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REDD in the news: 16-22 December 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.

Tools to Address the Drivers of Deforestation through Public and Private Sector Synergies

The Global Canopy Programme, December 2013 | Successful efforts to reduce deforestation and degradation will need to directly address their respective drivers; namely agricultural production for domestic and international supply chains. Earlier this year, the Global Canopy Programme (GCP), in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation, CDP and other sponsors convened government representatives, private sector actors, and civil society participants for a workshop to increase cross-sectoral understanding of the drivers of deforestation, and to explore a range of potential options for tackling these drivers from both public and private perspectives. Based on that workshop, GCP and NWF propose a toolbox that leverages the actions of governments, businesses and civil society.

UN-REDD Newsletter 43

UN-REDD, December 2013 | In the November 2013 issue of the UN-REDD Programme newsletter, we share highlights from the Programme’s Fifth Anniversary celebrations at the UNFCCC COP19 and the Oslo REDD Exchange. Also read more on the UN-REDD Programme’s latest success story from Viet Nam, the programme’s work on Stakeholder Engagement and Anti-Corruption, as well as REDD+ updates from Bangkok, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the DRC, Ecuador and Sri Lanka.

16 December 2013

Efforts to Protect Tropical Forests Take Big Step Forward – and Money Awaits

By Ken Andrasko,, 16 December 2013 | Last week in Paris, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s partners and stakeholders agreed on groundbreaking rules for investments in tropical forest protection in developing nations – a framework that will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our rapidly warming world. Capping an intense five days of negotiations, this major milestone unblocks $390 million in funding held in escrow in the facility’s Carbon Fund. The agreement (formally known as a Methodological Framework) spells out how tropical countries should design and implement large-scale protection programs in the lowland and mountain forests of the tropics. In return, the countries get results-based payments from donor countries that support climate policy and social development goals.

FCPF Adopts Methodological Framework, Norway Pledges $100 Million

Forests Policy & Practice (IISD), 16 December 2013 | The Eighth Meeting of the Carbon Fund (CF8) of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) approved the Methodological Framework, which presents a set of rules guiding the finance of large-scale investments in tropical forest conservation and restoration. The Methodological Framework is meant to be employed by Carbon Fund participants, along with other selection criteria, to select Emission Reductions (ER) Programs into the Carbon Fund portfolio, including programs proposed by REDD+ countries. The Carbon Fund currently has $390 million available for allocation.

[Indonesia] Govt plan to lift ban on log exports questioned

By Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post, 16 December 2013 | After a decade-long fight against illegal logging, the idea of resuming log exports is heating up following a recent proposal by the Forestry Ministry. Under the proposal, logs sourced from productive forests, either community plantation forests (HTR) or industrial forest concessions (HTI), by firms holding certificates under the timber legality verification system (SVLK) can be shipped overseas. “The exports will be limited to companies fulfilling the certification requirement, thereby it will not happen on a massive scale,” Forestry Ministry’s secretary-general Hadi Daryanto told The Jakarta Post. No quota would be imposed and the log trading would be mainly driven by market demand, he added.

[USA] Initiative: Carbon-credit dollars for timber lots

By Nigel Duara, Associated Press, 16 December 2013 | For most of Oregon’s history, the forests like the ones near Paul Nys’ house were places where a landowner could get wealthy. Cultivated from seed, rows of trees were grown to a healthy middle age and then chopped down, buzzed into lumber at sawmills and shipped out. Over the years, the retired schoolteacher has had many offers to buy his property, like many other landowners in the state’s timber region, from both timber companies and developers. And each time, he would say no thanks. Now 74, Nys and his wife have an unusual offer: Instead of getting money so someone could chop his trees down, he might get paid to leave them up. It’s part of a program to preserve the forest land so that the trees can help absorb greenhouse gases.

17 December 2013

Global climate game abandons biodiversity

By Penny van Oosterzee, The Conversation, 17 December 2013 | The latest climate talks in Warsaw may have achieved little in the way of action on climate change, but they were even worse for biodiversity. In fact, since early climate talks in the 1990s, biodiversity has vanished from international and Australian climate policy. So, why has biodiversity become decoupled from climate change? Biodiversity is the global blind spot in climate change. Food, shelter, clean water and a climate that nurtures life are underpinned by biodiversity. It is simply not possible to avoid dangerous climate change without taking into account ecosystem services, the product of biodiversity.

