in Uncategorized

REDD in the news: 7-13 October 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.

Indigenous Peoples in REDD Processes

BMZ, October 2013 | Co-hosted by BMZ, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and UN-REDD Programme, an in­ter­national expert workshop took place in Weilburg, Germany, from 10th to 12th of September: “Practical Approaches to Ensuring the Full and Effective Participation of Indigenous Peoples in REDD+”. How can we encourage and enable full and effective participation of Indi­ge­nous Peoples in REDD+ decision-making? How do we move Indigenous Peoples participation from a formality to meaningful collaborative decision-making? And, how do we move from consultation to full participation and inclusion in REDD-relevant policy design and implementation?

Participatory Biodiversity Monitoring for REDD : Considerations for national REDD programmes

By R. Mant, S. Swan, M. Bertzky, and L. Miles, UNEP, WCMC and SNV, 2013 | UNEP-WCMC, in collaboration with SNV in Viet Nam, has developed a briefing on participatory biodiversity monitoring in REDD+. Some national REDD+ programmes, including Viet Nam’s, are currently considering the use of participatory biodiversity monitoring within REDD+. This brief presents the key issues that national REDD+ programmes may want to consider if they decide to develop participatory biodiversity monitoring. The briefing covers why monitor biodiversity in REDD+, what is participatory biodiversity monitoring, what are the concerns about participatory biodiversity monitoring, and what is needed for participatory biodiversity monitoring.

Reducing ‘forest footprints’: tackling demand for forest-risk commodities

By Nathalie Walker, Sabrina Patel, Frances Davis, Simon Milledge, James Hulse, and Edward Davey, IIED, September 2013 | Global commodity consumption continues to soar, and the planet is expecting some five billion new middle class consumers by 2030. Demand for palm oil, soy, beef, leather, timber and biofuels is driving tropical forest conversion, damaging the livelihoods of forest-dependent people and forest ecosystem services, and exacerbating climate change. Demand is so strong that it frequently frustrates national ‘supply-side’ efforts to curb deforestation. So it is now essential to also address the ‘demand’ or consumer end, including through regulations, public procurement policies, industry-led standards, certification schemes and campaigns. Too often such measures are delivered in isolation, limiting demand for ‘deforestation-free’ commodities.

Cutting ‘demand-driven’ deforestation

By Simon Milledge, IIED, September 2013 | This backgrounder gives an introduction to our work on cutting demand-driven deforestation. It includes an overview of key terms, statistics and the arenas in which we are working to reduce the footprint of agricultural and timber commodities.

Cost implications for pro-poor REDD in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam

By Matthew Ogonowski, Adrian Enright, IIED, October 2013 | This report is published under the ‘Poverty and sustainable development impacts of REDD architecture: options for equity, growth and the environment’ project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). In many developing countries, factors such as low agricultural yields and reliance on wood for fuel drive poor rural communities to clear forest areas, and to use the remaining forests unsustainably. REDD+, an emerging international mechanism to provide incentives for reducing forest-related emissions, could potentially offer a way of improving the livelihoods of such communities while lowering emissions associated with deforestation and degradation. A key tool in the development of REDD+ will be the estimation of opportunity costs.

Improving governance of forest tenure: a practical guide

By James Mayers, Elaine Morrison, Leianne Rolington, Kate Studd, and Susanne Turrall, IIED, September 2013 | Human well-being and the health of our whole planet depend on whether and how we grow and look after forests. So who gets to decide about who owns and controls the forests and how – the ‘governance of forest tenure’ – is profoundly relevant for us all. This technical guide on improving governance of forest tenure is for those who want to try to improve the governance of forest tenure. It helps you to take action in four critical areas – ‘understanding’, ‘organizing’, ‘engaging’ and ‘ensuring’ – to improve decision-making about forest goods and services. It starts by highlighting some key opportunities and challenges in governance today and directs you to further information, appropriate to how you identify yourself as a stakeholder and what type of opportunity or challenge you are facing.

7 October 2013

Expectations for REDD at this year’s global climate change meeting: an interview with Josefina Brana-Varela, WWF Forest and Climate Programme Policy Director

WWF, 7 October 2013 | REDD+ is a leading area of consensus within the global climate debate but remains at a crossroads. It has taken longer to finalize than originally anticipated, yet, no other single mechanism has ever before mobilized this scale of political attention and financial resources for tropical forest conservation, nor had the potential for even greater conservation outcomes, as has REDD+. It will be a defining moment for conservation when REDD+ is realized — and if REDD+ treads off its path, it will be, perhaps, one of the greatest lost opportunities for tropical forest conservation in our generation. As the world prepares for the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC-COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland this November, Josefina Brana-Varela, Policy Director for WWF’s Forest and Climate Programme reflects on the potential challenges and critical next steps for REDD+ at this pivotal point.

UN-REDD Newsletter Focuses on Stakeholder Engagement

Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), 7 October 2013 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) released the 41st edition of its newsletter, highlighting stakeholder consultation processes and the engagement of indigenous peoples in national programmes. In particular, the newsletter reports on the completion of the REDD+ Consultation Group in Cambodia, which is mandated to link existing stakeholder groups with the national REDD+ Taskforce. The newsletter also highlights a series of information and awareness raising workshops for indigenous peoples in Peru, as well as an international expert workshop held in Germany to enhance indigenous peoples participation in REDD+ implementation. Finally, in support of indigenous peoples participation, the newsletter reports on two workshops held in Costa Rica’s indigenous territories to discuss REDD+ safeguards.

Key Companies Have Stepped Up On Climate Change. Why Are Governments Leaving Them In The Lurch?

By Forest Trends, The Huffington Post, 7 October 2013 | For three years now, the people of Kenya’s Kasigau Corridor have been protecting 500,000 acres of endangered dryland forest and preventing 54 million tons of carbon dioxide from soaring into the atmosphere. That’s good for all of us, and as a reward they hope to earn REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation) carbon offsets for keeping greenhouse gasses locked in trees. Our research shows that voluntary carbon projects like these are actively protecting more than 14 million hectares of endangered forests around the world (see “Leveraging the Landscape: State of the Forest Carbon Market”) — a figure that has certainly grown in the past year.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 October 2013 | The Governor’s Climate & Forests Task Force (GCF) just gained three new members from Peru. The Peruvian states – San Martin, Loreto, and Ucayali – are all members of CIAM (Consejo Interregional de la Amazonía Peruana, or the Interregional Amazon Council), an interregional coordination board that promotes sustainable development in the Amazonian regions in Peru. GCF serves as a platform to enhance capacity building and transnational cooperation to fight deforestation. Its members currently include states from Brazil, Mexico, the United States, Spain, Nigeria and Indonesia.

How to Slice a Global Carbon Pie?

By Justin Gillis, New York Times, 7 October 2013 | What was the compromise that finally broke the Stockholm deadlock? The scientists had wanted to specify a carbon budget that gave the best chance of keeping temperatures at the 3.6 degree target or below. But many countries felt the question was related to risk — and that the issue of how much risk to take was political, not scientific. The American delegation suggested that the scientists lay out a range of probabilities for staying below the 3.6-degree target, not a single budget, and that is what they finally did. The original budget is in there. But the adopted language gives countries the possibility of a much larger carbon pie, if they are willing to tolerate a greater risk of exceeding the temperature target.

International airlines face emissions caps from 2020

By Michael Marshall, New Scientist, 7 October 2013 | International Air travel looks set to go greener. A global United Nations agreement announced last week means that international airlines will have to curb their greenhouse gas emissions from 2020. The deal seems like a big step forwards for efforts to tackle climate change, but so far it is unclear how powerful the controls will really be. The deal, announced on 4 October, was brokered by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a branch of the United Nations that regulates international air travel. The agreement is “an historic milestone for air transport”, says Roberto Kobeh González, president of the ICAO council. “We have ultimately determined our greener way forward.”

Three Peruvian States Join Global Subnational Carbon Cooperative

By Elisa Arca, Ecosystem Marketplace, 7 October 2013 | Three Peruvian states – San Martin, Loreto, and Ucayali – have officially joined the Governors’ Climate & Forests Task Force (GCF), which already links states in Brazil, Mexico, the United States, Spain, Nigeria and Indonesia. All three Peruvian states are members of CIAM (Consejo Interregional de la Amazonía Peruana, or the Interregional Amazon Council), which is an interregional coordination board that promotes sustainable development in the five Amazonian regions in Peru through public policies, projects and programs. Patricia Luna del Pozo, Technical Secretary Specialist at CIAM, noted, “We see the GCF as an important tool for governments in Peru. We need to better understand what other regional governments are doing around the world and contribute to their efforts through our experiences.”

8 October 2013

Campaign against fossil fuels growing, says study

By Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 8 October 2013 | A campaign to persuade investors to take their money out of the fossil fuel sector is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and could cause significant damage to coal, oil and gas companies, according to a study from the University of Oxford. The report compares the current fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has attracted 41 institutions since 2010, with those against tobacco, apartheid in South Africa, armaments, gambling and pornography. It concludes that the direct financial impact of such campaigns on share prices or the ability to raise funds is small but the reputational damage can still have major financial consequences. “Stigmatisation poses a far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies – any direct impacts of divestment pale in comparison,” said Ben Caldecott, a research fellow at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and an author of the report.

Keep calm and save the Earth

By Bjorn Lomborg, The Telegraph, 8 October 2013 | Bad news sells – that’s why we hear so much of it. But it can leave us with a panicked sense that the world is full of problems that urgently need to be fixed. And panic is rarely a good basis for smart policy. Today, MPs on the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee have released a report arguing that the UK needs its strong climate policies, otherwise we will face “dangerous destabilisation of the global climate”. Yet such scary statements simply underpin expensive policies that offer little benefit. Remember the Millennium Bug? The world was likely to crash, since computers couldn’t handle the switch from 1999 to 2000. It was a great story, but we ended up spending billions to tackle an almost non-existent problem.

Sharing experiences of REDD projects and land grabbing between Brazil and Mozambique

NO REDD in Africa Network, 8 October 2013 | Jonas Aparecido de Souza, a peasant farmer and member of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) from the municipality of Antonino in the state of Paraná, Brazil, was one of the participants in a seminar on REDD that took place August 26-28 in Maputo, Mozambique. Jonas travelled to Mozambique to share his experience with a forest carbon project that has severely affected peasant communities in the area where he lives since the end of the 1990s. Today, that project is considered by the Brazilian Forest Service to be one of the “REDD activities that have yielded good results.” But the story that Jonas told the seminar about the REDD project in his community is not a story about “good results”. On the contrary, he told the other participants about how this carbon project, promoted by SPVS, a Brazilian nature conservation NGO, led to the expulsion of traditional communities from his region – one of the best preserved areas of the Mata Atlântica.

EU Can Keep Airline Carbon Plan Using UN Credits, IETA Says

By Matthew Carr, Bloomberg, 8 October 2013 | Europe may need to let airlines use United Nations credits to meet pollution caps after countries spurned the bloc’s plan to apply its carbon market to overseas flights, according to the biggest emissions trading lobby group. “There’s an opening for the European Union to negotiate with other countries” on airlines’ compliance with its greenhouse-gas limits, said Dirk Forrister, the president of the International Emission Trading Association in Geneva. One option is to allow flights from developing nations to use credits created from UN-overseen projects to reduce emissions, he said in a phone interview yesterday. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization on Oct. 4 approved steps toward a market to cut emissions in the $708 billion airline industry starting 2020. The UN agency declined to back the EU’s plan to include flights into and out of Europe in the bloc’s trading system before a global program starts…

Biodiversity hotspots ‘too big to fail,’ expert says

Deutsche Welle, 8 October 2013 | There are a group of regions across the globe that are home to exceptional biodiversity, areas that environmental organizations fight especially hard to preserve. The World Wildlife Fund or WWF has created an initiative around those regions called “Global 200”. It’s a list of the world’s 200 most vital ecosystems that boast rare habitats, rich endemic species and unusual ecological phenomena, among other things. Global 200 covers more ground than a similar project at Conservation International, called Biodiversity Hotspots.

US, RI announce $360m clean-energy contracts

The Jakarta Post, 8 October 2013 | US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Industry Minister MS Hidayat announced on Tuesday announced three new clean-energy agreements worth nearly US$360 million between US and Indonesian companies. “President [Barack] Obama has made it clear that the US is deeply committed to strengthening our commercial and economic ties in Asia Pacific. Part of increasing our engagement in the region will be achieved as US and Asian businesses work together on projects that benefit both of our economies and create jobs,” Pritzker said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday. The agreements to develop environmentally friendly technology were signed on the heels of the APEC Summit in Bali.

