In 1996, Uganda’s National Forest Authority awarded a 50 year licence covering an area of land just over 9,000 hectares to a Norwegian company called Green Resources. Twenty years later, local communities are still feeling the impacts of the company’s industrial tree plantations.
A new paper in World Development argues that REDD is, “the latest in a long row of conservation fads that have invoked great enthusiasm within the forestry-development sector, only to be dubbed a failure and abandoned at a later point in time”.
Green Resources is a Norwegian company that claims to be “Africa’s largest forestation company.” The company has established a total of 45,000 hectares of industrial plantations in Africa. It also generates carbon credits from its plantations.
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”.
Green Resources is a Norwegian company with plantations in Africa. According to the company, its plantation operations follow, “high international practice for sustainable forest management, ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] responsibilities and carbon sequestration”.
In 2008, Norway agreed to pay US$1 billion to Brazil’s Amazon Fund, if Brazil reduced deforestation in the Amazon. Norway has so far handed over US$900 million and will pay the final US$100 million before the end of this year.
On Monday, Guyana’s Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, presented the state budget in Parliament. In his speech, he slammed the proposed Amaila Falls hydropower dam, the flagship project of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy.
In March 2015, Bloomberg quoted Jens Frølich Holte, political adviser to Norway’s Minister for Climate and Environment, as saying that, “Carbon trading can speed up the global transition away from a fossil economy. Trade creates benefits and this is as true for carbon as it is for other commodities.”
Norway has transferred US$80 million to the Inter-American Development Bank as part of the Norway-Guyana US$250 million REDD deal. Perhaps surprisingly, if Guyana spends the money it will involve the destruction of a large area of rainforest.