle impasse over REDD+ climate change negotiations

By Fawziah Selamat, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 31 May 2013 | Negotiators attending a U.N. climate change conference next week are expected to propose setting up a REDD+ governing body, which could help provide a solution to how countries monitor, report and verify successful emissions reductions. It would also determine how financial support would be disbursed. REDD+ is a mechanism that channels money to developing countries to encourage the adoption of policies and practices that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. But progress stalled last December in Doha due to a failure by countries to agree on how REDD+ would be monitored and verified for success, which is linked to how countries would be compensated for their achievements.

Global carbon markets characterised by ups and downs

By Vivan Nereim, The National, 31 May 2013 | The unregulated voluntary market makes up a tiny percentage of carbon markets worldwide. While the voluntary market is characterised by one-off deals, markets such as the EU’s have a standardised product that is traded on an exchange, said Konrad Hanschmidt, head of carbon markets analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Market players can watch the price tick up or down by the second. The EU market has suffered recently, however. The average price for EU allowances fell from double digits in 2011 to just €3.75 (Dh17.96) recently, according to data from Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. Meanwhile, United Nations-backed carbon credits, called Certified Emissions Reductions, are trading for less than €0.50, having fallen 99 per cent since 2008.

[Australia] The business of saving the planet

By Steve Colquhoun, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May 2013 | Dorjee Sun is both an optimist and realist when it comes to attempts to save the world’s rainforests and their inhabitants from being ravaged. The chief executive of the Carbon Conservation organisation knows the forces of profit and demand are arrayed against his team’s efforts to protect endangered and highly sensitive ecosystems, and that the carbon credits system that was supposed to assist isn’t doing so. "We aren’t going to change the system we currently have, so we have to play within the parameters of that system," he says… However, with the virtual collapse of the carbon trading market during the 2008 global financial crisis, another plan was needed. A deal was struck with a gold mining company to hand over 1 per cent of the forest to mining in return for saving 99 per cent for conservation. "After we did that deal we did receive a lot of criticism … but we had to do it. No regrets," Sun says.

[Australia] Time to give up on Gillard’s carbon price

By Tristan Edis, Business Spectator, 31 May 2013 | Amongst those who have invested blood, sweat, tears and money to get action on carbon emissions there is a great deal of emotional attachment to Australia’s carbon trading scheme. For many the prospect of a Tony Abbott repeal represents the unwinding of decades of hard work. But it’s time to move on. European carbon prices are not expected to rise above €10 ($A13.50) prior to 2020, according to a recent survey of banks, manufacturers and power generators by Reuters Point Carbon. Given Australia’s carbon price is likely to be determined by the EU carbon market (or worse UN carbon credits at 55 cents a pop), it’s time to start thinking about whether such a scheme is worth the emotional attachment. A carbon price out to 2020 of $13.50 is so low that we need to actually begin to think about the unthinkable – new coal-fired power stations.

[Brazil] Amazonian People First to Earn Carbon Credits after Proving They Saved Endangered Rainforest

Forest Trends press release, 31 May 2013 | Four years ago, the indigenous Paiter Suruí of the Brazilian Amazon voted to shift the basis of their economic livelihoods away from logging and other activities that require bulldozing the forest towards activities that conserve it. To make up for lost income, they sought to earn credit for the carbon captured in trees under a mechanism known as REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, plus sustainable forest management). Last week, an independent audit confirmed they had become the first indigenous people in the world to generate REDD+ credits under the rigorous criteria of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), which requires detailed validation and verification procedures. Their success can now be replicated by other indigenous people, who have long been among the most effective stewards of the land and play a key role on the front lines of combatting climate change.

Brazil police shoot Indians – more violence feared

Survival International, 31 May 2013 | Police in southern Brazil yesterday killed a Terena Indian and wounded several others while violently evicting them from their land. Members of the tribe had returned to live on part of their ancestral territory currently occupied by a rancher who is also a local politician. Elsewhere in Brazil, an eviction order was served on Kayapó, Arara, Munduruku, Xipaya and Juruna Indians occupying the controversial Belo Monte dam site. Armed police have surrounded the protesters and tensions are rising amid fears that there will be similar violence. Munduruku Indians are also protesting construction of a dam on the Tapajós river. One Munduruku was shot dead when police invaded a community last November. Paygomuyatpu Munduruku said, ‘The government is preparing a tragedy. We will not leave here. The government has ignored us, offended us, humiliated us and assassinated us… They are killing us because we are against the dams.’

[Canada] CVRD finds way to slash spending on carbon credits

By Philip Round, Comox Valley Echo, 31 May 2013 | Comox Valley Regional District has found a way to avoid spending thousands of dollars on faraway ‘carbon credits’ to compensate for its corporate contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Because it is a signatory to the provincial government’s B.C. Climate Action Charter, CVRD staff had calculated the authority needed to budget $51,000 to buy credits and help fund specific projects to reduce its own carbon emissions… Now staff have confirmed they can buy the 2,123 tonnes of carbon offsets they need by contributing $4,246 to the Someshwara run-of-river hydro power plant in India.

