REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.
Towards REDD+ Integrity: Opportunities and Challenges for Indonesia
By Ahmad Dermawan and Anna Christina Sinaga, U4, February 2015
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD ) has become a cornerstone of Indonesia’s forest sector policies. Given corruption risks in the sector, a number of policies and initiatives – both specifically linked to REDD and to broader national reform efforts – have been launched to ensure that risks of corruption in REDD are minimized. Efforts directly linked to REDD include clarifying REDD regulatory frameworks and institutional arrangements and establishing REDD safeguards. Broader reforms relevant to anti-corruption and REDD include an initiative to clarify the status of state forests, the development of “one map” and “one data” policies, and the establishment of a multi-door approach to address forest crimes. This U4 Issue paper assesses the extent to which these reforms actually address corruption risks.
Emissions Trading Worldwide: ICAP Status Report 2015
International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP), 2015
It Does Not Cost the World to Save the Planet. By putting a price on carbon, ETS incentivizes companies to reduce emissions where it is cheapest to do so. Furthermore, as the systems in North America and Europe showcase, the revenue generated by these systems can be re-invested to ensure emissions are reduced in an ambitious and equitable way. The growth and diversification of carbon markets is a success story, made possible through the dedication of policy-makers in an ongoing process of dialogue and consultation, to which forums like ICAP make an important contribution.
Agriculture and deforestation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: A synthesis of the current state of knowledge
By A. Ickowitz, D. Slayback, P. Asanzi and R. Nasi, Center for International Forestry Research 2015
Deforestation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is significantly lower than in other heavily forested tropical countries. However, there is increasing concern that this rate is likely to accelerate. Many of those concerned about future deforestation argue that shifting cultivation is the primary driver and that if nothing is done to change the practice, it will cause even more forest loss. This study reviews the evidence in support of these claims. In the first section, we compare the results of the most recent remote sensing-based studies on the rate of change in forest cover and try to explain why and how they differ. We then review the literature on the relationship between agriculture and deforestation in the DRC, with particular attention to the role of shifting cultivation.
9 February 2015
Protect human rights to safeguard forests, say campaigners
By Ed King, RTCC, 9 February 2015
A planned new global climate change deal must recognise land and resource rights in order to protect vulnerable forest communities, say campaigners. They warn that, without tougher international safeguards, human rights abuses against indigenous people and environmentalists fighting deforestation will continue to rise. A report released last Wednesday by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) says soaring demand for rubber, oil palm, cattle and soy has decimated forests once owned by local people. “The carbon market is the next global commodity from tropical forests and, once again, there is a major risk that indigenous peoples are not recognized as the owners of the forest,” said Andy White from the RRI.
Ballooning UN climate text risks becoming “unmanageable”
By Ed King, RTCC, 9 February 2015
UN climate change negotiations risk becoming unmanageable unless countries start cutting down a rapidly expanding set of proposals for a global deal. The latest set of talks started on Sunday in Geneva, and already the section of a draft text dealing with greenhouse gas mitigation strategies has ballooned from 3.5 to 11.5 pages. “Everybody has got inspired and they are putting tonnes and tonnes of paragraphs into the text, which is going to be quite unmanageable,” said Claudia Salerno, Venezuela’s climate envoy. The UN hopes the 8-13 February meeting will result in the basis of an agreement that governments can discuss, nearly 10 months before they are expected to rubber stamp it in Paris.
In DR Congo, simple rules could reduce the large impact of small-scale loggers
By Thomas Hubert, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 9 February 2015
Think of the timber industry in tropical forests, and the image of heavy machinery reaping large swaths of trees for multinational firms may come to mind. Yet a new study of the sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reveals that informal, small-scale sawyers serving the domestic market extract up to 13 times as much timber as industrial companies—and suggests simple, short-term measures to improve the management of this sector. “You cannot talk about sustainable forest management if you are leaving out the 90 percent of the production that is in the informal sector,” said Guillaume Lescuyer, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and CIRAD who led the DRC research as part of a series of studies on small-scale logging in Central Africa.
