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REDD in the news: 16-22 February 2015

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 are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.

Towards REDD+ Integrity: opportunities and challenges for Indonesia
Eldis, 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.

Free online course: Environmental Justice
University of East Anglia, March 2015
This free online course will help you understand how injustice is a common feature of many environmental problems. Over 10 weeks, we’ll look at deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change and other environmental issues, asking questions such as: Can we manage tropical forests to increase timber revenues and carbon stocks, while ensuring that the people who live in them can fulfil their own subsistence needs and vision of a healthy ecosystem? How can protected areas strike the right balance between contemporary global interests in species conservation, local interests, the needs of future generations and rights of nature?

16 February 2015

Kyoto Protocol: 10 years of the world’s first climate change treaty
By Ed King, RTCC, 16 February 2015
Ten years ago today the world’s first legally binding climate change deal came into force. First agreed in 1997, it took eight years for participating countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The deal was fairly simple. Industrialised countries would be legally obliged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions 5% on 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Developing countries – including China, India, Brazil and South Africa – would face no restriction on their emissions but were encouraged to adopt policies to promote greener growth. To help countries meet targets, Kyoto also offered a range of market mechanisms that could help rich countries offset emissions by investing in low carbon projects in poorer parts of the world. It was hailed as an “environmentally strong and economically sound” deal by US president Bill Clinton, speaking just after agreement had been reached in 1997.

Brazil faces water rationing amid worst drought in 84 years
By Fabíola Ortiz, RTCC, 16 February 2015
Brazil is struggling to supply enough water to its 200 million people, amid the worst drought in 84 years. São Paulo’s 20 million citizens face having their tap water cut off five days a week, in a bid to conserve dwindling resources. Some 17% of Brazilian towns have declared a state of emergency. In the centre and southeast of the country, electricity supplies are threatened as water levels drop to 18% in the reservoirs for hydropower generation. “We have never seen such sensitive and worrying situation as this,” admitted the minister of environment, Izabella Teixeira. Rain scarcity, deforestation of the watersheds around streams and rivers, high consumption in the big urban centers and waste in the water supply system are some of the reasons for the crisis. It has brought into sharp focus the political response to extreme weather patterns, which are only expected to get more volatile with climate change.

REDD+ to the rescue of Central Africa’s forests? Not yet, study says
By Joan Baxter, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 16 February 2015
Enforcing sustainable logging and assigning a monetary value to the carbon stored in forest concessions managed under the REDD+ mechanism will not be enough to curb deforestation in Central Africa. Across the Congo Basin it is more profitable to cut down the forest and replace it with cash crops, and REDD+ schemes (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) are of little help to reverse this trend, according to a new study. Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and CIRAD, a French agricultural and development research center, worked together to investigate the profitability of different uses of forest land in the Republic of Congo and Cameroon. The research was part of the FORAFAMA project to support the sustainable management of forests in the Congo Basin and the Brazilian Amazon Basin, funded by the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM).

[Indonesia] Coal mining slump a blessing in disguise
By Mohammad Faisal, The Jakarta Post, 16 February 2015
The growth of the coal-mining industry, which has diminished in the last two years, is expected to slump even further this year following weakening demand for coal in the world market… The diminishing growth of the coal-mining sector has contributed to a decline in government revenue over the last two years. Since coal has become Indonesia’s major export commodity, the weakening of coal exports has resulted in a declining trade performance of Indonesia’s non-oil and gas sector, and in turn, contributed to an overall trade deficit in the past three years. However, the diminishing shine of the coal industry has its bright side. This is because the increasing amount of coal-mining activity in the past decade has not only resulted in serious environmental degradation, but also enhanced the proliferation of corrupt and clientelistic practices in the regions.

Indonesia should reduce deforestation
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 16 February 2015
The Jakarta Post’s Hans Nicholas Jong spoke to [Helen] Clark [UNDP]… Question: What do you think of Indonesia’s program in tackling climate change issues, particularly its REDD+ agenda? Do you think the country is on the right track? Answer: Indonesia has this target of greenhouse gas emission reduction. Twenty-six percent reduction if business as usual but if with international support, they say 41 percent. Now, this target cannot be met without tackling deforestation. To meet the 26 percent reduction, 80 percent of the reduction would have to come from the forests. So Indonesia can’t make a major impact on its greenhouse gas emissions, which are significant, unless it stops deforestation. This is a critical political agenda that Indonesia needs to do for its own sake. But it also has a position of global leadership and Indonesia should keep that leadership.

