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REDD in the news: 24-30 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.

Work Programme for the REDD+ Partnership Components and Timeline 2013-2014, June 2013 | The work programme for 2013-14 has five components as follows: 1. Facilitating readiness activities. 2. Facilitating demonstration activities. 3. Facilitating results based actions. 4. Facilitating the scaling up of finance and actions. 5. Promoting transparency and communication. Annex 1 articulates the work programme components and describes deliverables and activities, as well as the projected outputs and indicative costs. Terms of reference for these activities and outputs such as workshops, technical papers and reports will be developed in consultation with Partners. Annex 2 provides the budget for the work programme of the REDD+ Partnership.

From Mexico, Global Lessons for Forest Governance

By David Bray, Solutions, June 2013 | Policies promoted under the banner of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) propose to achieve that goal, in combination with the conservation or sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, through the establishment of robust markets for forest carbon. However, there are existing policies and practices that have already proven their ability to reduce forest loss, conserve forests through protection and sustainable management, and enhance forest carbon stocks. In Mexico, the experience of community forest management is characterized by the devolution of successively expanded property rights, especially timber rights, over sometimes-large forests, combined with community-level governance institutions that mobilize social capital and an intermittently supportive policy environment.

24 June 2013

Bonn climate talks tackle emissions verification stumbling block

By Julie Mollins and Louis Verchot, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 24 June 2013 | Negotiators at Bonn climate talks have whittled away at controversial policy details related to verifying carbon emissions, paving the way for major progress on REDD+ at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw in November… The decision will allow for international review by experts from both developed and developing countries on emission reduction reports when a developed country seeks funding from a developed country to support its emission reductions… Governments also moved forward on an agreement over national forest monitoring systems and reporting requirements at the meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in Bonn. Under the agreement, countries participating in REDD+ will eventually have to report emissions every two years using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines, but there will be flexibility for least developed countries.

[Australia] Tasmania’s old growth forests win environmental protection

By Bridie Jabour, The Guardian, 24 June 2013 | Almost 200,000 hectares of Tasmania’s old growth forest have been world heritage listed, bringing hope that a three-decade fight between environmentalists, politicians and loggers is over. The World Heritage Committee has extended the heritage listed boundary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by more than 170,000 hectares after accepting a proposal from the Australian government which will give the areas the highest level of environmental protection in the world. The old growth forest areas now added to the heritage listing are in the Upper Florentine as well as within the Styx, Huon, Picton and Counsel River Valley. Logging will continue in the forest in areas Environment Minister Tony Burke described as “less contentious”.

From policy to action: promoting equitable land ownership in Ethiopia and Rwanda

By John Leckie, Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog, 24 June 2013 | It makes economic sense to provide security of tenure for women. Women usually perform the role of food producer and household manager, making sure all household members are fed. Giving women – particularly female-headed households – greater influence over land assets allows them greater control over household incomes, and welfare. Tenure security also enhances women’s power in agricultural production and in social relationships in the wider community. So how can constitutional good intentions be translated into reality? Some recent land reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa have put issues around women’s land rights at the heart of policy, and – most importantly – the practical implementation of land formalisation.

[Fiji] Agriculture stakeholders come together to support REDD+, 24 June 2013 | Addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation is a fundamental requirement for the success of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; conservation, sustainable management of forests, enhancement of carbon). In Fiji, agriculture is identified as the main driver of deforestation, where large tracts of forest areas are cleared to establish agricultural cash crops (commonly kava and taro). On 7 June 2013, a REDD+ seminar on the above issue was organised for Nadroga/Navosa Province, where the Fiji REDD+ pilot site is located. The seminar was organised in response to field observations by the REDD+ land-use mapping team that indicated a rapid progression of agricultural clearance into the REDD+ pilot site. This concern is compounded by the fact the Emalu pilot site was identified by USP and local scientists as one of the ‘hottest’ biodiversity spots in the country.

