‘Actually existing’ REDD: Social tensions, ongoing deforestation, local confusion, financial benefits not delivered

“Early evidence from REDD+ projects suggests major challenges, including: ongoing weak enforcement of domestic laws on forests and land, leading to limited effectiveness; contestation or conflict over property rights and community benefits; as well as securitisation and violence, often perpetrated by government agencies.”

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REDD is “no silver bullet”, admits Ola Elvestuen Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment

Last month saw the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum 2018, 10 years after REDD was included in the Bali Road Map, at the UN climate negotiations in December 2007. “The goal of the forum is to celebrate results and identify remaining challenges,” according to the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation’s website about the event.

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Norway’s Office of the Auditor General investigation into Norway’s rainforest billions: “Progress and results delayed, uncertain feasibility and effect, risk of fraud not well managed”

Over the past ten years, Norway has handed out almost US$3 billion (NOK 23.5 billion) on stopping tropical deforestation. On 15 May 2018, the Office of the Auditor General completed its investigation into Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. The report is critical.

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REDD myth no. 4: REDD will be quick and cheap

In December 2007, Norway’s then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg launched Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). Stoltenberg announced that Norway would be handing out more than US$500 million a year “to prevent deforestation in developing countries”. Stoltenberg was convinced that stopping deforestation would be quick and cheap.

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The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has abandoned any pretence of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

On 1 February 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s forests were dealt a double blow. First, DRC’s Minister of Environment, Amy Ambatobe, reinstated three illegal logging concessions covering an area of 6,500 square kilometres. Second, DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila, signed off on three oil exploration concessions covering a huge area of Mai Ndombe province, including part of the Salonga National Park.

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The Kariba REDD project in Zimbabwe: From carbon credits to EARTH tokens

The Kariba REDD+ Project covers an area of 784,987 hectares in four districts of northwestern Zimbabwe. The project started in July 2011, and aims to generate almost 52 million carbon credits from reduced deforestation over its 30-year project life. The project is certified under the VCS and Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard systems.

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Responses from Terra Global Capital, VCS, and Wildlife Works to Fern’s report, “Unearned credit: Why aviation industry forest offsets are doomed to fail”

In November 2017, Fern published a report titled, “Unearned credit: Why aviation industry forest offsets are doomed to fail”. The report takes aim at the aviation industry’s planned carbon trading mechanism, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.

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Virgin Atlantic has stopped buying carbon credits from the Oddar Meanchey REDD project

On 9 January 2018, Virgin Atlantic told the Phnom Penh Post that it had stopped buying carbon credits from the Oddar Meanchey REDD project in Cambodia. Virgin Atlantic’s decision followed the publication of a report by Fern that highlights the problems of offsetting emissions from the aviation sector. One of the case studies in the report was Oddar Meanchey.

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A new project aimed at stopping forest fires in Aceh province, Indonesia involves blockchain, a smart contract, a decentralised platform for Ethereum, and Dorjee Sun. What could possibly go wrong?

Dorjee Sun is the CEO of Carbon Conservation, a company set up 10 years ago to run REDD projects. The company’s first REDD project was the Ulu Masen REDD project, in Aceh province on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Sun partnered with Aceh’s “green governor”, Yusuf Irwandi, and Flora and Fauna International, to run the carbon trading project.

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Prince Charles’ offshore investment in Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd: A cautionary tale featuring conflicts of interest, a web of offshore companies, carbon credits, transfer pricing, and tax avoidance galore

Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd was the name of a company incorporated in the Bahamas in October 1999. The company set up forestry projects and traded carbon credits. Its directors included Eric Bettelheim (Executive Chairman and General Counsel), Alan Bernstein (Chief Executive Officer), and Hugh van Cutsem (Director).

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