It’s the fire season in Indonesia. The haze is not as bad as last year, but once again Riau province in Sumatra was shrouded in smoke. Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency has set itself the target of putting out the fires by October.
A few weeks ago, REDD-Monitor took a look at how the Asian Development Bank appears to have changed its tune on REDD. In 2010, the ADB was promoting the region’s “huge potential to benefit from REDD+”, but by 2015 the ADB acknowledged the “considerable uncertainty about the actual contribution that REDD will make”.
On 5 February 2013, Asia Pulp and Paper announced a Forest Conservation Policy. This included an immediate stop to clearing forest in any concessions controlled by APP and its suppliers. It was a dramatic change in policy for a company that is responsible for destroying vast areas of forest in Indonesia.
On 31 December 2015, Accreditation Services International terminated SGS Malaysia’s accreditation with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. REDD-Monitor wrote about this in February 2016: “Transparency and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil: Why was SGS Malaysia’s accreditation terminated?” Neither RSPO nor ASI were willing to explain why SGS Malaysia’s accreditation had been terminated.
Two days ago, REDD-Monitor wrote a post about a trip to Indonesia by Norway’s climate and environment minister, Vidar Helgesen. The trip took place in early February 2016, and Pilita Clark, a Financial Times journalist, accompanied Helgesen on his trip. In her article, Clark quoted Helgesen as saying, “We would obviously have hoped things would have progressed more quickly. We haven’t seen actual progress in reducing deforestation.”
Six years ago, Norway and Indonesia signed a US$1 billion REDD deal. This week the Financial Times published an article about how the attempts to preserve Indonesia’s forests are going. The only good news is that in more than 3,800 words, Pilita Clark, the FT journalist, doesn’t mention REDD once.
A new paper in Conservation Biology starts with the following sentence: “Increasingly, one hears furtive whispers in the halls of conservation: ‘REDD+ is dead; it’s time to cut our losses and move on.’”
“It’s very attractive. The earnings are very high and we’ve got hybrid material now. You harvest in the 24th month, and the repayment period is about seven years at the most… For the next 20 years it’ll be laughing yourself all the way to the bank.”
Yesterday REDD-Monitor wrote about the fires this year in Indonesia and the lack of any response from Norway. The post featured a comment from Per Fredrik Pharo, Director of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative that Indonesia’s peatland management was “very encouraging”.
The fires in Indonesia this year are the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century (so far). An area of about 2.5 million hectares of forest and peatland burned. Visibility was reduced to 30 metres in places. At least 19 people died. By the end of October, there were 500,000 cases of respiratory tract infections.
On the first day of the UN climate negotiations in Paris, the governments of Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom pledged US$5 billion for REDD, between 2015 and 2020. The GNU countries say they “have signaled they will increasingly target results-based finance for countries who deliver verified REDD+ emission reductions”.