Tag Archives: REDD

Video: Indonesia’s rate of deforestation has doubled under the moratorium

By Chris Lang, 11th December 2013  Source: REDD-Monitor

A recent study revealed that the Indonesian government has been telling lies about its rate of forest loss. The study found that between 2000 and 2003 the rate of deforestation in Indonesia was about one million hectares per year. In the years 2011 and 2012, the rate doubled to about two million hectares per year.

The researchers, who were led by the University of Maryland and received help from Google and NASA, published their findings in Science magazine in November 2013. Part of their work included synthesising 12 years of satellite data to produce an Global Forest Change map.

A video of a presentation organised by Google’s Earth Outreach is available here. During the presentation, the lead researcher, Matthew Hansen of the University of Maryland, talks about deforestation in Indonesia:

Going over to Indonesia, another hot spot. Indonesia’s the bookend to Brazil, and it has the highest annual increase in forest cover loss over the study period, of around 1,000 square kilometres per year. And this is coincident with you know, in 2011 they instituted a deforestation moratorium meant to mimic in some sense the Brazilian effort, and the news in this study is that the first full year of our results, inside the moratorium was the highest forest loss in Indonesia. So Indonesia has this ramping up of forest loss.

A lot of our preliminary discussions were speculating there’s this perverse incentive when you try to send the alarm out that there’s going to be a halt to deforestation it can actually accelerate deforestation. That’s not a confirmed conclusion, but we do see here in some of these, this peninsula, area here in Riau province, in Indonesia, deep peatland soils, this is a wetland and a ring of clearing in 2012, new concessions that are being cleared. You see this in a lot of the wetlands in Indonesia. As they’ve exhausted the upland resources, they are going down into the wetlands.

And the patch size in the clearings of the wetlands are industrial scale, big change.

Strictly speaking, Indonesia’s moratorium never was a “deforestation moratorium” – it was a moratorium on new concessions. But Hansen’s point remains valid. Indonesia’s rate of deforestation has increased since the moratorium was announced.

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The Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus: The decision on REDD finance (sort of)

By Chris Lang, 29th November 2013  Source: REDD-Monitor

Negotiators at COP19 in Warsaw last week agreed seven decisions relating to REDD – the “Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus”. You can find each of the decision texts, as they came out of COP19 in Warsaw here.

This post looks at the decision on REDD finance, or, to give it its full title, the Work programme on results-based finance to progress the full implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70 (pdf file, 75 KB).

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The forest mafia: how scammers steal millions through carbon markets

Note: As many of us have been warning for almost a decade (and some for much longer). This article also mentions the opposition to California’s forest carbon offset program by Indigenous villages in Chiapas, Mexico.  GJEP helped uncover this opposition through a documentary expedition we undertook to the region in 2011, and the production of articles, photo essays and a video about these communities called A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests.

–The GJEP Team

By Ryan Jacobs, Oct 11, 2013.  Source: The Atlantic


A forest village of the indigenous Matses tribe in the Amazon. (Rebecca Spooner/Survival International)

From the article: “There is something especially insidious about these fake forest carbon credits. Investors and corporations who buy voluntary credits believe they are buying into something grander than, say, the efficiency improvements of a single factory in China. They believe they’re funding not only the preservation of trees, but also the wellbeing of local forest communities. Unwittingly, they might be financing the destruction of both.”

When the balding Australian first stepped off the riverboat and into the isolated pocket of northeastern Peru’s Amazon jungle in 2010, he had what seemed like a noble, if quixotic, business plan.

An ambitious real estate developer, David Nilsson hoped to ink joint venture agreements with the regional government of Loreto province and the leaders of the indigenous Matses community to preserve vast thickets of the tribe’s remote rainforest. Under a global carbon-trading program, he wished to sell shares of the forest’s carbon credits to businesses that hope to mitigate, or offset, their air pollution.

The product is invisible, poorly understood, and regulation is extremely limited.