China’s rosewood craving cuts deep into Madagascar rainforests
By Laurence Caramel, The Guardian, 16 February 2015
At this price there is no shortage of willing hands, in Madagascar and China, to plunder forests on the Unesco World Heritage list and pack containers full of rosewood logs, to be carried along routes well oiled by corruption. One of the main routes takes the wood from the streets of Antanandavehely to prosperous Xianyou, a new town of 1 million people in Fujian province. Its journey passes through Zanzibar in Tanzania, Mombasa in Kenya and Hong Kong. There are certainly others but this is probably the largest, its ramifications reaching up into the higher echelons of Madagascar’s government. Everyone here knows about the racket in bola bola, as the wood is known locally. Many of those involved belong to old Chinese families, who arrived in the early 20th century to build the railway.

17 February 2015

Global CO2 emissions to grow at slightly slower rate to 2035: BP
By Nina Chestney, Reuters, 17 February 2015
Global carbon emissions from energy use will grow at 25 percent between 2013 and 2035, a slightly slower rate than previously estimated, BP said on Tuesday, but still above the rate scientists say would avoid the worst effects of climate change. Emissions are expected to increase at an average rate of 1 percent per year from 2013 to 2035, BP said in its annual report Energy Outlook 2035. Last year, BP said in its report that global carbon emissions from energy use would increase by 29 percent to 2035, or an average 1.1 percent a year. This year’s projections show a slower rate of growth in CO2 because the share of natural gas and renewables in the energy mix is increasing and their energy intensity will decrease.

REDD Is In The New Climate Text, But Will It Be An INDC?
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 17 February 2015
Climate-change negotiators meeting in Geneva last week agreed on a draft negotiating text, but it was a massive thing – more than 80 pages – full of options and “bracketed” text that will mostly be chipped away between now and the time negotiators meet in Paris… For the month of March, the focus will be within countries, as they submit their Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but it’s unclear whether international payments for REDD will be recognized as an INDC, setting the stage for a chaotic few months where proposed INDCs are contingent on text still under negotiation… “REDD is going to be a pillar of mitigation,” said Gus Silva-Chavez, who runs the Forest Trends REDDX Initiative. “REDD is in there in multiple places as multiple options. There’s a lot of support for it.”

EU policy mash dents carbon markets before Paris climate deal
By Matthew Carr, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 February 2015
The European Union’s carbon market, designed to save the environment, is being undercut by a patchwork of national subsidies for renewables and misaligned energy policies that have helped cut in half the volume of power being traded. The bloc wasted a quarter of the $US550 billion ($707 billion) spent on renewable energy, according to analysis by consulting firm Bain & Co. presented last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Some energy-saving policies cost more than 18 times the price of the region’s carbon allowances, Bain said. Power- trading volume in 2014 was 46 per cent that of three years previously, broker data show. Overspending lowers the chance other nations will emulate the EU’s plans for emissions cuts as they prepare climate pledges under a United Nations process during the next six weeks, leading to a meeting in Paris in December, according to Bain.

Indonesia’s Forestry Industry Relies on Illegal Timber: Study
By Fitri Wulandari, Bloomberg, 17 February 2015
About a third of the wood used by Indonesia’s forestry industry came from clear-cutting natural forests and other illegal sources in 2014, according to a study released on Tuesday. Raw material from illegal sources used by pulp and paper mills exceeded legal supply by the equivalent of 20 million cubic meters last year, according to a report by Washington D.C.-based Forest Trends and the Anti Forest-Mafia Coalition, which groups Indonesian civil society organizations. The study compared data from the country’s forestry ministry and timber industry, which it said doesn’t have enough supply from legal timber plantations to fill capacity. The study shows the ineffectiveness of a government moratorium on permits to clear natural forests.

On Indonesia’s paper trail: There’s just too much illegal wood
By Vaidehi Shah, Eco-Business, 17 February 2015
Indonesia’s forest products sector, dominated by pulp and paper companies, gets a third of its wood from illegal and unsustainable sources today. And even as some companies have made zero-deforestation pledges, there is simply not enough legally sourced wood to meet the demand, a new study has found. In a new report launched on Tuesday, American non-profit Forest Trends and Indonesian group Anti Forest-Mafia Coalition revealed that 30 per cent of the wood used by forestry companies in Indonesia is illegal. This unsustainable wood – which may come from the unreported clearing of natural forests and other illegal sources – amounts to about 20 million cubic metres of wood, or 1.5 million logging trucks, said the study, titled ‘Indonesia’s Legal Timber Supply Gap and Implications for Expansion of Milling Capacity’.

