Eleven years ago, almost to the day, the government of Norway put out a press release: “Norway is prepared to increase its support for efforts to prevent deforestation in developing countries to about three billion kroner a year.” That’s about US$550 million per year.
On 20 November 2018, Equinor, one of the largest oil and gas firms in the world, wrote to Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The first sentence spells trouble. “The way you lead the important work to deliver solutions to the global climate challenge is of great inspiration to us,” Equinor’s CEO Eldar Sætre writes.
At the end of last week, California’s Air Resources Board held a public meeting to consider the endorsement of the California Tropical Forest Standard. After several hours and dozens of testimonies for and against the Tropical Forest Standard, the Board decided to postpone making a decision until April 2019.
Since May 2018, if you buy ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop in Wardour Street, London, you will also buy a small part of a carbon credit. For every scoop of ice cream, a penny goes to buying carbon credits from the Cordillera Azul National Park REDD project in Peru.
The World Bank and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo are coming to the end of negotiations about the country’s Emission Reductions Payment Agreement. While no official announcement has yet been made, REDD-Monitor understands that the Agreement was signed last week.
“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.”
A two day meeting is currently taking place at the Columbia Law School in New York of the Private Sector Advisory Group to the Green Climate Fund. On the agenda is the Green Climate Fund’s funding of forestry projects.
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.
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.
Norway has spent NOK 1 billion on saving the rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But deforestation in DRC is increasing rapidly. On 12 May 2018, Dagsrevyen, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s daily news programme reported on Norway’s failure to address deforestation in DRC.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.