Indonesia’s green legacy in peril

By Michael Bachelard, The Age, 8 October 2013 | When Indiana Jones’ alter ego blew in to Indonesia last month, his celebrity pulling power ensured a rare audience with the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Actor-turned-environmentalist Harrison Ford spent nine days in Indonesia shooting a documentary for US television. He then put to Dr Yudhoyono his horror at the devastation he had seen in Indonesia’s tropical forests. This is a country that, by some estimates, produces more carbon dioxide emissions than any country other than the US and China, the bulk of which come from destroying forest and peatland for timber and palm oil. Even though the President promised Ford on camera to support one huge, 203,000-hectare forest preservation project, a month later the project is hanging by a thread. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has, apparently in defiance of his President, suddenly proposed to slash the area in half, threatening its viability.

NASA funds UD-led research on carbon dynamics in Mexico

University of Delaware press release, 8 October 2013 | Working with a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant, University of Delaware researcher Rodrigo Vargas is collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service and multiple institutions in Mexico to provide information to support implementation of the international program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) by improving forest management, carbon stock enhancement and conservation… Vargas, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, is working as the principal investigator on the three-year project with a team that includes members from UD, the U.S. Forest Service, six different Mexican institutions and the National Forestry Commission of Mexico (CONAFOR).

[USA] International REDD Faces Uphill Battle in California in 2014

By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 8 October 2013 | California’s cap-and-trade program has been seen as a beacon of hope by those who support the inclusion of projects that save endangered forest and reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). As the program moves forward, it is delivering on its promise to include forestry offsets from domestic projects, but it’s not clear it will be able to offer international offsets of any kind, let alone REDD. At issue is opposition from two camps. The first opposes offsets from outside the state generally, on the grounds that external offsets are a threat to California jobs. The other camp opposes international REDD offsets specifically, arguing that international safeguards are inadequate.

9 October 2013

O.E.C.D. Head Calls for Global Effort Against Climate Change

By Stanley Reed, The New York Times, 9 October 2013 | The head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development sought to make climate change a higher priority on the global agenda, urging the world on Wednesday to eliminate all emissions from burning fossil fuels sometime in the second half of this century. Ángel Gurría, secretary general of the O.E.C.D., the Paris-based club of 34 industrialized countries, said that he wanted to put “climate change back on the front burner” after the issue became less of a priority during the financial crisis. Mr. Gurría, who spoke at a breakfast with reporters in London on Wednesday, said he would be emphasizing the issue in the run-up to a United Nations conference on climate change scheduled to be held in Paris in 2015.

Make Carbon Pricing Cornerstone of Climate Policy – OECD

Globe-Net, 9 October 2013 | A transformation of the global energy system is needed if countries hope to limit climate change to a 2ºC temperature increase from pre-industrial levels. That was the key message delivered of a Lecture by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría organized jointly with the London School of Economics. It was also the core message of a report – Climate and Carbon: Aligning Prices and Policies – released ay the same time by the OECD. Gurría called for a coherent approach to carbon pricing to ensure that price signals sent to consumers, producers and investors alike are consistent and facilitate the gradual phase-out of fossil fuel emissions.

High risk green energy drives Wall Street’s top-performing fund

By David Randall, Planet Ark, 9 October 2013 | Landis, the portfolio manager of the tiny $6.7 million Firsthand Alternative Energy fund , has posted a return of 79.6 percent for the year through October 7, the best performance of any actively-managed stock fund in the United States that doesn’t use leverage, according to Lipper. His very good year follows one of his worst. Landis closed out 2012 with a decline of 23.5 percent, one of the poorest performances among his Morningstar category and nearly 40 percentage points less than the MSCI World index. The roughly 100 percentage point swing in performance between 2012 and 2013 is the largest for any U.S. mutual fund over that time, according to Lipper. Landis’ green energy bets, especially on the solar industry, could remain volatile.

Congo carbon plan kicks off

By Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 9 October 2013 | After lifting off this week from the chaotic urban jungle of Kinshasa, scientists guided a twin-engine aircraft over the real jungle. With a small onboard laser, they began sweeping the vast rainforest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bouncing photons off leaves and branches. The aim is to measure — and perhaps to preserve — the carbon locked up in the tropical forests that cover two-thirds of the country. The data will also enhance scientists’ understanding of tropical forests’ role in global climate regulation. “We know very little about the tropics,” says Sassan Saatchi, a remote-sensing scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who is leading the data analysis for the project. “If these countries know how to monitor their forests quantitatively, it will help us solve the problem.”