Paraguay Prepares For REDD+ With UNEP-WCMC
UNEP-WCMC, 17 February 2015
UNEP-WCMC has been working closely with the UN-REDD National Joint Programme in Paraguay to develop maps which can be used as decision-support tools by the Paraguayan government when planning for REDD+… In the case of Paraguay, the conversion of forests to pasture and croplands not only threatens carbon stocks and biodiversity, but also the provision of non-timber forest products used by forest-dependent communities, and the preservation of sites considered sacred to Paraguay’s indigenous peoples.

[UK] Privatisation of UK woodlands is happening by the backdoor
By Mark Avery, The Guardian, 17 February 2015
Four years ago the environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, told the House of Commons that she was ditching the coalition government’s plans to privatise the Forestry Commission (FC). “I’m sorry. We got this one wrong, but we have listened to people’s concerns,” she said. But if you go down to the woods today, you may have a big surprise, because privatisation of our woodlands appears to be proceeding by the back door. One of my local woods, Fineshade wood in east Northamptonshire, is owned by me, and you, and every other taxpayer, as it is owned by the Forestry Commission (FC), a non-ministerial government department… Despite its wildlife, landscape and wider social value, the FC believes that Fineshade wood is the right place to plonk down 70 luxury holiday cabins, extra roads, and a sewage treatment plant.

[UK] Paris climate deal must enable emissions trading systems to be linked
UK Parliament, 17 February 2015
A new global climate deal due to be agreed at UN talks in Paris later this year must allow carbon trading between countries to enable emissions trading systems around the world to link-up in future and ensure the world cuts climate-changing emissions in the most cost-effective way possible. Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee: “Putting a price on carbon is absolutely essential if we are to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. But using taxes to set a carbon price does not guarantee any particular level of emissions reduction because the emitters may simply pay the tax and carry on polluting. Emissions trading allows us to set a cap on emissions and enables participating businesses to identify the most cost effective ways of reducing their emissions. Letting the market determine the price of carbon in this way is likely to be far more effective and politically palatable than carbon taxes.”

18 February 2015

Paris: Don’t leave out planes and ships
By Bill Hemmings, EurActiv, 18 February 2015
The UNFCCC negotiating text took an important step forward last week with the inclusion in the text of wording calling for the setting of emission reduction targets for international shipping and aviation, in the context of the objective of the agreement – which is to limit any temperature increase to 2 degrees. The coming months represent an opportunity for a dialogue between parties on why this wording should be included in the Paris Agreement at COP 21. The importance of this development is clear. Shipping and aviation each account for nearly 3% of annual global CO2 emissions. After taking account of non-CO2 indirect aviation impacts, cirrus cloud formation and nitrogen oxides (NOx), these two fast growing sectors almost account for 10% of the global warming problem.

BP: Carbon price needed to prevent dangerous climate change, 18 February 2015
BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley has joined calls for a global carbon price to counteract spiralling emissions over the next 20 years, as projected by the oil giant’s latest Energy Outlook report. The Outlook Report predicts that emissions will rise by 1% every year from now until 2035. This adds up to a 25% increase, which is “materially higher” than a scenario whereby global temperature rises are limited to 2C, the company says. Dudley suggested that policymakers should introduce a “meaningful price on carbon” to tackle the issue. “A global carbon price would help to unleash market forces and provide the right incentives for everyone to play their part,” he said. “History has shown the power of market forces in making economies less energy intensive as people have found more efficient ways to use energy.”

Economists warn of “lost decade” risk for EU carbon market
By Megan Darby, RTCC, 18 February 2015
The European Union faces a “lost decade” for low carbon investment without early and robust reforms to its flagship climate policy, researchers have warned. Lawmakers in the European Parliament’s environment committee are to vote next Tuesday on proposals to prop up the ailing emissions trading system (ETS). The European Commission has recommended bringing in a “market stability reserve” (MSR) in 2021 to tackle oversupply of pollution permits, which has depressed the carbon price. Leading economists are urging MEPs to bring in the measure sooner, in a report from Climate Strategies. Karsten Neuhoff, professor at the German Institute for Economic Research, said: “If the implementation of the market stability reserve is delayed until 2021, we risk a lost decade for investments in modernisation of energy intensive industries and the energy sector.