Jump-Starting the Green Climate Fund

By Michele de Nevers, Center For Global Development, 17 December 2013 | Hela Cheikhrouhou has a tough job. As the first ever executive director of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) she is tasked with establishing a new institution for climate finance amidst considerable fatigue with concept of new climate finance bureaucracy; raising billions of dollars at a time when many promising donor countries face fiscal austerity; and devising implementation processes that satisfy the interests of developing and developed countries, as well as appeal to ministries of environment (critical GCF sponsors) and ministries of finance (funding managers). These are daunting demands, it’s too bad there’s no off-the-shelf example she could draw upon. Oh wait, there is. The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) was set up as an interim financing mechanism aimed at understanding the benefits of scaled-up financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

International carbon bank could revive flagging market

By Jessica Cheam, Eco-Business, 17 December 2013 | In a report released earlier this month, the Brookings Institution, a US think tank, recommended the setting up of a new international carbon market reserve with the authority to adjust the supply of global carbon market securities to stabilize the market. The most logical candidates for housing such a reserve are the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and United Nations, it said. In its paper, Trading Up, it noted that based on existing policies, carbon markets will cover roughly three billion people and a major share of the world’s economy by 2015, despite some high-profile setbacks for carbon schemes such as in Australia. One of the paper’s authors, Nigel Purvis, non-resident senior fellow at Brookings and president of consulting firm Climate Advisers, noted that the oversupply of low-cost but valuable carbon credits is an “anomaly in a world of rising energy prices”.

Re-thinking investment in landscapes to aid sustainable development

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 17 December 2013 | As scientists strategize about how best to introduce a holistic, “landscapes” approach to balance tradeoffs between conservation and development, policymakers and practitioners are considering how they can “invest” in landscapes, and whether they can be billed as investment opportunities. Such questions were discussed at an event hosted by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF). Around the world, investments are being made in agricultural development, hydropower, mining, and road construction projects, which will affect vast areas of land. Green growth and climate-resilient growth policy agendas are also capturing the attention of large-scale investment programs, primarily for infrastructure.

[Australia] Tasmania protects more forests in next step towards industry peace deal

ABC News, 17 December 2013 | The State Government has taken another significant step in securing Tasmania’s historic forest peace deal. The ABC understands the Government’s executive council, made up of the Governor and senior ministers, has signed off on the permanent protection of about 100,000 hectares of forest. It means the State Environment Department has agreed with Parliament that the area should not be logged, as required under the peace deal laws. Most of the area has already been listed on the World Heritage register and includes parts of the Styx and Florentine. Insiders are hailing the news as a significant milestone. They say going into next year’s state election without formal reserves would have destabilised the peace deal. Labor MPs had been under pressure from at least one industry group to hold off on the final approval.

[USA] Obama and Climate Change: The Real Story

By Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone, 17 December 2013 | Two years ago, on a gorgeous November day, 12,000 activists surrounded the White House to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Signs we carried featured quotes from Barack Obama in 2008: “Time to end the tyranny of oil”; “In my administration, the rise of the oceans will begin to slow.” Our hope was that we could inspire him to keep those promises. Even then, there were plenty of cynics who said Obama and his insiders were too closely tied to the fossil-fuel industry to take climate change seriously. But in the two years since, it’s looked more and more like they were right – that in our hope for action we were willing ourselves to overlook the black-and-white proof of how he really feels.

18 December 2013

Toss clichés aside and consider gender in ‘landscape’ context — expert

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 December 2013 | Crafting development strategies based on credible research results rather than relying on outdated, unsubstantiated statistics will eliminate gender stereotypes and boost the fight against climate change, a development expert says. Steering sustainable development polices toward a “landscapes approach” framework, which applies an integrated approach to land management, will make the relevance of gender to environmental debates even more apparent, said Seema Arora-Jonsson, associate professor of rural development with the University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden.