German Carbon Dealers Create One-Stop Forest-Carbon Shop For Buyers Across Europe

By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 June 2013 | Germany’s forest-carbon market is fairly small compared to the market for renewable energy offsets, and people from Frankfurt-based Forest Carbon Group and Hamburg-based Forest Finance Group found themselves not only bumping into each other at conferences, but referring clients to each other as well, says Michael Sahm, FCG’s Director of Strategic Marketing and External Affairs. After a while, they figured it might make sense to join forces and offer project options to their clients together. The result is a formal marketing agreement between FFG subsidiary CO2OL and FCG announced June 6.

[Indonesia] Haze 9/11

By Dorjee Sun,, 24 June 2013 | The current finger pointing and combative rhetoric by all parties involved in the recent haze outbreak is not the path to constructive long lasting solution. We must build deep, open, honest and transparent collaborations for the next decade and beyond, and use this ‘Haze 9/11’ event that will never be forgotten. I call it that because of the severity of this problem – the worst on record – and because it is man-made. We need to use this as the motivation to find ‘long lasting political will’ in companies, communities and government to finally solve this persistent and recurring problem. Carbon Conservation has been working on avoided deforestation, stopping the haze and helping industry towards a more sustainable business model for seven years in Indonesia.

Malaysian-owned companies source of forest fires

Free Malaysia Today, 24 June 2013 | Preliminary investigations have singled out eight plantation companies owned by Malaysian investors as the source of forest fires in Riau that have caused Southeast Asia’s worst ever air pollution crisis. The Jakarta Post reports the fires have started a diplomatic war of words between Indonesia, as the source of the problem, and Singapore and Malaysia, as the countries receiving the brunt of the smog. Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya suggested on Saturday that the eight palm-oil companies were using illegal slash-and-burn methods as the cheapest way to clear land for cultivation. “The ministry is still gathering more evidence and verification in the field. The fires are, for sure, on their concessions,” said Balthasar, in Riau’s capital Pekanbaru. “I will immediately meet my Malaysian counterpart to inform him of the findings and seek ways to resolve the current issue and stop recurrence in the future,” he said.

25 June 2013

What to expect in the Warsaw climate change talks

By Jaspreet Kindra, IRIN Global, 25 June 2013 | Some of the sticking issues have included the rights of indigenous forest communities and the protection of biodiversity, conditions, or “safeguards”, that counties were required to meet to qualify for REDD+ funding. No policies have yet been developed to implement these safeguards. There have also been questions about monitoring and addressing drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. In particular, activists want to know when and how often information will be presented about the safeguards’ implementation. What should happen. Vera Coelho of Wetlands International says the organization wants both developed and developing countries to report back on actions to reduce deforestation and peatland degradation. Rosalind Reeve of the REDD+ Safeguards Working Group (R-SWG), an alliance of NGOs, would like more clarity about the safeguards.

3 Ways to Achieve Zero Tropical Deforestation by 2020

By Ariana Alisjahbana, WRI Insights, 25 June 2013 | As the crisis of tropical deforestation reaches a new level of urgency due to forest fires raging in Indonesia, an important question is how can the world satisfy the growing demand for forest products while still preserving forest ecosystems? This week, some of the world’s largest companies will join U.S. and Indonesian government officials in Jakarta at the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) meeting to discuss this issue. The meeting comes three years after the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a group of the world’s 400 largest consumer goods companies from 70 countries, announced their commitment to source only deforestation-free commodities in their supply chains and help achieve net-zero deforestation by 2020. The TFA 2020, a public-private partnership established in 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit, aims to provide concrete guidance on how to implement the forum’s pledge.

How Producers of Super Greenhouse Gases Are Blackmailing the Planet

By Mat McDermott, Motherboard, 25 June 2013 | Following the announcement by the United States and China that they will cooperate on phasing out super greenhouse gases—while not actually providing any timetable for doing so, of course—comes a new report from the Environmental Investigation Agency showing how truly screwed up market mechanisms for controlling pollution can get. The EIA report focuses on hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which have replaced ozone-depleting chemicals for use as coolant in things like refrigerators and air conditioners. But while HCFCs don’t deplete the ozone, they are incredibly powerful greenhouse gases. For example, when HCFC-22 is made, a by-product called HFC-23 is created, and which has a global warming potential nearly 15,000 times than of carbon dioxide. HFC-23 can easily be destroyed and kept out of the atmosphere, which some clear air credits are designed to incentivize. But it can also just be vented into the air.