[Ecuador] We can start leaving the oil in the ground right now – here’s how
By Maria Rosa Murmis and Carlos Larrea, The Guardian, 9 February 2015
As the world’s nations prepare to reach binding agreements on climate change this year in Paris, one of the foremost thoughts in political leaders’ minds must – or should – be how to respond to the fact that in order to avoid catastrophe, humanity cannot extract more than about a third of proven fossil fuel reserves. According to scientific evidence, the larger proportion of reserves must be left underground if we are to keep global warming below a 2C rise by 2100. This means that nations must make two critically important decisions: 1) how much carbon each nation is allowed to emit and 2) which reserves are to be exploited and which are not. The world has some experience with the first decision, but none with the second. Yet we don’t have to start from scratch.
10 February 2015
Save the trees: New campaign against deforestation launched
By Karl Ritter, AP, 10 February 2015
Since the money raised by governments and corporations hasn’t managed to halt the destruction of the world’s rainforests — an area the size of Alabama or Greece is lost every year — a new U.S. campaign is now inviting individuals to chip in. The U.S. Agency for International Development and Code REDD, a California-based advocacy group, on Tuesday announced the launch of an online store for carbon offsets, certificates that will fund forest conservation projects in tropical countries. Until now those offsets have mainly been aimed at companies seeking to wipe out their carbon footprint by supporting efforts to stop deforestation, which … is the second-largest human source of climate-warming carbon emissions, behind fossil fuels. “But the demand in that market is pretty low,” said Peter Natiello, USAID’s mission director in Colombia. “We think we can energize a large group of citizens to play a more active role.”
Stand For Trees: Forest Carbon For The Masses?
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 10 February 2015
Forest carbon has always been a touchy-feely way to reduce your carbon footprint – after all, by purchasing a REDD offset, you’re doing more than just fulfilling the requirement of the acronym and “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.” If the project is properly-structured, you’re helping a specific community save a specific patch of endangered rainforest – and in a way that often helps them build schools, fund healthcare, and develop sustainable sources of income for the future. These features could make REDD offsets ideal for individuals – the millions of people around the world who want to be carbon-neutral but don’t know how to offset the few tons of emissions they inevitably generate. The overwhelming majority of REDD offsets, however, are purchased by corporations. Today, the Code REDD consortium announced a new initiative called “Stand For Trees”…
Vast draft text won’t derail Paris talks, says UN climate chief
By Ed King, RTCC, 10 February 2015
Climate diplomats face wading through a huge and rambling set of proposals in their hunt for a UN deal to slow global warming, after officials allowed countries to add extra ideas to a draft text. After two days of talks in Geneva, what was a 38-page document outlining the fundamentals for a global climate change pact – due to be signed off later this year – may have doubled or tripled. “I would say we would probably reach 100 [pages] or maybe a little more than that,” the UN’s climate chief Christiana Figueres told media in a press call on Tuesday. “It’s not a showstopper – what it means that every single view is on the table and it’s very possible if you look at these texts – it’s possible there are duplications that can be streamlined relatively easily.”
[Indonesia] REDD+ runs as usual for Central Kalimantan
Ekuatorial, 10 February 2015
Despite of Indonesia’s agency to reduce emission from deforestation and degradation dissolved into the ministry of environment and forestry, Central Kalimantan would not abandon its position as a pilot province of the program, said an official in Palangka Raya, on Monday (9/2). In 2010, Central Kalimantan was appointed as a pilot province for an initiative dubbed as REDD+, an acronym for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, under an agreement with REDD+ Agency based in Jakarta. However, the agency was dissolved into the ministry of environment and forestry based on a presidential regulation which took effect last January. It generated concern that all agreements made by REDD+ and local governments, such as Central Kalimantan, would be terminated.
