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This Week In Forest Carbon:
President Obama's Climate Action Plan Includes REDD+

This week, President Barack Obama announced his decision to create new pollution standards for power plants. In addition to limiting greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters, the president’s Climate Plan also addresses the role of domestic forests in mitigating climate change as well as REDD and the administration’s commitment to reducing global land-use-related emissions.


This article was originally published in the Forest Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.




29 June 2013 | President Barack Obama recently gave the Environmental Protection Agency his blessing to propose and implement regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants in the United States. While the President’s Climate Action Plan will have obvious repercussions for large emitters, its effects on REDD+ and forest carbon are less concrete.
  

The latest Ecosystem Marketplace coverage unearths the implications of limiting carbon and its potential effect on the formation of cap-and-trade programs and “state leadership”, which the President referred to explicitly in his speech. David Antonioli, CEO of the Verified Carbon Standard believes “the Obama plan is unlikely to have a direct impact on the voluntary carbon markets,” however, it will likely encourage “countries and companies to start taking concrete action against climate change.”

The President’s Climate Action Plan reports that “greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, agriculture, and other land use constitute approximately one-third of global emissions.” It also highlights REDD+ and addresses the United States’ role in mitigating carbon emissions by reducing agriculture-driven deforestation. The Obama Administration has already partnered with developing countries to develop the framework needed to reduce global emissions stemming from land use, as well as to implement new programs to support sustainable development and improved livelihoods. The Plan acknowledges USAID’s contribution to reducing more than 140 MtCO2e through the World Bank's Forest Investment Program and Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.

 

Furthermore, the plan recognizes the role of domestic forests in mitigating climate change and in “removing nearly 12% of total U.S greenhouse gas emissions each year.” The Administration is striving to identify new methods to conserve America’s forests, grasslands and wetlands despite increasing pressures to convert forest land to support agricultural or urban capacity, as reported in the plan. 

 

Switching gears, we are pleased to announce the successful launch of the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2013 report! The event, which took place on June 20 here in D.C., was well attended by carbon stakeholders from across the D.C. metropolitan area and the U.S. 

 

Thank you to everyone who attended the launch event and to those who contributed to this year’s report! We look forward to working with you again next year! 
 

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

If you have comments or would like to submit news stories, write to us at general@forestcarbonportal.com.


News

 

Announcements

A one-stop shop

A new Ecosystem Marketplace article covers the recent marketing agreement between CO2OL, a Forest Finance Group subsidiary, and the Forest Carbon Group. Together, the two Germany-based organizations will offer forest carbon projects involving REDD+, improved forest management, reforestation and afforestation and serve clients in the events, transport, energy and manufacturing industries. To date, CO2OL has three forest carbon projects certified under the CarbonFix standard, a landfill project under the Gold Standard, and several projects under the Forest Stewardship Council, while Forest Carbon Group has five projects jointly certified to the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standard.


VCS now accepting comments

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is now accepting public comments on draft tools for jurisdiction-wide programs crediting REDD+. The Tool for the Estimation of Jurisdictional Leakage in VCS Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) Programs outlines an approach for jurisdictional programs to deal with leakage as a result of activity shifting, market and deforestation-to-degradation leakage. The Jurisdictional Non-Permanence Risk Tool outlines procedures to account for natural disasters and economic and political risks to the carbon store within the jurisdiction.

 

International Policy

REDD+ on the move

While many REDD-related policies may not be solidified until COP19 in November, several policies are making headway. Negotiators at the UN climate change conference in Bonn discussed the verification of carbon emissions under REDD+, proposing an international analysis of reported emissions reductions. Additionally, governments came to a consensus over national forest monitoring systems and reporting requirements, which will require REDD+ countries to eventually report emissions every two years using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines. REDD+ finance mechanisms covering both market and non-market financial mechanisms, agriculture, and high-carbon ecosystems such as mangroves and peatlands were key points of discussion.

 

Transparency, a key principle within IPCC guidelines, has become increasingly important for countries developing methodologies for estimating forest carbon stocks. To comply with these bylaws, the Ministry of Environment of Peru recently published data on national deforestation from 2009 to 2011, as well as the methodology behind the analysis, marking a significant turning point for the Government of Peru in its transparency efforts related to national forest monitoring, a necessary precursor for REDD+. Leading the way in transparency efforts, Brazil has published deforestation statistics through studies conducted by the National Institute for Space Research since the 1990s, showcasing the results of REDD+.

 

US Policy

When push comes to shove

A recent Ecosystem Marketplace article unravels the story behind President Barack Obama’s proposal to limit carbon pollution from heavy polluters as part of a comprehensive climate plan. While the president’s speech did not provide explicit details on future EPA regulations, his announcement may encourage the private sector to take tangible action on climate change. The climate plan also discusses REDD+, acknowledging high-levels of emissions stemming from the land use sector in developing nations. “It’s encouraging to see President Obama put forward a bold plan to address the challenges of climate change and embrace key provisions like carbon finance and REDD to achieve these goals,” states David Antonioli, CEO of VCS.

 

Strength in numbers

In California, a group of offset project developers came together to form the newly-minted Compliance Offset Developers Association (CODA), a forum for project developers to share technical knowledge and ideas regarding emissions reductions projects under California’s cap-and-trade program. CODA intends to connect project developers in order to gain a better understanding of the rules and regulations of the offset market on a collaborative basis. A “member-driven and transparent organization,” CODA is open to companies that have three or more projects in forestry, ODS or livestock, project types that are eligible for California compliance. Current members include A-GAS RemTec, Camco, Coolgas, Inc., Diversified Pure Chem, Environmental Credit Corp, and Terrapass.

