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REDD in the news: 16-22 June 2014

REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, organised by date with short extracts (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

UN-REDD Reflects on Five Years of Support for REDD

Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), June 2014 | The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (UN-REDD), after five years of support for REDD readiness, has reviewed the evolution of the REDD landscape. The review focuses, in particular, on the five thematic areas of UN-REDD: measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), governance, stakeholder engagement, safeguards and multiple benefits, and the green economy. The publication, titled ‘On the Road to REDD ,’ highlights a shift from a strong carbon focus to a more holistic focus on REDD as a contribution to sustainable development. The publication features milestones and case studies such as the participatory governance assessment (PGA) process in Indonesia, the participation of indigenous peoples in Paraguay, and mapping multiple benefits in Tanzania.

Supply and Demand Projections

The REDD Desk, June 2014 | In order to achieve REDD+, there needs to be predictable, long-term finance available to incentivise conservation and sustainable use of forests, protect biodiversity, and support local communities whose livelihoods are linked to forests. Global economic studies dedicated to estimating the costs of REDD+ find that the annual funding needs are in the tens of billions of dollars. When these figures are considered against the finite amount of public finance available, a significant funding gap is apparent. The graphs below represent a synthesis of emerging compliance market demand and the supply pipeline to better inform public and private sector decision makers.

16 June 2014

Climate change will ‘cost world far more than estimated’

By Tom Bawden, The Independent, 16 June 2014 | Lord Stern, the world’s most authoritative climate economist, has issued a stark warning that the financial damage caused by global warming will be considerably greater than current models predict. This makes it more important than ever to take urgent and drastic action to curb climate change by reducing carbon emissions, he argues. Lord Stern, who wrote a hugely influential review on the financial implications of climate change in 2006, says the economic models that have been used to calculate the fiscal fallout from climate change are woefully inadequate and severely underestimate the scale of the threat. As a result, even the recent and hugely authoritative series of reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are significantly flawed, he said.

U.N. climate talks fracture over future of carbon markets

By Ben Garside, Reuters, 16 June 2014 | The use of carbon markets to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions was dealt a blow on Sunday after two weeks of United Nations talks on designing and reforming the mechanisms ended in deadlock. The negotiations, held as part of U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, made scant progress as envoys representing almost 200 nations tied reforms to progress under the wider discussions and remained entrenched in diverse positions. The stalemate gives investors little sign that there will be a pickup in demand under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the U.N.’s current main carbon market which has seen activity dry up after funneling over $400 billion into emission-cutting projects in developing countries over the past decade. It also offers no guidance on how the growing patchwork of national and regional carbon markets worldwide will fit into a future international framework to tackle climate change.

Upbeat end to Bonn climate talks paves way for further progress

By Frank McDonald, The Irish Times, 16 June 2014 | The latest round of UN climate talks concluded in Bonn yesterday on an upbeat note, with a pledge that elements of a draft treaty aimed at curbing global warming would be circulated to the parties as early as July 15th. Co-chairs Artur Runge-Metzger and Kishan Kumarsingh said: “We are determined to ensure we make these available in July towards a comprehensive new treaty in 2015 that will protect the planet and its people from dangerous climate change. “The co-operative and positive atmosphere so self-evident here in Bonn has now translated into a significant step forward towards the elements of a draft treaty that needs to be a key outcome by the end of the year in Lima, Peru.”

African farmland investments face governance challenges

By George Shoneveld, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 June 2014 | The rush for African farmland has created new opportunities for local elites to capture rents from what have been — until now — poorly monetized land resources. This has stimulated the formation of influential new local coalitions serving the interests of international capital. As a result, the quality of societal representation and the potential for much-needed agricultural investments to contribute to rural poverty alleviation is severely undermined. Foreign investor interest in farmland gained momentum in the wake of the food and energy price crises of the mid-2000s. Investors lacking funds or capacity to actually invest in the land, bank on profiting from rising land values; others, on favorable long-term prospects within international commodity markets.

[Guyana] No money, no information – Commissioner of Info cites budget cuts in spurning request

Stabroek News, 16 June 2014 | The Commissioner of Information, Charles Ramson SC has denied a request made by Transparency Institute Guyana Inc (TIGI) under the Access to Information Act for a copy of a US$660,000 contract for a financial management system for government ministries; Ramson cited budget cuts. President of TIGI Anand Goolsarran made the request via a letter to Ramson last Monday. TIGI in a statement to the media said its directors have decided to release the correspondence to the public. “We have learnt through the media that two of the seven modules of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMAS), which was implemented in 2004, have not been activated. These are the Purchasing and Asset & Inventory modules,” Goolsarran said.

[India] Have carbon credits benefited small and marginal farmers?

Carbon Market Watch, 16 June 2014 | In October 2010, when we visited the Kauguda village in a very remote location of Odisha in India, I found how a lot of small and marginal farmers – who had been depending on the subsistence agriculture – had fallen prey to an elusive design of development called the ‘eucalyptus plantation’ all in the name of promoting a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Afforestation and Reforestation project by JK Paper Mills. I just returned from a fresh visit to the same villages and found that the situation has not changed much. Commercial monoculture for profit of the company has encroached upon the natural farms, farmers have been indebted to loans which they are unable to repay and despite of tall claims in the CDM project documents, there seems to be no people’s participation in the project’s process.