By Bernadinus Steni, The Jakarta Post, 10 February 2015
The recently disbanded REDD+ Agency, which has been merged into the Environment and Forestry Ministry, also actively communicated with indigenous groups by incorporating the indigenous participatory map into the thematic map. The agency aimed to be a permanent institution to constantly serve the rights of indigenous peoples to forest and land. The institutional struggle is a big issue for indigenous people. Several laws have been endorsed including a Constitutional Court decision in 2012 to recognize indigenous rights to forests. But there is no institutional establishment to put the decision into practice. The REDD+ Agency took the discretion to accommodate the territorial claims of indigenous peoples. This was like an oasis in the long journey of indigenous peoples toward a real response from a government institution at the level of a ministry.
Tanzania: Thousands Benefit From Timber Exports
Tanzania Daily News, 10 February 2015
Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative (MCDI) has benefited more than 8,100 people in Coast and Lindi regions. MCDI Chairman, Dr Felician Kilahama, recently talked to ‘Business Standard’ on efforts to prevent deforestation in Lindi region through the project… MDCI is piloting a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project in south-eastern Tanzania and as with all of our work, the project seeks to advance forest conservation efforts through effective community development and incentives. REDD+ is based on the transfer of financial incentives, but if well designed, implemented and enforced, REDD+ has the opportunity to generate extra benefits, such as enhanced governance, more secure (tenure) rights, improved environmental services, biodiversity conservation and income from REDD+ related activities.
11 February 2015
‘Forest 500’ Ranks Firms’ Deforestation Policies
Environmental Leader, 11 February 2015
Only six major companies — Danone, Kao Corp., Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser Group, Unilever and HSBC — and one investor, banking and financial services giant HSBC, have comprehensive policies in place to protect tropical forests, according to Global Canopy Programme. The tropical forest think tank today launched its Forest 500, which ranks 250 companies, 150 investors and 50 governments’ efforts to remove deforestation from commodity supply chains on a scale of one to five. Together, these 500 control the global supply chains of key “forest risk commodities” such as soya, palm oil, beef, leather, timber, pulp and paper that have an annual trade value of more than $100 billion and are found in more than 50 percent of packaged products in supermarkets. The ranking shows at the current rate of action the goal of zero deforestation by 2020 will not be met.
UN deal to combat global warming complicated as length of draft text balloons
By Alister Doyle, Reuters, 11 February 2015
Almost 200 nations complicated a drive for a U.N. deal to combat climate change in 2015 on Wednesday by more than doubling the length of a draft negotiating text to about 100 pages of radically varying solutions. Government delegates said the additions at the Geneva talks, set for Feb. 8-13, were to let all countries air their views, ranging from OPEC nations fearful of phasing out fossil fuels to small island states worried about rising sea levels. “It’s like 195 authors trying to write a book together,” said Ahmed Sareer of the Maldives, chair of the 44-nation Alliance of Small Island States, which added text including stress on a need for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s to be expected,” Elina Bardram, head of the European Commission delegation, said of the additions.
To protect wetlands, reach for your toolbox
CIFOR Forests News Blog, 11 February 2015
Policy makers and practitioners just got another tool to protect tropical wetlands from destruction and degradation. Or to be precise, a whole toolbox. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) launched a learning toolbox for its Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation Mitigation Program (SWAMP), a research program that aims to inform policy makers on the crucial role of tropical wetlands in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. The importance of preserving tropical wetlands—mangrove and peat forests—is ever clearer. They store inordinate amounts of carbon. They protect coastlines and wildlife. They are sources of food and water for people. And they’re being lost at a frightful pace. Indonesia, home to most of the world’s mangrove forests, has lost more than 26 percent of them since 1980—the equivalent of losing an area the size of New York City every 18 months.