Located a six-day ride from the frontier city of Iquitos, the jungle’s vegetation, soils, and looming trees store an immense amount of carbon dioxide—roughly one ton, the equivalent of one UN-backed carbon credit, per tree.

In an ideal scenario, this is how it’s supposed to work: A community in a developing country works with an NGO or developer to design a plan to protect a large swathe of forest and thus prevent the release of the harmful chemical compound into the atmosphere, in accordance with the United Nations’ program called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). Then, it can get the emissions reductions certified by a third-party auditor and sell the resulting carbon credits to corporations in developed countries interested in reducing their own carbon footprints. (Deforestation accounts for roughly 17 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.)

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Behind the backs of the People of California, Gov. Brown advances a policy harmful to Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth

San Francisco, Oct. 17 - Governor Jerry Brown of California was slated to receive the Blue Green Alliance’s Right Stuff award for environmentalism in San Francisco this evening but did not show up perhaps because he knew it was going to be protested. Outside of the awards ceremony at the Parc 55 Hotel, people protested including Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network who read the following statement.

 PRESS STATEMENT OF TOM GOLDTOOTH

(Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network)

Behind the backs of the People of California,

Gov. Brown advances a policy harmful to Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth

north-cop-tom-goldtooth0912Despite being awarded, as I speak, for his supposed environmentalism, Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples.

This policy privatizes the air we breathe. Commodifies the clouds. Buy and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the Sacred.

This policy is called carbon trading and REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But REDD really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity. REDD does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source. And REDD may result in the biggest land grab of the last 500 years.

The State of California is ALREADY using national forests and tree plantations as supposed sponges for its pollution instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at source. The infamous oil giant Shell is using forests in Michigan to offset its refinery in Martinez, California.[i] California is at the vanguard of REDD in the world and posed to do REDD internationally.

REDD is bad for the climate, bad for the environment, bad for Californians, bad for human rights and bad for the economy.

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Friends of the Earth calls for an open review of the Kalimantan Forest Carbon Partnership

By Chris Lang, 21st August 2013, Source: REDD Monitor

Friends of the Earth Australia has written to the Australian Government calling for “an open review of its failed experiment in climate aid in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia”. The Australian-funded Kalimantan Forest Carbon Partnership was quietly shelved earlier this year.The letter, which is supported by Indonesian partners WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia), Yayasan Petak Danum Kalimantan Tengah (Land and Water Foundation Central Kalimantan) and Friends of the Earth International, is available on FoE Australia’s website.

In a press release (see bel0w) Nick McClean, Climate Justice Coordinator with FoE Australia, points out that the money spent on the project must be accounted for. He also raises the issues of a reported gag on project staff and protests from customary landholders. Isaac Rojas from Friends of the Earth International points out that a review of the KFCP project would help other forest conservation programmes:

“REDD has so far been problematic in many parts of the world, and the unwillingness of REDD partners to help secure the rights of customary landholders is proving a key problem with this approach. Getting to the bottom of why these problems keep occurring will help in developing partnerships with local communities that can lead to effective conservation programs.”

REDD-Monitor looks forward to the Australian Government’s response to FoE’s letter.

Friends of the Earth Australia calls for transparency on climate aid and recognition of customary land rights in Indonesia

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) / JAKARTA (INDONESIA), 21 August 2013 –  Friends of the Earth Australia has today called on the Australian government to initiate an open review of its failed experiment in climate aid in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, citing a lack of transparency and a lack of effective engagement with issues surrounding customary forest rights as key failings of the government’s approach. [1]

In an open letter supported by Indonesian partners WALHI / Friends of the Earth Indonesia, Yayasan Petak Danum Kalimantan Tengah (Land and Water Foundation Central Kalimantan) and Friends of the Earth International, Friends of the Earth Australia has called on AusAID and the Australian government to break its silence on the controversial program.