EU emissions trading scheme ‘set to cancel out renewable energy gains’

By Damien Carrington, The Guardian, 25 June 2013 | Deep problems in Europe’s carbon trading scheme – its flagship climate change policy – are set to cancel out over 700m tonnes of emissions saved through renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, according to a new report. The study, by carbon trading thinktank Sandbag, found that a huge oversupply of carbon pollution permits means many are being banked to enable emissions after 2020, when efforts to tackle global warming should be intensifying. These emissions, nearly equivalent to Germany’s annual carbon pollution, will cancel out efforts made in other areas to cut carbon. The report also warns that Europe’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) is a "global dumping ground" for "dubious" carbon permits created by projects around the world.

New Data Shows Indonesian Forest Fires a Longstanding Crisis

By Kemen Austin, Ariana Alisjahbana and Nigel Sizer, WRI Insights, 25 June 2013 | Fires continue to burn in Indonesia, spreading haze and suffering across the country and into Malaysia and Singapore. New research from the World Resources Institute reveals troubling trends about the blazes: The current fires are not beyond the normal historic range for fires in the region, but that may change as the fires continue to burn heavily. The recent fires are part of a longstanding, endemic crisis of forest fires and land clearing in Indonesia, and bold action is needed to prevent the crisis from escalating. In this new analysis, WRI examines the historical trends of forest fires in Sumatra. Rapid analysis from WRI finds that the current forest fires observed in the Riau Province fit into a larger pattern of widespread forest and land fires. However, June 2013 is on track to be one of the worst months on record since 2001.

[Indonesia] Forest fires in Sumatra’s Riau province – in pictures

The Guardian, 25 June 2013 | As Indonesia deploys planes and helicopters to help douse the fires in Riau province, Sumatra, much of southern Malaysia is shrouded in thick smog.

A Landmark Climate Change Law Passes in Chihuahua, Mexico

Rainforest Alliance: The Frog Blog, 25 June 2013 | On June 5, 2013, government officials in Mexico formally approved the Climate Change Act for the State of Chihuahua in Northwestern Mexico. The approval of this landmark climate change law was an important demonstration of Mexico’s continued commitment to promoting mitigation and adaptation actions… As part of the Alianza Mexico REDD+ (in English, the Alliance Mexico REDD+*), the Rainforest Alliance and its partners The Nature Conservancy, Woods Hole Research Center and Endesu contributed to the development and passage of the law by providing technical support to Chihuahua’s State Congress and helping the congress to build their capacity. We participated in workshops and facilitated sessions to explain the structure and content of the General Law on Climate Change, analyze the substance and structure of the Climate Change Act…

Why Panama’s indigenous pulled out of the UN’s REDD program, 25 June 2013 | This week in Lombok, Indonesia, the Policy Board of the United Nations climate change program known as UNREDD is addressing the first major test of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations (UN DRIP), which recognizes the right of Indigenous People to stop projects in their territories that could endanger their traditions and livelihoods. The National Coordinating Body of the Indigenous People of Panama (COONAPIP) pulled out of UNREDD’s national program in February and have called on the United Nations to close the program. They say the program failed to recognize their right to determine what happens to their forests, and the right to participate in projects that affect them. COONAPIP leader Betanio Chiquidama is in Lombok this week to witness the discussion. The following is translated from a recent interview he gave to Fabio Viquez.

Peruvian Rainforest Protection to be Funded by Madre de Dios Amazon REDD Project Verified by SCS Global Services

25 June 2013 | SCS Global Services announced that it has independently verified the Madre de Dios Amazon Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Project under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), thereby allowing the project to generate carbon credits that will finance the protection of key Peruvian rainforest habitat. SCS confirmed that the carbon offset project avoided emissions of approximately 4.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents over a four-year period from January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2012.