[Indonesia] Forest protection up in smoke
By Adisti Sukma Sawitri, The Jakarta Post, 11 February 2015
While merging and disbanding a number of institutions related to law enforcement in forestry, Jokowi has effectively halted attempts to end illegal deforestation and reckless business practices that have contributed to land conflicts and paralyzing haze in the region. His merger of the former environment and forestry ministries was initially considered in line with his no-nonsense approach to end cross-sectoral issues regarding problematic forest-clearing policies. There were already concerns that the new Environment and Forestry Ministry would not continue lawsuits against agroforestry companies allegedly involved in producing haze. The merger was later followed by the dissolving of two organizations that had been the backbone of forest governance: the Presidential Working Unit for the Supervision and Management of Development (UKP4) and the REDD+ Management Agency (BP REDD+)…
Indonesia dissolves agency charged with forestry reform
By Loren Bell, mongabay.com, 11 February 2015
The world’s first cabinet-level ministry dedicated to implementing REDD has been dissolved. In accordance with Indonesian Presidential Decree No. 16/2015 the agency known as BP REDD , along with the National Council on Climate Change, has been absorbed into the newly merged Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (MoEF) as part of a massive government restructuring. Former leaders of BP REDD may be kept on as advisors to the new Directorate General of Climate Change Oversight—one of nine Directorates General established during the restructuring and merging of the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forestry. The move is part of a push by newly elected President Joko Widodo to streamline the government and reduce overlap of agencies. However, the dissolution of BP REDD is seen by its former head, Heru Prasetyo, as a major set back for government accountability in Indonesia.
[South Korea] Carbon market flops in first month
The Korea Herald, 11 February 2015
Korea’s emissions rights exchange has remained dormant since its launch last month, as companies refrained from trading, data showed on Wednesday. Since its opening on Jan. 12, total trading volume stood at just 11.5 million won ($10,500), or 1,380 tons of carbon credits, Korea Exchange reported. Actual trading occurred on only four days, the main bourse operator said. The trading volume was the largest on the first day at 9.74 million won, or 1,190 tons. For the next two days, however, the volume fell steeply, to 475,000 won, or 50 tons, on Jan. 13 and 951,000 won on Jan. 14. The total trade is a tiny fraction of the combined 15.98 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions quotas that were allocated to the 525 state-designated companies affected by the market’s introduction. The trading’s slow start was anticipated by the exchange operator, KRX.
S. Korean carbon market numb in first month
The Korea Herald, 11 February 2015
As widely expected, South Korea’s carbon market had thin trading in the first month of opening due in large part to a lack of confidence and the reluctance of affected companies to actively join the new trading scheme, data showed on Wednesday. The Korea Exchange (KRX), the country’s bourse operator, opened the cap-and-trading system on Jan. 12 after the government offered an emission quota of 15.98 billion Korean Allowance Units (KAUs) to 525 companies to curb emissions to 30 percent below business-as-usual (BAU) levels over the next five years. One KAU is equivalent to a ton of carbon dioxide gas. A total of 1,380 tons of carbon credits worth 11.55 million won (US$10,521) changed hands over the past month, with actual trading taking place only for four days, the KRX said.
[UK] Andrew Wright made £1.25m conning elderly and vulnerable out of their life savings
By Amanda Williams, Daily Mail, 11 February 2015
A fraudster who conned more than £1.25 million out of elderly and vulnerable people and then spent five years on the run has finally been brought to justice. Chef Andrew Wright cheated nearly 200 victims after creating up a fake company which fleeced pensioners out of their life savings. When detectives began investigating his dealings in 2009 he fled from Spain, where he co-ran the firm with an accomplice, to Malaysia. The 64-year-old evaded arrest until May last year when he was detained at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. He had flown into the country for a catering trade show and his name flagged up under a European arrest warrant. Derby Crown Court was told the company CGI, which used a UK address, cold-called elderly and vulnerable people and asked them to invest in fraudulent businesses.