Ecosystem Marketplace Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 December 2013 | Just scant weeks after the Conference of the Parties (COP19) in Warsaw, the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) announced a new methodological framework for its Carbon Fund. The framework unshackles nearly $390 million already committed to these programs, which will set an important precedent for other policy initiatives that are aiming to protect tropical forests, explains The Nature Conservancy Director Duncan Marsh. The Carbon Fund is designed to pilot reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) programs that use performance-based payments – but only in countries that have completed an initial “readiness” phase through the FCPF’s Readiness Fund.

[Australia] Tasmania protects more forests in next step towards industry peace deal

By Zoe Edwards, ABC News, 18 December 2013 | The State Government has taken another significant step in securing Tasmania’s historic forest peace deal. The Government’s executive council, made up of the Governor and senior ministers, has signed off on the permanent protection of about 100,000 hectares of forest. It means the State Environment Department has agreed with Parliament that the area should not be logged, as required under the peace deal laws. Most of the area has already been listed on the World Heritage register and includes parts of the Styx and Florentine. It will be managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service.

EU carbon prices hit seven weeks high

By Muhammad Iqbal, Business Recorder, 18 December 2013 | European carbon prices hit a seven week high on Wednesday in thin trade and on the back of an absence of government auctions of permits. The December 2014 EU Allowance (EUA) contract hit 5.09 euros during the session, its loftiest level since Oct. 30. The benchmark futures fell back to 5 euros at the close, 1 cent down on Tuesday’s settlement. “Prices moved up and down in very thin volume but it looks like the market is more comfortable around five euros,” a trader said, adding that the lack of a government auction on Wednesday had allowed prices to spike.

Fiji granted $US3.8m to support REDD readiness efforts

Islands Business magazine, 18 December 2013 | Fiji has been allocated a grant of up to US$3.8 millions to support REDD+ readiness efforts in the country… Amongst others, the grant will support a more informed participation of stakeholders (especially local communities) in REDD+, the development of instruments to ensure optimal benefits for resource owners and the better monitoring of Fiji’s forests. The resolution passed at the 16th meeting of participants committee of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) saw Fiji included as a REDD+ country in the FCPF and allocated a readiness preparation grant of up to US$3.8mil for a 4-year phase. The funds were granted after a rigorous review process of REDD+ readiness preparation proposals (RPPs) submitted by 11 countries. Fiji was one of the 8 countries to successfully meet the requirements for funding.

Pakistan secures $3.8 million World Bank fund to combat climate change

By Aamir Saeed, Business Recorder, 18 December 2013 | Pakistan has won dollars 3.8 million Readiness Fund of Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to combat climate change and tropical deforestation after a tough competition at Geneva, Switzerland. The FCPF is the World Bank administered facility that is set up to compensate developing countries for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions achieved by preserving their forests. A total of eight new countries including Pakistan have been selected for the FCPF fund after Norway pledged dollars 100 million to the fund. The countries selected for the fund include Pakistan, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cote d’lvoire, Fiji, Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Togo.

19 December 2013

Will REDD be the saviour of the world’s rainforests?

By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 19 December 2013 | Last week, representatives from countries across the world gathered in Geneva with a common mission: to figure out how to stop the destruction of the planet’s rainforests. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation, known as REDD+, is a UN-designed scheme to ensure that it becomes more profitable for developing countries to leave their precious rainforest resources standing, rather than chopping them down and selling the wood. The only way to do this is to persuade rich countries to pay the forest nations to preserve their trees. Forest degradation and deforestation is one of the prime drivers of climate change, accounting for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, as the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.

How Asia Leads on Carbon Emissions Trading

By Terry Townshend, The Moscow Times, 19 December 2013 | It is not well known that Kazakhstan, a nation whose landmass exceeds that of Western Europe and boasts the largest economy in Central Asia, introduced a carbon trading scheme earlier this year. It is the first Asian nation to take on an economy-wide cap, and the trading system has been designed to help it achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Indonesia is also considering carbon trading, and in 2014 Thailand will introduce a voluntary emissions trading system, likely to be a precursor to a mandatory scheme. These developments follow hot on the heels of the landmark passage in May 2012 of a South Korean law that introduces a carbon trading scheme in 2015. Kazakhstan, Thailand and South Korea are only the latest in a growing list of Asia-Pacific nations to embrace carbon trading.