26 June 2013

CIFOR, Forest Europe Summarize Progress on REDD+ in Bonn

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), 26 June 2013 | The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Forest Europe have released summaries of the forest and REDD+ related outcomes of the Bonn climate change talks, which convened from 3-14 June 2013. Both reports highlight positive progress on national forest monitoring and the verification of emission reductions.

ARC sailors plant trees to offset yachting carbon, 26 June 2013 | Andrew Bishop, who has run the ARC for World Cruising Club since 1998, explains the reason behind the offset project. ‘There is a growing awareness amongst cruisers that yachting is perhaps not as ‘green’ as we like to think and more people are keen to help in small ways to change things. We are proud that the ARC Forests offer a direct way for cruisers to contribute with hands-on activities. This is not a vague promise by a third-party to do something in far-away place; our sailors actually see and touch the trees we sponsor!’

Deforestation rates for Amazon countries outside Brazil

By Rhett A. Butler,, 26 June 2013 | Deforestation has sharply increased in Amazon rainforest countries outside of Brazil, finds a new analysis based on satellite data. Researchers from Terra-i and O-Eco’s InfoAmazonia team have developed updated forest cover maps for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. The results reveal a 24 percent increase in forest loss between 2011 and 2012 and an increasing trend since 2004. Peru had the largest extent of forest loss in 2012, losing 48,000 hectares, an increase of 15,431 ha or 47 percent over 2011. Venezuela (11,606 ha), Colombia (10,069 ha), Bolivia (6,975 ha), Suriname (6,569 ha), Guyana (3,713 ha), Ecuador (1,663 ha), and French Guyana (1,338 ha) followed. In terms of percentage change, Colombia (118 percent) and Suriname (114 percent) had the rate of increase over the period. Bolivia saw a 66 percent decrease in deforestation.

[Indonesia] Cause of haze? Up to 87% of recent deforestation in fire zone due to palm oil, timber

By Rhett A. Butler,, 26 June 2013 | New analysis of forest cover in Riau Province reveals the outsized role industrial plantations play in driving deforestation and associated haze. The analysis, conducted by Eyes on the Forest, a coalition of Sumatran environmental groups, finds that up to 56 percent of deforestation in Riau between 2007 and 2012 can be linked to timber plantations for pulp and paper production. The figure for oil palm plantations may be as high as 31 percent. Eyes on the Forest also found widespread overlap between cleared areas and 8,055 hotspots detected this month by NASA satellites, including 2,432 hotspots (30 percent) within pulpwood concessions owned by Sinar Mas Group / Asia Pulp & Paper and Royal Golden Eagle / APRIL and 696 (9 percent) in large, well-managed oil palm plantations. 29 percent of hotspots occurred in areas of exposed soil, while 20 percent show up in areas that were natural forest as recently as 2012.

Smoke over Sumatra: Why Indonesia’s fires are a global concern

By Wendy Miles and Micah Fisher,, 26 June 2013 | To date, over $1.4 billion USD has been invested to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest fires in Indonesia. Investors include Norway, Australia, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, France, Denmark, South Korea, and Japan – as well as private companies such as Merrill Lynch, the Marubeni Corporation, Macquarie, and Gazprom. Indonesia now hosts more than fifty international REDD+ carbon-offsetting pilot initiatives that promise potentially billions of dollars worth of investments. But the haze looming over Sumatra confronts REDD+ investors and Indonesia with the contradictions of market-based solutions… Sinar Mas funds the “Kampar Carbon Reserve Project” and the proposed “Giam Siak Kecil-Bukitbatu Biosphere Reserve REDD+ Pilot Project”… Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings, Ltd. (part of RGM)… have worked to establish the controversial “Sustainable Peatland Management Model”…

Participatory Governance Assessment: The 2012 Indonesia Forest, Land, and REDD+ Governance Index

UNDP, 26 June 2013 | Forest and REDD+ governance is one of the targets of the 2010-2014 Strategic Plan of Ministry of Forestry. Various activities to strengthen forest and REDD+ governance have been undertaken, among others the strengthening of forest management institutions, improvement of human resources in the forestry sector, increasing opportunities for communities living around forest areas to participate actively in forest management, improving internal control of each forest development and improving quality of public services to be more efficient, effective, transparent and participatory.