EU politicians haggle over carbon market reform date
By Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 18 February 2015
A compromise date of the very end of 2018 for reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) has run into opposition from some legislators, EU sources said, ahead of a vote next week that will be closely watched by the world’s biggest carbon market. Members of the European Parliament, trying to overcome their differences over a plan to reduce a glut of allowances that has depressed the prices of allowances (EUAs), vote on the proposal in a committee next Tuesday. Dec. 31, 2018, was mooted last week for beginning to put some allowances into a repository known as the Market Stability Reserve (MSR). It is earlier than the European Commission’s proposal of 2021, but later than the 2017 start member states such as Britain and Germany and some politicians prefer.

The Ecosystem Marketplace’s Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 February 2015
Here at Ecosystem Marketplace, we celebrated Valentine’s Day by gorging on deforestation-free chocolate. And, after launching our 2015 carbon surveys last week, we’re already feeling the love. A big thanks to Carbon Clear, Carbotrader, China Alliance for Clean Stoves, China Green Carbon Foundation, CLevel, CookClean Ghana Limited, DelAgua Health, Environment Credit Corp, EOS Climate, Greenoxx, Indufor, Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, Northwest Natural Resource Group, Vert Conservation Pte, Will Solutions, among others who chose not to be listed, for their early responses.

Can Putting A Price On Environmental Risk Mainstream Corporate Sustainability?
By Ivo Mulder (UNEP), Ecosystem Marketplace, 18 February 2015
Over the past few years I’ve visited numerous corporate sustainability conferences around themes such as water, REDD+, climate change and biodiversity. The same corporate leaders are often present at such meetings such as Coca Cola, Unilever, Akzo Nobel, Rabobank. These and other leaders regularly top indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), which measure the environmental, social and economic sustainability of their direct business operations and increasingly also indirect impacts through their supply chains. But what about their sector peers?

Campaign asks consumers to directly support forest conservation
By Rhett A. Butler, 18 February 2015
“Stand For Trees” is an initiative launched by Code REDD, a marketing platform for a group of organizations running REDD forest conservation projects. Code REDD partners distinguish themselves by adhering to higher standards than conventional REDD projects, which aim to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The campaign represents a departure from previous REDD efforts which focused primarily on selling REDD credits to large entities like companies… “Stand For Trees” instead targets end consumers by emphasizing the non-carbon benefits of protecting forests, like supporting forest-dependent communities and safeguarding habitat for wildlife. Notably, the initiative is seeking a premium for its REDD credits: $10 per ton of carbon dioxide. The voluntary market for generic REDD credits is averaging less than half that price.

[Indonesia] Illegal logging rampant in spite of government initiatives
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 18 February 2015
Despite government plans to eradicate illegal logging that have been in place over the past five years, encroachment on the country’s forests remains rampant, a recent report says. The report, released by a number of NGOs grouped under the Coalition against Forestry Mafia and the Washington-based Forest Trends, said that more than 30 percent of the timber used by the country’s industrial forest sector could be considered illegal. “It stems from the unreported clear-cutting of natural forests and other illegal sources instead of legal tree plantations and well-managed logging concessions,” Forest Trends said in a press release. The report came to such conclusions after comparing the amount of legal timber reported to the forestry ministry with the actual output of the industrial forestry sector.

REDD ink: Forest efforts in Peru all but absent from news media
By Catriona Moss, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 18 February 2015
Peru has received international recognition for pushing ahead with programs to tackle climate change and deforestation, but those efforts have largely been ignored in the national media, a new report says. The study of national and regional newspapers over a 10-year period found very few articles related to forests and climate change, with initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (known by the acronym REDD+) barely mentioned. Even in regional newspapers from the Amazon region, where several REDD+ initiatives are currently under way, reporting was either poor or non-existent, leaving much of the general public in the dark as to their progress.

