Tag Archives: REDD

A glimpse inside the Rimba Raya REDD project in Indonesia

June 12, 2014. Source: Redd-Monitor

Photo from the 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

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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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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, REDD, Warsaw/COP-19

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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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

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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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

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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Filed under Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pollution, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests