June 12, 2014. Source: Redd-Monitor
Photo from the Redd-Monitor
The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve is the only REDD project in Indonesia that has managed to sell any carbon credits. The project is dependent on continued sales of carbon credits, and on the price of carbon. Neither is certain.
Last week, Indonesian journalist Fidelis E. Satriastanti, wrote about the Rimba Raya REDD project for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The people living in the village of Ulak Batu in Seruyan district told Satriastanti that they used to be fisherfolk. But when palm oil companies established plantations in the area, the Seruyan river was polluted, fish populations declined and many villagers looked for jobs as plantation workers. Catching fish they could earn about US$8 per day, but only US$5 per day working for palm oil companies.
No one asked the villagers whether they wanted the forests around their village converted to oil palm plantations. Neither, it seems, was there a process of free, prior and informed consent when a company called InfiniteEARTH arrived in 2009 to develop its REDD project in the Seruyan watershed. Continue reading
June 4, 2014. Source: Redd-Monitor.org
Photo by Redd-Monitor
Things just keep getting worse for the Oddar Meanchey REDD project in Cambodia. According to a report last week in the Cambodia Daily, logging is now so rampant that community leaders have given up on REDD.
Some of the people who spent years trying to save the forests have now given up and joined the loggers.
By mid-2012, more than 3,000 hectares, or about half, of Andong Bor’s community forest had been cleared. This year a futher 2,000 hectares has gone to make way for cassava fields. The Cambodia Daily quotes the chief of the Andong Bor community forest, Din Heng, as saying that,
“The program here for carbon trading is dead. The government was first committed to protecting these forests for carbon trading, but they are not doing anything to help us fight the illegal logging.”
By Chris Lang, May 2, 2014. Source: redd-monitor
A proposal in the UK to destroy ancient woodland to make way for a £40 million motorway service station clearly reveals the flaws of biodiversity offsets.
Smithy Wood is a small area of woodland on the outskirts of Sheffield. The woodland has featured on maps for several hundred years. 800 years ago, the monks of Kirkstead Abbey used timber from Smithy Wood to make charcoal for smelting iron. The stained glass window above is in the chapter house of Sheffield Cathedral and shows monks smelting iron in the 12th Century.
Smithy Wood was split into four by the construction of the M1 motorway in the 1960s. Nevertheless, the wood is a designated Local Wildlife Site within Sheffield’s Green Belt. Woodland historian Melvyn Jones describes the importance of the remaining woodland:
The fragment of the wood that has survived … is irreplaceable not least because of the wood’s association with the first recorded documentary evidence of metal working in the Sheffield area…. A visit to a wood such as this can be as historically significant and as interesting as one to an ancient parish church, manor house or historic sailing ship.
April 25, 2014. Source: Indigenous Environmental Network
Global civil society, Indigenous Peoples, environmental organizations and social movements from over 30 countries slammed the State of California’s plans to include methane offsets from coal mining and rice cultivation in its cap-and-trade program because they are false solutions to climate change that greenwash mining and use food for carbon trading.
“The peoples of the world reject offsets and carbon traders, big polluting corporations like mining companies and oil giants Shell and Chevron, defend offsets,” notes Americans against Offsets.
This resounding international outcry has already opposed other forms of offsets in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) including offsets from urban trees, domestic and Canadian forests, and REDD (Reducing Emissions form Deforestation and Degradation) in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and other tropical forest countries. Furthermore, the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee of AB32 echoed this opposition to offsets when it submitted its final recommendations to the California Air Resource Board on April 11, 2014.
“Offsets are a carbon trading scam to supposedly compensate greenhouse gas emissions and are used by polluters instead of reducing pollution at source”, says Tom BK Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, who has 16 years of experience participating in national and United Nations climate negotiations.
By Chris Lang, March 20, 2014. Source: REDD-Monitor
Image: Santiago Armengod and Melanie Cervantes
The World Bank continues with its push to trade the carbon stored in forests. But new research shows that safeguards and legal protections for indigenous peoples and local communities in these new forest carbon markets are “non-existent”.
The research was carried out by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) together with the Ateneo School of Government in the Philippines. It includes a survey of 23 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, covering two-thirds of the Global South’s forests. 21 of these countries are members of the UN-REDD programme and/or the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. Brazil has a US$1 billion REDD agreement with Norway. India is the only non-REDD country included in the research.
In a press release, Arvind Khare, RRI’s Executive Director, said,
“As the carbon in living trees becomes another marketable commodity, the deck is loaded against forest peoples, and presents an opening for an unprecedented carbon grab by governments and investors. Every other natural resource investment on the international stage has disenfranchised Indigenous Peoples and local communities, but we were hoping REDD would deliver a different outcome. Their rights to their forests may be few and far between, but their rights to the carbon in the forests are non-existent.”
Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
March 19, 2014. Source: Forest Peoples Programme
After a major inter-continental gathering on Deforestation and the Rights of Forest Peoples held between 9 and 14 March 2014 in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, indigenous and forest peoples called on the international community, governments and international organizations to secure and respect their customary rights to their forests, lands, territories and natural resources in conformity with international law.
They issued this call in the form of the Palangka Raya Declaration, which urges governments, the private sector, financial institutions, international agencies and the international community to:
- halt the production, trade and consumption of commodities derived from deforestation, land grabs and other violations of the rights of forest peoples;
- stop the invasion of forest peoples’ lands and forests by agribusiness, extractive industries, infrastructures, energy and “green economy” projects that deny forest peoples’ fundamental rights;
- take immediate and concrete actions to uphold forest peoples’ rights at all levels including the right to land, territories and resources, the right to self-determined development and to continue to own, control and manage their customary lands according to their knowledge and livelihoods.
By Chris Lang, March 6, 2014. Source: Development Today
Protest outside of a Norwegian government meeting to promote REDD in Oslo, Norway highlights the social and ecological costs of the REDD scheme and draws attention to a scandalous Norske Hydro project that threatens to destroy Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo Courtesy: Friends of the Earth Norway
When I started the REDD-Monitor website in 2008, REDD – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – was promoted as the “low-hanging fruit” that would save the rainforests and address climate change. In 2006, for example, the economist Nicholas Stern had described REDD as “highly cost-effective” and explained that it could reduce emissions “fairly quickly”. More than seven years on, REDD is neither cheap nor quick. (In 2012, I asked Stern whether he has reconsidered his views on REDD in the interim. He didn’t reply.)
The Norwegian government is the biggest funder of REDD, including US$1 billion REDD deals in Indonesia and Brazil, two countries with large areas of forest and high rates of deforestation. The money is payable when deforestation is reduced. But have Norway’s rainforest billions had any influence on rates of deforestation in either country?
Forest politics in the two countries are different. Brazil is opposed to REDD offsets but Indonesia is in favour. Deforestation in Brazil has fallen since 2004, but in Indonesia it is increasing. Brazil has reliable deforestation data, produced annually by the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais). Indonesia’s deforestation data is produced by the Ministry of Forestry – and the data is not supported by satellite data. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Carlos Salvatierra. Source: World Rainforest Movement
Communities, peoples and civil society organizations have worked for years to raise the visibility of the significant benefits of the mangrove ecosystem and the importance of its existence. They have fought for the recognition of mangroves as highly productive systems that provide livelihoods and a space for the practice of the cultures and traditions of coastal peoples. “The mangrove is our natural enterprise, it is our employment, it does not ask us for our qualifications or a CV or identification. As long as we are in good health we can cast our nets and harvest our food,” declared Enrique Bonilla, president of COGMANGLAR and a fisherman from Champerico, Guatemala.
Today, the former perception of mangroves as mosquito-infested swamps has changed, but the struggle to defend them has become increasingly difficult in the face of the new and aggressive actors threatening their existence and the survival of the peoples and communities who inhabit them, from Latin America to Asia to Africa. “They are slowly exterminating us. Government policies criminalize and impoverish us. We are not poor; we have great wealth that the powerful want to appropriate, and we call that environmental racism,” said Marizhelia López of the Movement of Fishermen and Fisherwomen of Bahia, Brazil, expressing her concern over the loss of territories. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
By Chris Lang, February 19, 2014. Source: REDD Monitor
A recent study in East Kalimantan revealed no difference in carbon emissions between Forest Stewardship Council certified logging operations and conventional logging concessions.
This has potentially huge implications for REDD. “Sustainable management of forest” is one of the “plus” parts of REDD as agreed in December 2010 in Cancun. “Sustainable management of forest” could mean subsidies to industrial-scale commercial logging operations in old-growth forests.
The findings of the recent study also have serious implications for the Forestry Stewardship Council which is expanding its certification system to include forest carbon.
The Forest Stewardship Council was formed in 1993, with the aim of promoting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management. It does so through a certification system. An FSC accredited “certifying body” assesses whether the company’s forestry concession complies with a series of FSC principles and criteria. Continue reading
Note: Yes, deforestation needs to be addresssed–and NOT through the development of massive-scale industrial monoculture tree plantations, but by addressing deforestation at its very source–namely agro-industrial expansion, especially of GMO crops, livestock production and overconsumption of paper and timber products.
As far as climate change is concerned, the tunnel vision of the UN, World Bank and other bodies on deforestation as a driver of climate change has been a deliberate misdirection to keep the focus away from where it needs to be–reducing fossil fuel consumption, and preventing its replacement with plant-based fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, which also put out huge emissions.
-The GJEP Team
By Chris Lang, February 15, 2014. Source: REDD-Monitor
Photo: Arnoldo Garcia
Myth: “Deforestation accounts for 25 percent of all man-made emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.”
That statement comes from a 2005 press release from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. A year later, FAO had decided that the figure was too low:
in fact between 25 and 30 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year … is caused by deforestation.
In its 2007 report, the IPCC estimated that deforestation accounted for 17% of emissions.
Two years later, in a paper published in Nature Geoscience, Guido van der Werf and colleagues, argued that the figure was actually closer to 12%. While estimates of the rate of deforestation globally are fairly steady, emissions from burning fossil fuels are increasing rapidly. As such, the percentage of emissions from deforestation is falling. Continue reading
Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Land Grabs, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests