“We have to reduce emissions from deforestation if we’re to prevent catastrophic climate change,” WWF argues on its website. At a first glance, it seems like a no-brainer. Forests store an awful lot of carbon. When forests are cleared for cattle ranching, or to make way for oil palm plantations, the carbon dioxide goes back into the atmosphere.
On 21 March 2016, to mark International Forests Day, WWF launched a Forest Solutions Platform. The website lists 13 solutions to deforestation. “This platform is designed to create a space for dialogue, learning and sharing different viewpoints so that we can co-create solutions,” WWF writes.
“What we need is a new model of development for countries with tropical forests,” says Maria Claudia García, National Director of Forestry, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development in Colombia. According to Garcia, REDD is a “new vision”.
In mid-January 2016, the Democratic Republic of Congo submitted its revised Emission Reductions Programme Document (ER-PD) to the Carbon Fund of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. The Environmental Investigation Agency has produced a report of “preliminary comments” on the ER-PD.
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.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has the second largest area of rainforest in the world. Since 2002, a moratorium on new logging licences has been in place. The government is now threatening to re-open its forests to new logging concessions.
Cross River State in the southeast of Nigeria has 50% of Nigeria’s remaining forests. Cross River State is the pilot REDD state for Nigeria and the state is a member of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, set up by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008.
For the past three years, Timothy Frewer of the University of Sydney has been carrying out his PhD research in Cambodia, looking at the Oddar Meanchey REDD project. REDD-Monitor has written a series of posts about Oddar Meanchey, questioning how the project can sell carbon credits while deforestation continues.
In 2014, Papua New Guinea became the world’s largest exporter of tropical timber. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Eleven years ago, PNG formed the Coalition for Rainforest Nations and presented the idea of REDD to the UN climate meeting in Montreal.
The Mai Ndombe REDD project in the Democratic Republic of Congo covers about 300,000 hectares of forest. Project documents claim that without the project, the forest would be logged, and that communities in the area benefit from the project. A new article by Jutta Kill in the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin questions both of these claims.
The Jari Amapá REDD+ project covers an area of 65,980 hectares in the Jari Valley in the state of Amapá, Brazil. The project is run by three companies, one of which, Jari Florestal, has just had its Forest Stewardship Council certificate suspended after being caught in an illegal timber scheme.
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.