[Indonesia] One Nation, Many Maps in Endless REDD Fumbling

By Harry Pearl, The Jakarta Globe, 16 June 2014 | Development of a centralized forestry map for Indonesia is barely progressing as conflicting land claims and usage data cause problems between communities and businesses, stalling the country’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Disparate maps used by different ministries and levels of government have made data on forest cover unreliable in a country where more than two thirds of land is purportedly forested. The discrepancies have led to scores of overlapping land claims and made progress all but impossible for agencies working towards Indonesia’s REDD commitments… While work towards a definitive geospatial map – dubbed One Map – was first legislated for in 2011, development has been slow. According to Ariana Alisjahbana, an Indonesian research analyst at the World Resources Institute, this makes the implementation of REDD+ goals difficult.

17 June 2014

Can bamboo succeed where carbon markets have failed?

By Troy Wiseman (EcoPlanet Bamboo), Forest Carbon Portal, 17 June 2014 | While carbon markets were designed to incentivize the development of cleaner technologies and climate change mitigation practices, they have proven to be inefficient and in the most part, a failed attempt. With more than a decade lost, and given the near time horizon associated with increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, short and medium term solutions are required in conjunction with the longer term transition away from fossil fuels. Within the forestry and land use sector in particular, allowing a free market to prevail would force innovation and investment, and to happen fast. Why? Because whether the cause is actual scarcity of standing forests, or the increasingly stringent protection measures these forests are being contained within, the simple fact remains; the planet is becoming resource-scarce.

To limit forest loss, Burkina Faso brings communities into decision making

By Brahima Ouedraogo, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 17 June 2014 | While visiting a portion of the Tiogo forest in the center west of Burkina Faso recently, Louis Ouédraogo couldn’t hide his wrath. Someone had entered the forest and cut down about two hectares worth of trees to plant millet as the rainy season approached. “This person should have gone straight to jail had he been caught,” said Ouédraogo, the regional director for the Centre West of Burkina Faso for the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. He urged members of the local Union of Land Use Groups to find the culprit and bring him to the police. Protecting forests in Burkina Faso, as in much of the Sahel, is a continuing challenge. Population growth, expansion of farms and grazing and cutting of wood for cooking and charcoal production have all led to loss of trees or the degradation of forests… This article is part of a series funded by the Climate Investment Funds.

Report dispels perceptions about artisanal logging, milling in Congo Basin

By Joan Baxter, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 17 June 2014 | Small-scale logging and milling in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are not uniformly fraudulent nor unsustainable, new research has found, countering widespread perceptions about the negative impacts of artisanal logging in this central African country. Instead, the three-year study found that a well-regulated artisanal sector could sustain the livelihoods of thousands of rural people while contributing to improved management of DRC’s vast forests. “Artisanal logging constitutes an important source of income for local people, even if the practice remains largely informal and contributes very little to state finances,” said Guillaume Lescuyer, a scientist with the Center for International Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and lead author of the new report…

Report: Japan Plans Carbon Offset Scheme with India

Naharnet, 17 June 2014 | Japan is set to offer India a carbon offset scheme that would see Tokyo’s environmental technology used by the rising Asian giant to help reduce its emissions, a report said. The scheme would see Japanese firms earn carbon credits in return for helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the Nikkei newspaper said in its Monday evening edition, adding India was a likely early partner. The joint crediting mechanism (JCM) would encourage Japanese firms to participate by allowing them to promote technologies such as energy-efficient furnaces and air-conditioning systems, in developing countries with huge market potential such as India. The Nikkei report comes as Japan struggles to further cut its greenhouse gas emissions, with businesses claiming many factories, vehicles and household appliances are already fitted with energy-efficient technologies.

[Tanzania] Programme underway to protect Mt Kilimanjaro from degradation

By Felister Peter, IPP Media, 17 June 2014 | In a bid to mitigate the ongoing devastating climate change effects on Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, the government is implementing a sustainable development programme on land use that will among other things ban the cutting of trees in the region. “We are aware of the negative impacts of climate change on Mt Kilimanjaro…the government in collaboration with international organisations have been taking various measures to protect it,” deputy minister, Vice President’s Office (Environment), Ummy Mwalimu told Law makers yesterday in Parliament. Pointing out that ice melting from Kilimanjaro (30 per cent already lost) is attributed to global warming, according to research conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), she said the four year plan (2011 – 2015) is financed by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) to the tune of USD 3 million for the stated period.

18 June 2014

The Consumer Goods Forum Calls for Binding Global Climate Change Deal

Consumer Good Forum press release, 18 June 2014 | The Board of The Consumer Goods Forum today called on heads of state across the world to engage and act with determination, leadership and ambition to secure an ambitious and legally binding global climate deal. As part of its call for action around climate change, The Forum has also renewed its own commitment to taking action through the two Board-approved climate change resolutions; namely, help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 through the sustainable sourcing of key commodities and to begin phasing-out of hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) in new refrigeration installations by 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants. In doing so, the Board emphasised the unique role of the Consumer Goods Industry in enabling and empowering consumers – through innovation, communication and partnership – to make sustainable changes in their purchasing and in their lives.

Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News

Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 June 2014 | Forget Annex I and II; this month we’re all about Groups A through H as the world’s finest fútbol players battle it out in Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian locales. And of course, we’re paying special attention to Group G, which stands for (reduced) greenhouse gases, our Senior Carbon Associate Gloria Gonzalez, Germany and, most importantly, GOALLLLLLL. But don’t think we’re too distracted by World Cup matches to bring you the news. In fact, we didn’t even have to switch our Google feeds off of FIFA to find something related to carbon offsets: the International Federation of Association Football has pledged to offsets all direct emissions from the World Cup, estimated at 59,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e), and Brazil has encouraged private companies to purchase and donate offsets to help reduce some of the 1.4 million tCO2e or so indirect emissions from the tournament, mainly caused by plane travel.

Biofílica: Fútbol Shines Light On Brazil’s Forests

By Kelley Hamrick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 June 2014 | While emissions reduction projects are dispersed across the world’s fifth largest country, recent initiatives have caught the attention of local businesses. In addition to FIFA’s offsetting goals, Brazil has encouraged private companies to donate offsets for the World Cup. So far, 11 companies have received a Low Carbon seal – representing 30% of the estimated emissions generated – to use in advertising during the games. This marks the first time private sector donations have been used in the quadrennial event. Last year, offsetting in Brazil also scored international headlines when the Brazilian costmetics giant Natura Cosmeticos purchased 120,000 tonnes of carbon from the Paiter-Surui people. The project marked the first indigenous REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) project in the world. Mariama Vendramini, Finance and Commercial Director of Biofílica, spoke to Ecosystem Marketplace…

Q&A on fires and haze in Southeast Asia

By Bruno Vander Velde, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 June 2014 | CIFOR scientist David Gaveau talks about the latest news about the haze and about recent scientific efforts under way to help understand the situation on the ground in Sumatra. Last year, CIFOR published a Q&A feature about the haze in Southeast Asia to help explain how the fires are caused, why they persist, and what can be done about them. In the wake of new research and new developments in the haze situation, we are updating that feature, which follows.

19 June 2014

At summit, experts urge expanding equity as pillar of green economy

By Kerstin Reisdorf, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 19 June 2014 | “Green economy is generally defined as a system which results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities,” said Yurdi Yasmi, Forest Policy Officer for Asia and the Pacific at FAO, during the Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta in May. Such a model, he said, would be “low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive.” The question of equity was a running theme of discussions at the Summit, less a centerpiece of the conversation than a backdrop.

[Guyana] Bai Shan Lin ‘disrespects’ National Assembly

Kaieteur News, 19 June 2014 | It is now two years since the Chinese firm, Bai Shan Lin, has been avoiding invitations to appear before the Natural Resources Sectoral Committee to answer “several burning questions.” This is according to A Partnership for National Unity’s (APNU) Shadow Minister of Public works, Joseph Harmon, a member of that Parliamentary Committee. Harmon said that the “excuses” presented to the committee to avoid parliamentary scrutiny can only be summed up as disrespect for the Committee and by extension, the National Assembly. Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, seems to be encouraging the actions of the conglomerate in this regard, Harmon said. “The Natural Resources Committee has several responsibilities, one of which is ensuring that policies within our ambit are not violated. We wrote to the Minister of Natural Resources informing him that the Committee wanted to visit the work sites and to have a meeting with Bai Shan Lin.

20 June 2014

Black Dragon: UK hacker comes clean on carbon credit thefts

By Michael Szabo, Reuters, 20 June 2014 | A British hacker, speaking out for the first time since he was jailed for attempting to steal 8 million euros ($11 million) (6.45 million pounds) in carbon credits, said he was easily able to break into online government and corporate registries. Matthew Beddoes, known online as the Black Dragon, was arrested in November 2011 with two other men for hacking into carbon trading registries including those of Spain and the United Nations, along with the websites of a London-based commodity broker and an online carbon trading marketplace. Permits stolen from the Spanish registry were sold to a third party, while those taken from the UN were frozen. In March 2013, the men were imprisoned for a combined 5-1/2 years for helping to steal 350,000 credits – worth 3.7 million euros – from an account on Spain’s registry, and for attempting to steal a further 426,000 credits from a UN account valued at 4.1 million euros.

China completes rollout of pilot carbon markets

By Gerard Wynn, RTCC, 20 June 2014 | China launched on Thursday its seventh and final pilot carbon market, ahead of a national scheme expected in 2018. China is piloting emissions trading as one way to drive efficiency and carbon emissions cuts across its heavy industry, and so boost air quality and cut the country’s contribution to climate change. The country has yet to decide whether it will pursue a national cap and trade scheme, where alternatives include a carbon tax or pollution limits. The Chongqing scheme imposes an absolute cap on industrial emissions, at 125 million emissions of carbon dioxide, or 38 percent of the province total. It regulates sectors including power, steel, aluminium, chemicals and cement.

21 June 2014

22 June 2014

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