The Kalimantan Forest Carbon Partnership (KFCP) was originally slated to protect 70,000 hectares of peat forests, re-flood 200,000 hectares of dried peatlands and plant of 100 million trees, projected to lead to 700 million tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions over 30 years. It was championed by both Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd as an important test case for initiating climate action through the UN’s Reduced Emmissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program. The KFCP was quietly shelved on June 30th this year, having failed to achieve any of these targets, and having caused sustained conflict among local communities who were supposed be at the heart of the projects efforts.

‘With such ambitious targets announced by successive Coalition and Labor governments, the Australian government should now front up to the public in an open and honest way, and conduct a thorough review of the KFCP’ said Nick McClean, Climate Justice Coordinator with Friends of the Earth Australia.

‘Walking away from a $47 million dollar investment without accounting for how the money was spent and what the outcomes are is unacceptable in any situation. But with a major increase in Australian foreign aid on the cards, and lasting change in the forested lands of the developing world a crucial part of climate action, learning the lessons from this REDD trial is crucial for any future conservation efforts. A reported gag on project staff and the continued protests from a number of customary landholders in this case are particularly alarming aspects of the project. It begs the question as to what really happened in the KFCP’

Isaac Rojas from Friends of the Earth International echoed these concerns:

‘REDD has so far been problematic in many parts of the world, and the unwillingness of REDD partners to help secure the rights of customary landholders is proving a key problem with this approach. Getting to the bottom of why these problems keep occurring will help in developing partnerships with local communities that can lead to effective conservation programs,’ he said.

Deddy Ratih, Bioregion and Climate Campaigner with WALHI / Friends of the Earth Indonesia said:

‘Throughout Indonesia, local communities have an intimate knowledge of their forests and a willingness to engage that can be a major asset in halting deforestation and managing forests sustainably. But if the international community are unwilling to support these communities in securing their rights to land ownership as the basis of a positive collaboration, it’s hard to see how conservation schemes like REDD will be successful in the long run. Simply paying communities to stay out of their forests so foreign polluters can offset their emissions won’t work. Supporting the recognition of the active custodial relationships with traditional lands these communities maintain an important part of the long term solution to deforestation’ he said.

Currently between 50 and 80 million people live in Indonesia’s forested areas, many of whom are customary land holders who receive little recognition of their rights from the Indonesian government. While a recent constitutional court case established the validity of these land rights in the Indonesian constitution, the Indonesian government is yet to act on this development and legislate for widespread recognition of these rights.

Nick McClean from Friends of the Earth Australia said :

‘Customary landholders deserve a better deal than what they are currently getting, being the unfortunate victims of the widespread landgrabbing and deforestation that occurs in Indonesian Borneo. Supporting recognition of their rights is a way of countering these destructive industries and investing long term in the conservation estate. We hope that a review of this project will contribute to mapping out a positive path forward on this challenging issue’

NOTES

[1] For more information, see http://foe.org.au/articles/2013-08-21/burning-questions-about-kalimantan-forests-and-climate-partnership

 

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Protecting carbon to destroy forests: Land enclosures and REDD+

By Chris Lang, May 6, 2013. Source: redd-monitor

2013-05-06-144632_249x259_scrotA new report by Carbon Trade Watch takes a detailed and critical look at REDD from the perspective of land enclosures. “REDD+ will not stop deforestation,” the report argues. Rather than addressing the root causes of deforestation, REDD promotes the argument that environmental destruction in one location can be ‘compensated’ in another. As such, REDD reinforces underlying causes of deforestation.

The report, titled “Protecting carbon to destroy forests: Land enclosures and REDD+”, can be downloaded here (pdf file, 1.3 MB). The report is edited by Transnational InstituteFDCL and FIAN.

The report points out that rather than putting pressure on corporations to clean up their acts or support local struggles, REDD,

gives forest destroyers a way to legitimize their actions as environmentally ‘friendly’ or ‘carbon neutral’. Far from positioning itself as an ally to the many local groups that have preserved forested lands most strongly, REDD+ tends to silence debates about the unjust realities surrounding corporate pressures on land tenure regimes.