Expected to be China’s biggest, Guangdong carbon mkt begins briskly

By Kathy Chen, Reuters, 19 December 2013 | The first day’s trading in what will be by far the largest carbon market in China kicked off briskly on Thursday with pricing in line with expectations, as Beijing continues its drive to slow its rapid growth of heat-trapping emissions. Volumes in Guangdong’s carbon permit market, expected to be the world’s second largest in terms of carbon dioxide covered, in early trade surpassed full-day totals during the launches of the country’s three other carbon exchanges. China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, wants to use markets to achieve its target to cut emissions per unit of GDP to 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 at the lowest possible cost.

[DR Congo] Offsetters Closes Sale of Interest in Mai Ndombe REDD Project

Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc press release, 19 December 2013 | Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc, has completed the sale of its interest in the Mai Ndombe Joint Venture Project to Wildlife Works Carbon, LLC, as detailed in the Company’s news release dated October 31, 2013. Prior to this Agreement, ERA and Wildlife Works were 50/50 joint venture partners in the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The assets sold to WWC comprising the JV Project include all of ERA’s shares in its DRC subsidiary, ERA Congo SPRL, and the Company’s shares of its Hawaiian subsidiary together with all rights, title and interest in forest concession rights, community agreements and other contracts relating to the JV Project. WWC has remitted its first payment towards a total consideration of USD$1,800,000 under the terms of the sales agreement.

[Indonesia] Companies face multiple charges for forestry crimes

By Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post, 19 December 2013 | Law enforcement agencies and ministries have applied multiple laws to net dozens of companies accused of being involved in forest fires, illegal logging and mining activities in protected forest areas. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of the Presidential Working Unit for Supervision and Management Development (UKP4) said that cooperation between the National Police, the Environment Ministry, the Forestry Ministry, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) was needed to support the government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions under the REDD+ program.

20 December 2013

Time to ‘connect the dots’ among gender, forests, REDD , experts say

By Julie Mollins, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 20 December 2013 | Despite the large quantity of climate-change research focused on adaptation, mitigation and gender, not much of it is leading to transformative action on the ground, said a top forestry expert at the recent U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. Improving technology, generating political will, crafting gender sensitive policies and promoting strong women’s networks could help bolster the fight against climate change while improving gender relations and protecting forests, said Esther Mwangi, a senior scientist with the Forests and Governance Program at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

2013: The Year In Voluntary Carbon

By Gloria Gonzalez, Ecosystem Marketplace, 20 December 2013 | Perhaps it is fitting that 2013 was the Year of the Snake, as the carbon markets certainly endured plenty of twists and turns over the past 12 months. For carbon market advocates, the year got off to a troublesome start as the grandfather of compliance trading programs, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), dropped to a record low. But by the end of 2013, positive developments on the compliance front in certain jurisdictions, namely California and China, as well as the continuing commitment of voluntary buyers to invest in attractive projects, sustains hope for expansion in 2014 and beyond.

Amazon roads and dams pose threat to rainforest and indigenous peoples

By Pete Guest, The Guardian, 20 December 2013 | The oil industry has already taken over her ancestral lands in Putumayo, in south-western Colombia. Gas flaring has led to respiratory illnesses, water has been polluted and traditional lands taken away. What few jobs the industry has provided are menial and insecure, so young men are driven to the drug trade, women to prostitution. HIV rates are rising, as is crime… Now a new highway is going to be built through the region, part of a $70bn investment programme for the Amazon led by the Brazilian Development Bank, BNDES. As Colombia prepares for significant investment in its infrastructure and natural resources, governments and companies are promising social and economic benefits for all.

Australia Picks Panel to Help Set Emission Baselines, Penalties

By Ben Sharples, Bloomberg, 20 December 2013 | Australia, the world’s second-biggest coal exporter, has picked more than a dozen industry representatives and academics to help set baselines, credits and possible penalties designed to reduce emissions. The Emissions Reduction Fund is the “center piece” of the new government’s Direct Action plan to cut pollution to 5 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said today in Melbourne as he released a report known as a green paper. The fund will start July 1, 2014, Hunt said. The Liberal National coalition led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pledged to spend A$1.55 billion ($1.37 billion) over three years on the fund and has introduced legislation to repeal programs set up by the previous government, including a fixed price on carbon through July 2015 and emissions trading after that.