Ecuadorean Voters May Decide Fate of Yasuni National Park

By David Dudenhoefer, ENS, 9 October 2013 | Decisions in two branches of Ecuador’s government have set the stage for a final battle over oil extraction in Yasuni National Park, a mega-diverse rainforest reserve in that country’s portion of the Amazon Basin where President Rafael Correa has decided to drill for oil. Last Thursday, Ecuador’s congress approved drilling in two oil concessions in the northeast corner of Yasuni National Park – the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) block and the adjacent block 31, which together hold more than 20 percent of the nation’s petroleum reserves. Ecuador’s 2008 constitution prohibits extractive industries in protected areas, but allows for exceptions in cases of national interest. Legislators from Correa’s Alianza PAIS party and allies approved the resolution of national interest for drilling in Yasuni with a vote of 108 in favor and 25 against.

Climate and energy targets – EU largely on track but mixed picture across Member States

EEA, 9 October 2013 | European Union Member States are showing mixed progress towards three climate and energy targets for 2020, even though the EU as a whole could reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 21% in 2020 with the set of national measures already adopted. These findings come from new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessments. EEA’s report ‘Trends and projections in Europe 2013’ considers EU progress in meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. The European Union reduced emissions between 1990 and 2012 by approximately 18 % – so it is already close to the target of 20 % emissions reduction by 2020.

[Panama] Expedition Kuna: a tropical rainforest forgotten by time

By Ira Sutherland, McGill Reporter, 9 October 2013 | We are permitted access by Panama’s Kuna indigenous people because our objective is to train the Kuna in methods to measure and evaluate the carbon stored in their forests. Panama is a testing ground for an ambitious United Nations program called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), which aims to collect money from developed nations like Canada to pay landholders in developing nations not to cut down their forests. The program holds tremendous potential to reduce global deforestation and associated CO2 emissions, which account for about 20 per cent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, REDD+ is difficult to implement, and often criticized, in part, because its alleged that local people will likely not receive fair compensation while sacrificing autonomy over their forest.

Sweden to buy 500,000 cookstove CO2 credits

By Susanna Twidale, Reuters Point Carbon, 9 October 2013 | Sweden will buy 500,000 U.N.-backed carbon offsets from a clean cookstove project in Ghana over the next three-to-four years, the developer of the scheme said late Tuesday. Sweden’s Energy Agency will pay for the credits once they have been issued by the U.N., said Tom Morton, director of Climate Care, adding that the company will apply to the U.N. for the Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) in the first quarter of next year. “Sweden wants to support projects that have real community benefits as well as reducing CO2,” he said. He would not reveal the exact price of the deal but said Sweden will pay more than the current price for CER credits on the secondary market. The value of exchange-traded CERs has sunk to around 60 cents from over 20 euros five years ago, after countries failed to agree a global climate pact that would have spurred demand. But developers of cookstove projects say their permits command a premium…

[USA] Alaska sinks as climate change thaws permafrost

By Wendy Koch, USA Today, 9 October 2013 | The thawing of permafrost — frozen ground covering most of Alaska — doesn’t just damage roads, buildings and airport runways. It also releases vast amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases… The nation’s last frontier is — in many ways — its ground zero for climate change. Alaska’s temperatures are rising twice as fast as those in the lower 48, prompting more sea ice to disappear in summer. While this may eventually open the Northwest Passage to sought-after tourism, oil exploration and trade, it also spells trouble as wildfires increase, roads buckle and tribal villages sink into the sea.

10 October 2013

Why the media has gone silent on climate change

By Hilal Elver, Al Jazeera, 10 October 2013 | The IPCC clearly indicates that “the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea levels have risen, and the concentration of greenhouse is at the highest level in 800,000 years”. Moreover, the most extreme IPCC scenario points to an average warming during this century of 3.6 degrees C, which many experts believe would be catastrophic. The panel of climate experts also endorsed a “carbon budget” for humanity, placing a limit on the amount of the carbon dioxide that can be prudently produced by industrial activities and the clearing of forests. The limit is one trillion metric tones. Over a half-trillion tons have already been burned since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Shift to a new climate likely by mid-century – study

By Alister Doyle, Planet Ark, 10 October 2013 | Billions of people could be living in regions where temperatures are hotter than their historical ranges by mid-century, creating a “new normal” that could force profound changes on nature and society, scientists said on Wednesday. Temperatures in an average year would be hotter by 2047, give or take 14 years, than those in the warmest year from 1860-2005 if the greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, with the tropics the first affected area, a new index indicated. “The results shocked us. Regardless of the scenario, changes will be coming soon,” lead author Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii said. “Within my generation whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past.”