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KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Watch: Jeff Conant on REDD forest offsets and California’s carbon market

Note: Jeff Conant is a good friend and former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.

-The GJEP Team

kpfk_logoJeff Conant, International Forests Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, discusses the dangers of including REDD forest offsets in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act.  Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

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Concerns grow over weak safeguard implementation in REDD

Forest Peoples Programme on REDD and safeguards

By Chris Lang, May 1st 2013.  Source: REDD-Monitor
Forest Peoples Programme’s April 2013 E-Newsletter focuses on safeguards. The E-Newsletter starts by looking at why safeguards matter. Other articles explain and comment on the World Bank’s safeguards review, forest policy and oil palm policy, the failure of safeguards in the Camisea gas project in Peru and examples from the Congo Basin and Cameroon.

An article by Francesco Martone and Tom Griffiths gives a critical overview of safeguards in REDD. The article looks at how the safeguards included in the 2010 decision on REDD at the UNFCCC COP16 meeting in Cancun have been adapted and watered down in key REDD programmes:

While on paper the translation of the UNFCCC political mandate on safeguards seems to have led to some significant achievements in terms of recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, when it comes to operationalisation and implementation the picture is so far less encouraging.

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“We reject REDD+ in all its versions” – Letter from Chiapas, Mexico opposing REDD in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)

By Chris Lang, 30th April 2013.  Source: REDD-Monitor

Organisations based in Chiapas, Mexico have written to California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, to oppose the inclusion of REDD in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).

Young girls in Amador Hernández   Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Young girls in Amador Hernández Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

In March 2011, Global Justice Ecology Project travelled to Chiapas and documented the problems that REDD and other conservation projects were causing for communities in the Lacandón jungle. Jeff Conant, who was then Communications Director for GJEP, wrote a series of articles based on the visit. The articles are collected on GJEP’s blog, Climate Connections. And Orin Langelle, GJEP’s Board Chair, produced a photo essay about the visit to Chiapas.

GJEP also produced a video about REDD: “A Darker Shade of Green”, which includes interviews with communities in Chiapas (the part about Chiapas starts at 10:45). One of the villagers describes REDD from his perspective:

“They see our Mother Earth as a business, and for us you should never see it like that, it’s our Mother, she can’t be sold. Now they’re developing this REDD Project that’s about carbon capture, it doesn’t serve us. We struggle simply to feed ourselves.”

In December 2012, an article was published in Truthout about the impact of REDD on communities in Chiapas. The title is very appropriate: “Colonialism and the Green Economy: The Hidden Side of Carbon Offsets”. The impacts of carbon offsets on the communities in Chiapas, it seems, remain largely hidden from view in California.
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Africans unite against new form of colonialism: No REDD Network born

March 29 2013. Source: Environmental Rights Action

NoReddAfrica1

Photo Credit: Nnimmo Bassey

Outraged by the rampant land grabs and neocolonialism of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation), Africans at the World Social Forum in Tunisia took the historic decision to launch the No REDD in Africa Network and join the global movement against REDD.

REDD+ is a carbon offset mechanism whereby industrialized Northern countries use forests, agriculture, soils and even water as sponges for their pollution instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at source.

“REDD is no longer just a false solution but a new form of colonialism,” denounced Nnimmo Bassey, Alternative Nobel Prize Laureate, former Executive Director of ERA/Friends of the Earth Nigeria. “In Africa, REDD+ is emerging as a new form of colonialism, economic subjugation and a driver of land grabs so massive that they may constitute a continent grab.We launch the No REDD in Africa Network to defend the continent from carbon colonialism.”

In the UN-REDD Framework Document, the United Nations itself admits that REDD could result in the “lock-up of forests,” “loss of land” and “new risks for the poor.” Continue reading

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