Indonesia launches comprehensive forest management index

Antara News, 26 June 2013 | Director of UNDP Indonesia Beate Trankmann meanwhile said forest management in Indonesia reflected the Indonesian government`s commitment to handling management issues in the implementation of REDD+… The Indonesian government in cooperation with UNDP and UNREDD has launched an English edition comprehensive forest management index. The launch, which is the first in Indonesia, was done at an international meeting in forestry on June 25-July 2 in Senggigi, Lombok Barat district, West Nusa Tenggara, on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by around 150 representatives from 37 countries and preceded by a Project Grant Agreement meeting and the index launching. The head of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control/REDD (reducing emission from deforestation and degradation) Task Force, Imam Santoso, said the index is an analysis on current forest management conditions and their implication on REDD+ programs.

Solomon Islands and Korea Sign Reforestation Project

Solomon Times Online, 26 June 2013 | The Governments of Solomon Islands and the Republic of Korea have signed a Framework Arrangement to formalize the start of a Reforestation Project in Solomon Islands. Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Hon. Clay Forau Soalaoi and the outgoing Korean Ambassador to Solomon Islands Lee Whie-Jin signed the documents in Honiara today. The milestone signing now opens the way for the reforestation project to begin with a Korean funding of SB$7.2 million to support the Government’s reforestation program. The project has been developed to build the capacity of Solomon Islands officials in terms of forestry training and will be implemented by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) throughout this year.

A Way Forward for REDD+ Benefit Sharing in Uganda

IUCN, 26 June 2013 | IUCN’s “Towards Pro-Poor REDD+” project in Uganda has produced a study on REDD+ benefit sharing that provides concrete recommendations to guide Uganda, as well as other developing countries, when designing and implementing REDD+ strategies. With support from the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida), the study entitled “Benefit Sharing in Uganda’s Forestry Sector”, reviews existing literature and analyzes various benefit sharing mechanisms, including models from other REDD+ countries such as Costa Rica, and makes 17 specific recommendations related to land and forest tenure, benefit sharing mechanisms, beneficiaries, equitable participation and conflict management.

27 June 2013

Moving From Greedy to Green with REDD+

By Valerie Gwinner, The UN-REDD Programme blog, 27 June 2013 | With our planet facing the highest carbon emission levels in human history, with smoking fires from Sumatra choking more than five million people in neighboring Singapore, experts from around the world gathered in Indonesia to see how REDD+ is being used to help move economic development from a path of resource exploitation to one of environmental sustainability and human betterment. “Our paradigm of growth has been based on the overexploitation of resources,” explained Mr. Marcellus Rantetana, Senior Assistant to the Presidential Special Envoy for Poverty Alleviation in Indonesia, speaking at the Global Symposium on REDD+ in a Green Economy, held in Jakarta, 19-21 June 2013. “It has followed a rule of economic growth dictating maximized profit at all costs – some call it the ‘greedy economy,’” he added.

Open for Comment: Draft Tools for JNR Programs

Verified Carbon Standard, 27 June 2013 | VCS today released for public comment draft tools for jurisdiction-wide programs crediting activities that Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+).These tools provide additional guidance for implementing Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) programs. The Tool for the Estimation of Jurisdictional Leakage in VCS JNR Programs provides a step-by-step approach for jurisdictional programs to address leakage due to activity shifting, market and deforestation-to-degradation leakage. The Jurisdictional Non-Permanence Risk Tool sets out procedures to account for natural events such as fire and pests as well as other economic and political risks to the carbon stored within the jurisdiction.

Carbon Markets a Focus of Poland Climate Talks, Marcu Says

By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, 27 June 2013 | This year’s climate talks in Poland will attempt to establish a framework for rules governing industry-based carbon markets and non-market programs after 2020, according to the Centre for European Policy Studies. A single system covering various approaches would provide flexibility to nations wary of giving control over their domestic energy or greenhouse-gas markets to an international process, said Andrei Marcu, head of CEPS’s carbon market forum in Brussels and adviser to Poland, which is hosting the United Nations negotiations in Warsaw starting Nov. 11.