12 February 2015
Engaging stakeholders in the Emission Reductions Programme of DR Congo
SNV World, 12 February 2015
On 12 and 13 February, the National REDD commission of the DR Congo organises a launch workshop for the country’s Emission Reductions Programme in the Mai-Ndombe district. The workshop primarily targets provincial stakeholders and will be chaired by the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Bienvenue Liyota Ndjoli. SNV Netherlands Development Organisation has been invited to prepare a concept note on upscaling our Sustainable Charcoal Project, which was successfully implemented in the Bateke Plateaux (near Kinshasa) last year. The project has led to the development of an improved carbonisation system, reducing the time required for converting wood into charcoal from 20 days to 5, and refining the quality of the charcoal by giving it a better ignition. The government has shown interest in this approach, and partnered with SNV for the development of the Emission Reduction Programme Document (ERPD) of the Mai-Ndombe pilot area.
EU CO2-Fix Talks Spark Lawmakers’ Optimism on Compromise
By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, 12 February 2015
Negotiators on a law aimed at boosting prices in the European Union’s carbon market made progress in talks Wednesday, increasing chances for a compromise deal to accelerate the proposed fix, according to leading lawmakers. Representatives of political groups in the European Parliament’s environment committee meeting in Strasbourg, France, discussed a proposal to introduce a stability reserve in the bloc’s emissions-trading system. Ivo Belet, the lawmaker guiding the draft measure through the legislature, is due to propose on Thursday a plan to build a cross-party alliance before a vote on Feb. 24.
[New Zealand] Forest owners ask government for ETS crisis meeting
New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association press release, 12 February 2015
Forest owners are asking the government to call an urgent meeting of primary sector leaders and iwi to deal with the country’s greenhouse gas emissions blow-out.They say a lack of new forest planting and a looming harvest “bulge” has to be addressed. “Forests planted since 1990 have contributed to the credit side of the country’s climate change ledger. As these forests are harvested, without any significant offset from new planting, they will increasingly throw the ledger into the red. New Zealand’s lack of real action on climate change will become a stark reality,” says FOA chief executive David Rhodes. “It is clear that New Zealand is going to miss its existing 2020 emissions reduction target by a country mile. Nor will it be able to achieve an increased reduction as part of a new comprehensive global agreement at the end of the year.”
Peru planning highway through most biodiverse place on earth
By David Hill, The Guardian, 12 February 2015
The Manu national park and its buffer zone in Peru was international news early last year after scientists found it is “top of the [world’s] list of natural protected areas in terms of amphibian and reptile diversity”, beating off stiff competition from the Yasuni national park in neighbouring Ecuador. What these news reports didn’t acknowledge, not surprisingly, are the immense threats facing Manu – a Unesco biosphere reserve in the south-east Peruvian Amazon where Unesco states the biodiversity “exceeds that of any other place on earth”. The first such threat, to the park itself, is from oil and gas exploration and exploitation. For years Manu has been believed to hold significant hydrocarbon deposits, and numerous oil and gas industry maps depict “undrilled prospects”, “seeps” and a “spring” lying under the park.
Police investigate Slovaks with HSBC accounts
The Slovak Spectator, 12 February 2015
After some hesitation the Slovak police began investigation of involvement of Slovaks in the ‘Swiss Leaks’, a case when Swiss branch of the HSBC bank assisted people from other countries to dodge taxes and change it into difficult to trace cash… In 2008 nominees of the Slovak National Party (SNS) at the Environment Ministry sold Slovak excessive carbon dioxide quota to the company Interblue Group, which immediately sold them to Japan, earning €47 million. Influential people are said to be using the US-headquartered Interblue Group as a front. Later this shell company was cancelled and a new one established – in Switzerland. In this case occurs also HSBC bank when Interblue received money from the Japanese via its branch in Hong Kong. These transactions took place in December 2009, during the time when, according to HSBC, stricter rules for suspicious transactions were already valid.