EU denies climate policy hinges on German election

By John Parnell, RTCC Climate Change News, 31 May 2013 | The EU’s climate and energy policy will not be swayed by the result of this year’s German election its lead climate negotiator has told RTCC. This is despite warnings from a German NGO that the removal of Berlin’s support would hamstring efforts in the EU to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. Europe is debating its climate and energy framework for 2030. The strength of the EU’s stance is an important input to the UN climate change negotiations. The talks are at a delicate and crucial juncture. “As Europe has currently started the discussion about its future energy and climate policy, the upcoming elections are decisive,” said Christoph Bals, policy director of Germanwatch. “The current discussion about the backloading proposal to reform the EU emission trading scheme has shown that a progressive EU policy is not possible without German support.”

World’s largest REDD project finally approved in Indonesia, 31 May 2013 | Rimba Raya, the world’s largest REDD+ project, has finally been approved by the Indonesian government and verified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), a leading certification standard for carbon credits. The 64,000-hectare forest carbon project in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan Province on the island of Borneo is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 119 million tons over its 30-year life-span. The emissions reductions will come from avoiding drainage of area’s carbon dense peatlands and conversion of its forests to oil palm plantations. According to SCS Global Services, the auditor that verified the project’s carbon accounting, Rimba Raya reduced emissions by 2.1 million tons between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010, resulting in the largest-ever number of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) generated in a single year.

[Indonesia] Tenure security and economic interest add up to REDD+ effectiveness – study

By Reuben Carder, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 31 May 2013 | Local communities must have secure tenure rights if they are to manage forests to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation — but they also need an interest in doing so, a study in Indonesia has found. “Tenure security is a necessary condition for REDD+, but it’s not sufficient by itself,” said Daju Resosudarmo, scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and lead author of the paper Does tenure security lead to REDD+ effectiveness? Reflections from Five Emerging Sites in Indonesia recently published in World Development. “First, people need to know if they will have the right to claim the benefits from REDD+. But even then, if REDD+ can’t compete economically with activities that emit greenhouse gases, then people are not likely to be interested in it,” she added.

[Nepal] 112 community forest users’ groups rewarded, 31 May 2013 | A total of 112 community forest users’ groups (CFUGs) in Chitwan, Dolakha and Gorkha districts have been rewarded a total of US $ 95,000 for mitigating carbon dioxide emissions by employing effective forest conservation and management measures. These CFUGs were awarded similar amount in 2011 and 2012 as well.

[New Zealand] Kids Plant Community Forest to Offset Carbon Debt

Forests For Health New Zealand press release, 31 May 2013 | Marking World Environment Day, Wednesday 5th June, pupils from Bellevue School will gather at a new carbon forest site to plant manuka trees as part of the ‘Forests For Health New Zealand’ initiative led by OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council and the Sustainable Business Network. Local school kids will join with health workers and community to plant the first trees of a native forest that will regenerate wasted scrubland. The site, Waihinahina Park, adjoins the local marae, Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi, who are partners in the project… This initiative, created in collaboration with the Sustainable Business Network and the ‘Trees for Survival’ trust, allows health professionals to pay online to offset their carbon emissions from unavoidable air travel, road travel, and electricity use.

UAE investors of carbon credits struggle to find buyers

By Vivian Nereim, The National, 31 May 2013 | Investors have been advised to be wary of dealing in carbon credits after a local company experienced difficulty reselling them. The company touts carbon credits as a green investment and as a means of making a high profit. However, experts in the market say they can have little to no resale value. Advanced Global Trading (AGT) claims it can resell carbon credits at more than three times the average market price. But one AGT client, "Ahmed", has been unable to sell credits worth US$100,000 (Dh367,200) despite initial statements from the company that he could liquidate his investment in one week, he said. Instead, Ahmed – not his real name – has waited four months for AGT to find a buyer. "The likelihood for him to sell them for any monetary worth is probably zero," said Andrew Ager, a carbon-markets consultant in the United Kingdom.

1 June 2013

2 June 2013

Interview: Tara O’Shea, Code REDD

By Nick Aster, Triple Pundit, 2 June 2013 | Code REDD is a non-profit organization working to empower marginalized communities, preserve forests, and protect endangered wildlife – all while reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The organization created market-based solutions that prevent the destruction of forest land and other biodiversity hotspots using the United Nations’ mechanism to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). At this year’s Global Reporting Initiative conference, I talked to Tara O’Shea from Code REDD about how sustainability reporting can benefit forest preservation by enabling working with projects such as Code REDD.

Amazonian People Prove They Saved Endangered Rainforest, Become First To Generate REDD Credits

Ecosystem Marketplace, 2 June 2013 | Four years ago, the indigenous Paiter Suruí of the Brazilian Amazon voted to shift the basis of their economic livelihoods away from logging and other activities that require bulldozing the forest and towards activities that conserve it. To finance the shift, they sought to earn credit for the carbon captured in trees under a mechanism known as REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, plus sustainable forest management). Last week, an independent audit confirmed they had become the first indigenous people in the world to generate REDD+ credits under the rigorous criteria of the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), which requires detailed validation and verification procedures. Their success can now be replicated by other indigenous people, who have long been among the most effective stewards of the land and play a key role on the front lines of combatting climate change.


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