[Australia] Carbon credits smoke screen

By Christopher Bath, Glen Innes Examiner, 27 June 2013 | Mr McShane is the proprietor of New England Hardwoods, a timber mill which he said is at the forefront of environmental soundness. The mill owns its own forest on site, of completely regenerative wood, with a cycle of 20 to 30 years. “As far as we are concerned this is the future of the industry,” Mr McShane said. “Some larger operations in Tasmania and around the globe are looking to go the same way, but because of this uniqueness we get stung by the CFI when it is businesses like us that should be rewarded.” He argues that since his forest is capturing approximately 8000 tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere each year, the less forest he logs for the mill the more carbon is captured and, under the current initiative, this should be rewarded with carbon credits which can then be sold. “A lot of the reason I am doing this is to bring attention to the hypocrisy of the Gillard governments policy,” Mr McShane said.

Carbon Permit “Backloading” Fight Continues in European Parliament

ICTSD, 27 June 2013 | A European Commission plan to delay the auctioning of millions of carbon permits received a new boost last week, after a European Parliament committee signed off on the proposal. The legislation must still be approved by the full Parliament later this summer, which had rejected an earlier version. The move to delay permit auctions – a practice known as backloading – is aimed at boosting the prices of such permits, which underpin the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). An oversupply of permits, combined with the bloc’s broader economic struggles, has led permit prices to hover at dangerously low levels, reaching less than €3 per tonne in April and generally about €5 per tonne. The plan approved by the Parliament’s environment committee last week includes various changes from the original proposal, which EU parliamentarians had rejected in April.

[Indonesia] 14 suspects in Riau land fires arrested

Antara News, 27 June 2013 | The Riau haze management task force has arrested 14 people suspected of involvement in land fires in five different locations in Riau province. "Until last night we have arrested 14 suspects compared to 10 previously. One of the four suspects was arrested for alleged part in land fires in Bengkalis district and three others in land fires in Rokan Hilir district," the commander of task force`s law enforcement unit, Snr Comr A Sofyan said in Pekanbaru on Thursday. One of the suspects was identified as Suhartoni alias Aci. He was suspected of burning 100 hectares of land which caused haze in the area around the land and caused visibility to fall to 150 meters, Sofyan said. The three suspects in land fires in Rokan Hilir were identified as Nasir, Nawir and Jaswin. "The arrest brings the number of suspects to 14. Ten of the suspects who were arrested earlier are undergoing questioning to develop the investigation of the case," he said.

[UK] Swindon Town investor Greg Hall was part of rogue firm

Swindon Advertiser, 27 June 2013 | A businessman who offered to invest in Swindon Town was part of a rogue carbon credits company that has been shut down by the Government’s Insolvency Service. Gregory Hall spent six weeks on the board of the holding company behind the club between March and May but apparently failed to deliver on promises of investment. His role in Carvier Ltd, which marketed carbon credits to the public, has come to light after it was wound up following an investigation by the companies watchdog. Hall was the “acceptable face of the business” according to a case heard at the High Court. The owner, Barinua Nwikpo, had run an earlier carbon credits firm, Tullett Brown, which was closed after using false claims to pocket £1.5m from investors… Hall has a background in carbon credit trading and currently holds directorships at City Project and UCS Trading, among others.

U.N. climate chief welcomes Obama plan, wants U.S. energy czar

By Daren Butler, Reuters, 27 June 2013 | President Barack Obama’s new pledges on curbing carbon emissions drew a cautious welcome from the U.N. climate change chief on Thursday, but she said no country was doing enough and proposed the White House appoint an energy czar to coordinate reforms. Obama revived his stalled climate change agenda on Tuesday, promising new rules to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants and moves to support renewable energy. Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said countries were on track to agree in 2015 a policy framework to curb greenhouse gas emissions and better enable the poorest nations to adapt to climate change.