19 February 2015

[Brazil] Indigenous Life Plans And Carbon Finance: Two Sides Of The Same Coin?
By Christopher Pollen, Ann Espuelas and Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 19 February 2015
The answer came from Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, who spearheaded the Surui Forest Carbon Project and had come at Delson’s invitation. “We didn’t sell our land or our trees, and we didn’t sacrifice any of our rights,” Almir said. “We just told the world that we wanted to save our forest, and the world agreed they should help us do so.” He explained that his people carry out traditional and cultural activities on their lands today as they always have, and the only restriction is a moratorium on clearing forest earmarked for conservation – a moratorium endorsed in their own Life Plan and backed by the Paiter-Surui Parlaiment, but financed by the REDD Project. “The buyer [of carbon offsets] does not own the land, the trees, anything,” Almir added. “They just pay for the service [of forest protection and carbon sequestration].”

[Guyana] Assessing carbon stock value of forests is tricky business, study finds
By Sandhya Sekar,, 19 February 2015
With financial incentives encouraging maintenance of carbon stocks and the increased popularity of carbon trading between countries, a forest has become economically a lot more than a clump of trees that supplements livelihoods. A forest now has an intrinsic value by just existing, a value that can be measured in economic terms. A study recently published in Forest Ecology and Management examines the carbon stock value of forests in Guyana, finding dramatic differences between different kinds of cover and land-use types. Tropical forests are among the most valuable in terms of carbon stocks. Globally, tropical forests sequester about 2.4 billion metric tons, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011. However, the same forests come under the most intense conversion pressures, due to factors like logging, forest fragmentation and clearing for agriculture.

The UK must fight for better World Bank environment policy
By David Hill, The Guardian, 19 February 2015
Not only civil society is concerned. According to the Financial Times, US senators told the Treasury secretary the draft “may represent a dilution of existing protections”, while the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has warned Bank president Jim Yong Kim of a “major setback” undermining “the achievements made by the Commission during the past decade.” In addition, 27 UN human rights specialists have written to Kim noting the draft “seems to go out of its way to avoid any meaningful references to human rights and international human rights law.” How can this be happening? How can things be getting worse?

20 February 2015

[Guyana] Study finds local technicians effective at forest monitoring
By Sandhya Sekar,, 20 February 2015
Some countries that retain forest wealth have started monetizing their forests using international programs like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Guyana has been at the forefront of REDD efforts thanks to a supportive administration. An important part of REDD is accurate measurement of carbon stocks. This is accomplished through a combination of remote sensing estimation and “ground truthing,” in which on-the-ground technicians physically travel to sites and collect data on forest cover to check whether or not the results from remote sensing procedures are correct.

[Indonesia] RI not rushing into emissions commitments for Paris summit
By Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, 20 February 2015
Indonesia will miss the informal deadline for setting national emissions reduction targets ahead of the December 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, as it wants to ensure it can follow through on what it promises. Governments across the globe are expected to submit national plans to the UN for reducing emissions sometime between March and June. But the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) said Wednesday the government did not want to rush the process. “We don’t want to be clumsy by making pledges we can’t meet,” Bappenas environment and natural resources deputy Endah Murniningtyas said. “If the time frame [to prepare the commitments] is three to six months [from now], then we still have time,” said the President’s envoy on climate change, Rachmat Witoelar, adding that the informal March deadline was unrealistic.

Carbon Credits for Madagascar’s Makira Natural Park Now Available Online Through Stand for Trees Campaign
Wildlife Conservation Society press release, 20 February 2015
Carbon credits from WCS’s Makira Natural Park Project in Madagascar are now available through the Stand for Trees campaign, an online carbon sales platform recently launched by USAID and Code REDD. Through this initiative, individuals can now save wildlife and combat climate change by purchasing carbon credits on-line for the first time to preserve one of Africa’s most biodiverse tropical rainforests. Funds from any purchase of carbon credits, which can range from $10 to $1 million, will go directly towards protecting endangered lemurs and other unique species, empowering local communities, and offsetting one’s own carbon footprint.

21 February 2015

22 February 2015

[Brazil] REDD and Neocolonialism in the Land of the Pataxo Warriors
By Renata Bessi and Santiago Navarro F., TruthOut, 22 February 2015
The Americas Program reached out to Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy to clarify questions such as the implementation of the carbon offset program in the Monte Pascoal-Pau Corridor in Brazil, their operations in Brazil, how they work with indigenous groups in the region of Monte Pascoal, who benefits from the REDD project and if the indigenous groups will be able to use the areas the are being reforested, since they are now natural conservation areas. Neither of the Brazilian offices of the two international organizations responded to the request, stating that they did not have the time.

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