[USA] Government seeks new markets for carbon credits
Magnolia Reporter, 10 February 2015
Applications are being accepted for up to $20 million in grants to facilitate the creation of new, innovative markets for carbon credits, providing additional revenue sources for producers to use to address natural resource conservation challenges. These grants are part of the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill. “USDA has been a leader in supporting market-based solutions to improve water quality and reduce carbon pollution,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “With this opportunity, we are supporting the next generation of projects that will help mature these markets and bring them to scale to benefit both producers and the environment.”
13 February 2015
UN climate deal moving closer, say Least Developed Countries
By Sophie Yeo, RTCC, 13 February 2015
The draft set of proposals for a global climate deal developed during a week of negotiations in Geneva is now 90 pages long, but everyone is happy with it. This is the view of Giza Gaspar Martins, a diplomat from Angola who leads the world’s poorest in the UN’s climate negotiations. “It’s an everybody text,” he told RTCC, adding that all country groupings – from rich to poor – felt satisfied that their views were included. The session officially draws to a close on Friday at 6pm. It is one of what could be many interim UN climate meetings ahead of a landmark meeting in Paris this December. In the frequently turbulent world of UN climate negotiations, ending a round of talks with a text that satisfies all parties represents a tangible success, said Gaspar Martins. “We have achieved putting together a text with which every party is comfortable in terms of it reflecting their respective positions.”
[Canada] Resolute and Greenpeace at loggerheads
By Kevin Dougherty, Montreal Gazette, 13 February 2015
There is trouble in the forests of Quebec and Northern Ontario. Greenpeace, the environmental group whose tactics have led to arrests from Vancouver Island to Arctic Russia, is locked in a battle with Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products over the paper-maker’s logging practices in the slow-growing boreal forest. To convince Resolute’s customers to switch to greener suppliers, Greenpeace is using social media and spectacular protests. Last March, to bring the distant dispute home to Montrealers, Greenpeace activists scaled the cross on Mount Royal, draping banners that demanded justice for the boreal forest. Greenpeace has had some success. In December, in response to more than 52,000 emails from the group’s supporters, the Best Buy electronics chain announced it would no longer buy Resolute paper for its advertising flyers, switching instead to companies certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
[Indonesia] Commentary: Your Toothpaste Is Destroying Asia’s Rainforests
By Adam Minter, The Jakarta Globe, 13 February 2015
You probably had some palm oil today. If it wasn’t in your toothpaste, or your shampoo, it was in the margarine you had at breakfast. Found in roughly half of the products sold in modern supermarkets, it’s the world’s most popular edible oil. It’s also the cause of one of the world’s biggest environmental catastrophes, the decimation of southeast Asia’s rainforests. Indonesia has lost enough rain forest to palm plantations since 1967 to cover the entire state of Kentucky. And that’s not just horrible for Indonesia. The typical method for clearing rainforests in southeast Asia is to burn them to the ground, which releases vast quantities of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. According to one peer-reviewed study, the rainforests burned in 2010 in just one Indonesian state produced the same carbon emissions as 28 million cars.
Is Indonesian Forestry Reform in Peril Under Jokowi?
By Ethan Harfenist, The Diplomat, 13 February 2015
In 2013, then Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono established the National REDD+ Agency, the world’s first executive-level agency specially designated to tackle Indonesia’s myriad forestry and conservation issues. The agency was lauded at home and abroad as both a landmark achievement and a sign of hope for a country considered a poster child for environmental degradation. A little more than a year later, on January 21, 2015, the once-independent organization has effectively ceased to exist after being merged with Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry. The move has left many wondering what the future will hold for Indonesia’s conservation efforts, as well as international coordination on combatting climate change. “[Domestically], the merger will significantly slow things down,” former REDD+ chairman Heru Prasetyo told The Diplomat. “Internationally, questions will be raised as to Indonesia’s commitment…”
14 February 2015
15 February 2015
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.