Green Climate Fund sidesteps firm date for donor pledges

By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 10 October 2013 | The board of the fledgling U.N. Green Climate Fund has disappointed some developing countries, as well as climate finance campaigners, by failing to set a date for raising funds from wealthy governments, during the board’s meeting in Paris this week. A decision on filling the fund – which remains empty apart from money for its own administration – asks its secretariat to “make arrangements with all interested contributors for the initial resource mobilisation process” no later than three months after the board approves a list of “essential requirements” for it to operate. Those are due to be settled at two meetings in 2014, tentatively scheduled for February and late May. This means significant pledges are unlikely to be made before next September, and leaves wriggle room for delay if things don’t go according to plan, climate finance experts said.

Coalition calls for indigenous representation in REDD Partnership

The Jakarta Post, 10 October 2013 | Indigenous people should have a permanent representative in a partnership of 75 countries that aims to decrease the global carbon footprint through reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), a civil society coalition says. Asia- and Australia-based members of the REDD+ Safeguards Working Group (R-SWG), a North-South coalition of civil society and indigenous people’s organizations, issued the call for indigenous people to be granted full partner status in the REDD+ Partnership, a global platform for countries to scale up actions and financing for REDD+ initiatives. “The REDD+ Partnership and the international community are missing an opportunity to learn lessons from the ground on the participation of and respect for the rights of indigenous people,” Climate Justice Programme president Stephen Leonard said in an official release.

New study forecasts over 25 percent depletion of world’s forests

By Robert Myles,, 10 October 2013 | Forests worldwide will continue to slowly shrink before leveling out at a lower level, say researchers based at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in a new study. Varied trends, mostly downwards in terms of forest cover, affect the world’s forest from illegal logging in Indonesia, associated with palm oil production, causing horrendous smog hundreds of miles away in Singapore to natural phenomena like ash-dieback disease, currently affecting many established hardwoods in Western Europe. The Guelph University researchers analyzed forests trends around the world, developing a mathematical model showing future land use changes. Their findings make dispiriting reading for those arguing that forest cover needs to be maintained as part of a strategy to lockdown carbon that would otherwise find its way into Earth’s atmosphere as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

[Denmark] Climate minister sets roadmap for new global climate deal

By Peter Stanners, The Copenhagen Post, 10 October 2013 | Taking steps to minimise climate change now is cheaper than adapting to later problems created by inaction, argues the climate minister, Martin Lidegaard (Radikale), who wants to start the groundwork for the new climate deal that is expected in 2015. Climate change is no longer up for discussion according to Lidegaard. A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed with 95 percent certainty that climate change is real and is a result of human activity. “The IPCC report is another political wake-up call,” Lidegaard said. “[Climate change] is one of the greatest challenges that my generation of politicians has ever had to face and unless we do something about it soon, it will become too expensive or even impossible to solve.”

[USA] Texas Forests provide $93 billion in environmental benefits each year

The Vindicator, 10 October 2013 | It’s easy to figure out how much a tree is worth when it is harvested for lumber, paper or firewood. But what about when it’s still standing tall in the forest, providing shade on sunny days, giving homes to woodland animals and helping clean the air you breathe and the water you drink? Just how much is that worth? Almost $93 billion each year, according to a first-of-its-kind study for Texas conducted by Texas A&M Forest Service. The figure was derived through the Texas Statewide Assessment of Forest Ecosystem Services, a compilation of the environmental benefits and their monetary value provided by Texas’ more than 60 million acres of forestland. “Through this assessment, we hope to foster a greater awareness of the overall importance of forestlands,” said Forester Hughes Simpson, who coordinates the Texas A&M Forest Service’s Water Resources program. “Forests provide services that humans can’t live without.”