28 June 2013

Addressing challenges of enhancing knowledge and understanding on REDD+

By Thomas Enters, The UN-REDD Programme blog, 28 June 2013 | REDD+ deals with forests. Its focus is on providing incentives for their better management and conservation, reducing deforestation and the deterioration of forest conditions. This means that REDD+ is not just forestry, but is a much broader, cross-cutting issue. It requires changes to business-as-usual in many sectors, in particular those that are land-use based. In turn, this necessitates the effective engagement of a variety of stakeholders in discussions on REDD+, in getting ready for REDD+ and in formulating and implementing national REDD+ strategies. Within the UN-REDD Programme this requirement is very well understood and in many UN-REDD partner countries steps have been taken to go beyond the usual suspects (e.g. forestry agencies) and open venues to increase the diversity of stakeholders in national processes, including a variety of line ministries, and representatives of the private sector, NGOs, civil society…

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 28 June 2013 | President Barack Obama recently gave the Environmental Protection Agency his blessing to propose and implement regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants in the United States. While the President’s Climate Action Plan will have obvious repercussions for large emitters, its effects on REDD+ and forest carbon are less concrete. The latest Ecosystem Marketplace coverage unearths the implications of limiting carbon and its potential effect on the formation of cap-and-trade programs and “state leadership”, which the President referred to explicitly in his speech. David Antonioli, CEO of the Verified Carbon Standard believes “the Obama plan is unlikely to have a direct impact on the voluntary carbon markets,” however, it will likely encourage “countries and companies to start taking concrete action against climate change.”

Indonesia NGOs call on govt to investigate 117 companies for alleged involvement in forest fires

By Diana Parker,, 28 June 2013 | As forest fires on the island of Sumatra continue to blanket parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore with a thick haze, a coalition of civil society groups has called on Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment to investigate timber and palm oil companies they believe may be behind the fires. The coalition reported 117 companies to the Ministry of the Environment on Wednesday, including 84 companies holding industrial forest plantation (HTI) concessions and 33 palm oil and rubber plantation companies. The groups believe these companies – whose concessions overlap with satellite-detected hotspots – may have intentionally set the fires and urged the ministry to immediately investigate and take legal action.

[Indonesia] Yudhoyono welcomes US firms’ initiative to combat deforestation

By Anggi M. Lubis, The Jakarta Post, 28 June 2013 | President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed his appreciation and strong support for the initiative put forward by a number of US-based companies to help reduce deforestation in Indonesia. Speaking in his address at the opening of a dialogue held by the US-based Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) in Jakarta on Thursday, the President said he strongly supported any talks that could help Indonesia achieve its carbon emission target. “The workshop is also relevant to Indonesia, as one of the countries with the largest tropical rain forest in the world, and world’s largest palm oil production,” Yudhoyono said.

Carbon credit buyers file formal complaints against UAE firm

By Vivian Nereim, The National, 28 June 2013 | A group of clients have filed formal complaints about a local company that sells carbon credits as a green investment. Advanced Global Trading (AGT) claims that its investors can make 30 per cent returns by buying and selling carbon credits. But AGT clients say they have been unable to liquidate their investments for months, and market experts say the assets AGT sold have little to no resale value… Many carbon market experts advise against selling credits as investments to members of the public because the voluntary market is illiquid, volatile and difficult to understand. The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance calls the practice a "distraction and risk to the industry"… When clients buy a credit, it is attached to a specific environmental project that created a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But some investors who bought credits from AGT in recent months never received project names or credit serial numbers…

[USA] The Myriad Benefits of a Carbon Tax

By Laura D’Andrea Tyson, New York Times, 28 June 2013 | Few goals in Washington have more bipartisan support, at least in theory, than cleaning up the tax code. Republicans and Democrats say they want a system that is simpler, fairer and more efficient. Put simply, they want a system with fewer special tax breaks and lower rates. Yet one of the best ideas for advancing all of those goals – and also heading off catastrophic climate change — isn’t even on the table. I refer to a carbon tax, which would impose a price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

29 June 2013

Rights for us mean forests for all

By Abdon Nababan and Betanio Chiquidama, Jakarta Post, 29 June 2013 | Though one of us lives in Central America and the other in Indonesia — nearly half the Earth’s circumference away from each other — we have the same urgent message for the decision makers who are gathered in Indonesia this week to discuss how best to slow climate change. For hundreds of years, we — the indigenous peoples of the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America — have protected the forests that are now of such great interest in the battle against the changing climate. We want to continue to play the role of global guardian of these precious resources, but we need your help. In the face of tremendous and unprecedented pressures from the global quest for food, fuel, fiber and mineral wealth, our forests are under siege, and we can do little to protect them until our rights to our lands are recognized and respected.

[UK] Carbon credits pitch is rife with false claims

By Tony Hetherington, Daily Mail, 29 June 2013 | ‘Five years ago the directors of Global Carbon Exchange had a vision’, and GCE is the answer to that vision. The truth is that the company was not even formed until 2011 and it has just one director, Stephen Arthur May. He told me that the mention of more than one director was a typing error. But whatever his vision, it does not seem to include sticking to company law. GCE has never filed any accounts. Last year’s figures were due almost four months ago but are still outstanding, so the company may not last much longer. May told me that his company has had a business connection with more than one firm authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. One firm was Carbon Neutral Investments. The watchdog FCA fired a shot across its bows some months ago, and in April it handed over this side of its business to a connected company, CNI (UK) Limited, which is not FCA authorised.

30 June 2013

[Indonesia] Sinarmas expands oil palm plantations in Papuan forests

Jakarta Post, 30 June 2013 | A report has revealed that Golden Agri Resources (GAR), the Sinarmas Group’s oil palm business, is expanding its oil palm plantations in more than 20,000 hectares of forests in Papua. The expansion permit was obtained after the forests were removed from the government’s moratorium map on primary forests, the report says. The report titled “What are Golden Agri’s plans for its new palm oil concession in Papua’s forests?”, by Greenomics Indonesia, said that at the end of July 2012, GAR, the world’s second-largest oil palm business group, obtained a permit for the release of 20,143.30 hectares of forests in Jayapura regency that it proposed during the period of 2008-2010.

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  1. Apropos the IUCN report on Uganda REDD+ funded by DANIDA, ‘On the issue of land and forest tenure, it is suggested that Uganda assist poorer people and local communities to develop into legal entities with titled/registered ownership of land and forest holdings’. Here we have the cry of euro imperialism whose standard bearer is Danish Aid (DANIDA).

    DANIDA embrace the mantra, ‘The right to a better life!’ and the strategy of land ownership, as espoused by the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation in Denmark, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale: Danish Social-Liberal Party). In an interview with POLITIKEN magazine on 9 July 2013 he maundered that ‘Denmark will use its political influence in large parts of Africa to get rid of local cultures and traditions that hinder the development of African agriculture’. The fully extent of what awaits many Africans of the customary commons can be adjudged by some of what he said:

    1. Africa must be developed in a rush in order to avoid global food crisis
    2. We can transform Africa from being dependent on others for food to become the world’s breadbasket. It requires massive investment, especially from abroad. And we’re going to see very quick and very harsh structural changes, which large parts of the continent are not prepared for
    3. Some have a rather romantic belief that traditional cultures have a value in themselves, and they want to sit down with the chief and fix things. I do not share this belief
    4. For the poor farmers, who are the majority in the village, collective ownership, which is in practice administered by the chief, is usually of no value
    5. But I will insist that land ownership becomes private and individual. It is a fundamental condition for us to develop agriculture. Otherwise there is no incentive to invest in the land. No one builds terrasses, plants shade trees or buy fertilizers, if the harvest is not theirs
    6. In the long term there are very many people who need to move away from the agricultural sector and into the cities. But without ownership to the land, they cannot sell it. They cannot take money with them, which can be used to start a life in the city. Therefore, lack of land rights is in all ways a very large barrier to development
    7. Fortunately, it is not just our values. It is universal human rights, as developed by all countries worldwide through two hundred years. So we can allow ourselves to insist on these rights. And that is not a Western invention either

    The countries who have signed up unwittingly for the destruction of their traditional commons under Danish assistance are Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.