Last week, the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, flew to Paris in a hired Boeing 787 Dreamliner, one of the most luxurious planes in the world. Le Figaro estimates that a one-way flight from Brazzaville to Paris would cost about US$500,000. Needless to say, Sassou Nguesso’s wife, Antoinette, travelled with him.
So far this year, more than 72,000 forest fires have started (or been set by cattle ranchers) in Brazil’s rain forest. That’s an 80% increase over the same period last year. But the amount of CO2 emitted from the fires is lower than in 2010 and significantly lower than in the early 2000s.
Last week, José Ilanga the Director General in charge of forests at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Democratic Republic of Congo, announced that plans were underway to lift the country’s 16-year-old moratorium on new logging concessions. Today, more than 50 environmental and human rights organisations have written to key donor governments and agencies, including Norway, UK, France, USA, and the World Bank, calling on them to suspend funding immediately to the DRC government for forestry and forest conservation.
In an open letter, scientists have warned about the impacts that logging the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo would have on the planet’s climate. The scientists are concerned that a proposal to expand logging in DRC’s forests would damage the world’s largest tropical peatland – the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the central Congo Basin.
A French court has sentenced businessman Arnaud Mimran to eight years in jail and a €1 million fine, for his role in a €283 million carbon tax fraud. The scam took place from November 2008 to June 2009, during which time the scammers pocketed €283 million in non-paid VAT on €1.4 billion worth of emission allowances.
In April 2015, WWF and Rougier, a French logging company, announced that they would work together on a three year programme to “jointly advance responsible forest management and trade”. The deal is part of WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) that aims to promote trade in legal and sustainable timber.
Seleka is a alliance of rebel militia factions that formed in September 2012. In March 2013, Seleka staged a bloody coup and seized power in the Central African Republic. Michel Djotodia was installed as president.
The UN climate negotiations that will take place in Paris are sponsored by a series of polluting companies. Among these companies are two that are also involved in REDD projects: Air France and BNP Paribas.
A company called Consultants Europe is cold calling people, claiming that they can sell near-worthless carbon credits for more than £5.75. Of course, there’s an advance fee to be paid of 45p per credit.
A group of NGOs have produced a statement on the Paris-Oslo process, criticising the lack of transparency and participation. “A bad REDD system is worse than no system at all for the world’s climate, its forests and its people,” they write in the statement. “Unless underlying problems are addressed, so-called fast-start financing would be a false start for REDD.”
Last week, REDD-Monitor received a reply from Hans Brattskar, the Director of Norway’s Climate and Forest Initiative, to the post “Indigenous Peoples excluded from French-Norwegian partnership on forests”.
On 11 March 2010, an international conference took place in Paris, hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy: the International Conference on the Major Forest Basins. While 64 nations took part in the conference, Indigenous Peoples were not invited.