Brazil salutes Chico Mendes 25 years after his murder

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 20 December 2013 | This weekend, Brazil will mark the 25th anniversary of that murder, which far from killing off the forest conservation campaign has boosted its profile throughout the country and across the world, influencing a generation of conservationists and policymakers. Mendes is now a symbol of the global environment movement. The Brazilian government has declared him Patron of the Brazilian Environment. Institutions have been named after him, including the main state agency in charge of conservation – the Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade. After his death, Mendes’s home state of Acre in the western Amazon has pioneered the establishment of extractive reserves.

Burkina Faso admitted into forest carbon partnership facility

WorldStage News, 20 December 2013 | Burkina Faso, benefitting from the close support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank, has successfully become a member of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). This now qualifies Burkina Faso as a REDD * country and, with the award of a US $3.8-million grant, allows the country to put in place the necessary policies and systems needed to effectively operationalize the REDD mechanism. This marks a significant step forward for Burkina Faso, a Sahel country where wooded areas and forests cover approximately 13 million hectares, roughly equivalent to 43 per cent of the total land area, and forest reserves account for almost 4 million hectares. However, despite these abundant forest resources, annual deforestation is estimated to be 107,000 hectares per year, while degradation is estimated at 0.5 million hectares per year.

Cyprus could raise €80m from carbon credits

By Elias Hazou, Cyprus Mail, 20 December 2013 | Over the course of the next seven years (2014 to 2020), Cyprus may raise some €80m from the auctioning off of carbon credits, minister of agriculture and the environment Nicos Kouyialis said yesterday. The proceeds would come from selling surplus carbon allowances, or credits, to other EU countries given that Cyprus would remain below its emissions quota, said Kouyialis. He was speaking after a meeting of the Cabinet which decided, among others, the establishment of a ‘Green Development Fund’. Kouyialis said the fund would be used for ‘green projects’ – such as investing in electric buses, energy-saving buildings, and R&D in renewable energy sources – aimed at further lowering the island’s carbon footprint.

[Guyana] US continuing democracy project despite gov’t snub

Stabroek News, 20 December 2013 | The United States Embassy yesterday announced that the $300M Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) project will continue with or without government’s participation, while denying the Donald Ramotar administration’s claim that it had no input. “Absolutely… the project contractor is on the ground. We will engage with those stakeholders who wish to engage…We will continue to work in that spirit. We hope government will find a way to work with us,” said US Ambassador Brent Hardt yesterday, when asked if the project will continue… [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Indonesia] REDD agency to begin work soon

By Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post, 20 December 2013 | The newly established Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) agency is set to continue the success of its predecessor. In September, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a presidential decree on the establishment of the agency to take over the duties of the REDD+ task force. The task force was formed in 2010, as part of the government’s commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020. The new agency will continue some of the programs deemed successful. Programs include the one map initiative and the implementation of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system to monitor carbon flux and estimate the size of carbon reservoirs.

Vietnam And World Bank Sign First Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement For Renewable Energy Development

Eurasia Review, 20 December 2013 | Vietnam is now ready to launch a carbon finance program that will help green the country’s national electricity grid in a commercially sustainable manner. Under an agreement signed today between the Government of Vietnam and the World Bank’s Carbon Partnership Facility (CPF) – the first between the two parties – the CPF will purchase carbon credits generated by the World Bank-funded Renewable Energy Development Project (REDP) under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. The CPF, with Sweden, Norway and Spain as Buyer Participants, will buy the first three million metric tons of carbon credits generated through small hydropower development under REDP, creating a revenue stream for the projects. The REDP is a $202 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s concessional lending window.

21 December 2013

[India] Responsibility through forestry schemes, a winning alliance

By Meghna Laghate Daver, Deccan Herald, 21 December 2013 | Of particular importance is the National Mission for a Green India or Green India Mission (GIM) which aims at enhancing carbon sinks in sustainably managed forests and other ecosystems, adaptation of vulnerable species/ecosystems to the changing climate and adaptation of forest-dependent communities. GIM and REDD plus are both based on the central principle of forest conservation and enhancement of ecosystem services for carbon and non-carbon benefits. According to a recent news report, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is seeking private sector participation for their Green India Mission programme. This Rs 46,000-crore project spanning a 10 year period, is set to converge with schemes with those of ministry of rural development like Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Rural Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).

22 December 2013

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