11 October 2013

The Forest Mafia: How Scammers Steal Millions Through Carbon Markets

By Ryan Jacobs, The Atlantic, 11 October 2013 | As the only international law enforcement agency “with a trans-boundary mandate, with designed units addressing both environmental and financial crimes,” Interpol is one of the only agencies fully equipped to parse the data and identify carbon fraud at both the project and market levels. About a year ago, it began expanding and developing its intelligence on the emerging markets so that it could eventually advise and assist its 190 member countries in dismantling scams as new ones came online. Its recent report intended to put its member countries “on notice about the potential pitfalls” of the trading systems, according to Davyth Stewart, a criminal intelligence officer with Interpol’s environmental crime unit. It highlighted the types of financial fraud the EU-ETS has already become accustomed to in hopes of forestalling similar schemes abroad. “The experience we’ve had with Europe was that it was often the case of chasing their tail.”

China to have ETS ‘by 2020’

Climate Spectator, 11 October 2013 | Australian research suggests China will have introduced a nationwide emissions trading scheme (ETS) and a carbon tax by the end of the decade. A team from the Australian National University surveyed nearly 100 China-based carbon pricing experts about the likelihood of the world’s biggest emitter implementing an economy-wide scheme. The inaugural China Carbon Pricing Survey, the first of its kind, found there was “strong confidence” that China would proceed to a nationals ETS in a bid to drive down its emissions. The survey was released as the OECD urged world governments to put a price on carbon, arguing a carbon tax or ETS should be at the cornerstone of all global efforts to tackle climate change. ANU associate professor Frank Jotzo said it would be a big deal if China – the world’s second largest economy – made the shift to a market-based scheme.

3 Peruvian states join sub-national push for REDD, 11 October 2013 | An initiative that is developing a framework for REDD+ programs at state and provincial levels gained three more members last week. The Peruvian departments of San Martin, Loreto, and Ucayali officially joined the Governors’ Climate & Forests Taskforce (GCF), a body of states and provinces in Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States that is setting up rules for projects that aim to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The addition of the three Peruvian departments means that jurisdictions representing 80 percent of Peru’s forest cover are now part of the GCF. More than 20 percent of the world’s tropical forests are located in GCF states, provinces, and departments.

Global Initiative Gears Up For Reducing Forest Destruction and Degradation in Viet Nam, 11 October 2013 | The Government of Viet Nam today took another major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and rural development with the gathering of more than 100 stakeholders from national government, local authorities, non-government organizations and development partners at an inception workshop in Ha Noi to shape the implementation of UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II. It follows a Joint Declaration on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) signed by Norway and Viet Nam in late 2012. As part of the Declaration, the Government of Norway has provided a NOK180 million (US$30 million) grant to support the implementation of the UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme. This makes Viet Nam one of a very select group of countries taking REDD+ to the next level, moving from “getting ready for REDD+” to implementing activities on the ground.

12 October 2013

Delhi’s urban forestry project to get carbon credits

By Jayashree Nandi, Times Of India, 12 October 2013 | The Delhi government’s urban forestry project in the wasteland of Deramandi has been chosen by the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change (UNFCC) for clean development mechanism (CDM). This essentially means that the project will be entitled to carbon credits for the extent of reduction in carbon emissions, which could be traded in the international carbon market for money. The forest department officials, who recently learnt about their selection, said Delhi’s is the only such project to be selected from India. The Deramandi project focuses on rejuvenating grasslands and planting native varieties. The land, spanning across 358 hectares in the southeastern part of the southern Aravali ridge, is very close to Delhi-Haryana border.

[Guyana] Amaila Falls runs dry

Kaieteur News, 12 October 2013 | The Amaila Falls which was intended to supply the nation with 165 megawatts of electricity and save Guyana millions of US dollars is bone dry. Yesterday, Works Minister Robeson Benn said that it is not unusual for waterfalls used to provide hydroelectricity to run dry. He pointed to power stations in Suriname and in Brazil. He said that when the contractors would have built a dam that would have stored water to smoothen the flow regime. The dam would have given rise to a reservoir which would have been used to regulate the flow of water for the hydro… But if indeed that were to be the case then whenever the falls runs dry the nation would have experienced severe power outages. Amaila would certainly not have been worth the money spent to build it.

13 October 2013

PHOTO credit: Image created using

Leave a Reply