 

Project Development

Madre nature

The Madre de Dios Amazon REDD+ Project recently garnered verification under VCS, offsetting 4.5 MtCO2e over a four-year period spanning from 2009 through 2012. Located in the Peruvian Amazon in “one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots”, the Madre de Dios project covers 100,000 hectares of rainforest developed by Greenoxx Global. The project was originally validated by SCS Global Services under VCS and CCB, earning Gold Level recognition by CCB. Income from the project is projected to fund increased satellite monitoring and field patrolling to mitigate illegal logging and deforestation as well as social programs in local communities.

 

Backing out

Just prior to gaining approval for a forest carbon project in Oddar Meanchey province in Cambodia, two buyers withdrew due to the forestry administration’s lack of commitment to the $1-million carbon credit deal which was slated to protect 68,000 hectares of forest. Pact country director Sarah Sitts vocalized her concerns for the greater market stating, “If buyers start to see Cambodia can’t sell those credits, buyers might stop coming to Cambodia.” When questioned, Cambodian government officials expressed confusion over the deadline.

 

National Strategy and Capacity

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

In 2011, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono implemented a two-year forest moratorium under a $1 billion grant from the Norwegian government earmarked for REDD+. The forest moratorium aims to mitigate the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by prohibiting the award of new licenses to clear or convert primary natural forests and peat lands to agriculture or other uses. Although President Yudhoyono recently extended Indonesia’s forest moratorium plan, fires continue to burn on the Indonesian island of Sumatra causing the neighboring nations of Singapore and Malaysia to suffer the brunt of the consequences – thick smoke and heavy air pollution. The fires, principally due to illegal forest clearing, highlight Indonesia’s lack enforcement in the forestry sector. In addition, the absence of transparency and timely data related to Indonesia forest policy has further contributed to moratorium-related problems.

 

Investigating Indonesia

This week, Indonesia became the first country to launch a forest governance report. Providing an investigation of Indonesia’s forest and land governance policies and presenting recommendations for shortcomings related to REDD+, the 2012 Indonesia Forest, Land and REDD+ Governance Index (Participatory Governance Assessment Report) launched in Lombok, Indonesia. The study, covering 10 provinces across Indonesia, was spearheaded by UNDP Indonesia and UN-REDD in partnership with FAO and the UNDP Oslo Governance Center. UNDP Principal Technical Advisor for REDD+ Tim Clairs believes the report, along with baseline data are “important first steps towards improved governance systems and structures."

 

It's hip to be green

With the help of the South Korea-based Global Green Growth Institution (GGGI), Indonesia recently launched a two-year green growth initiative intended to devise a funding system for REDD+, galvanize the Indonesian Economic Development Acceleration Masterplan, and provide support for green growth at the provincial level. In 2009, Indonesia pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 26 percent by 2020. The Indonesia government has since chosen the provinces of Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan to host the Green Growth’s pilot projects, necessitating an estimated $1.5 million. Indonesia intends to have an operational REDD+ financial scheme in place in 2014.

 

Myanmar up to bat, Sri Lanka on deck

With additional funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Center for People and Forests has added Myanmar to its portfolio of countries within the Grassroots Capacity Building for REDD+ Project. Project development in Myanmar is slated to mirror that of the other four focal countries, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal and Vietnam, through collaboration with local organizations, both government and non-government alike. A planning workshop, attended by representatives from Myanmar’s Department of Forestry, civil society organizations and relevant organizations, was held at the end of May in Nye Pi Taw, Myanmar, to develop a plan for the REDD+ Grassroots Project and discuss national REDD+ policies.

 

In Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy recognized a growing pressure on its forest resources as a result of a growing national economy and called upon the assistance of UN-REDD. The Environment and Renewable Energy Minister, Susil Premajayantha, recently inaugurated the development of an in-country REDD+ program.

 

Finance & Economics

It’s all about the results

A recent CIFOR study, Key Issues in REDD+ Verification, discusses the issue of “aid conditionality”, or development aid funding based on attaining specified GHG emissions reductions. Discrepancies over REDD+ financing as well as a methodology for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) emissions are continuing to threaten technical work related to forest monitoring systems. While REDD+ was originally intended to be funded by carbon emissions trading, inadequate demand in the carbon markets has resulted in the majority of the $17.2 billion already committed to REDD+ coming from development aid budgets, resulting in funding connected to results-based actions.

 

Rise to the challenge

In a question-and-answer session with CIFOR, Arilid Angelsen, editor of Analyzing REDD+: Challenges and Choices, gives his take on REDD+’s future. Whether through national or regional level carbon market inclusion, an increase in development aid, or via domestic funding through NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions), Angelsen believes securing funds through a new global climate agreement in 2015 will be critical for REDD+. The amount of funding is also a key factor, which can be greatly influenced by factors such as in-country political instability and the economic crisis in Europe.


Human Dimension

¿Por qué, Panama?

Following the withdrawal of the National Coordinating Body of the Indigenous People of Panama (COONAPIP) in February, the UN-REDD Programme now has the potential to rectify REDD+’s collapse in Panama if new policies regarding the rights of Indigenous Peoples are implemented at the UN-REDD Programme’s Tenth Policy Board meeting, scheduled to take place in Indonesia this week. COONAPIP leader, Betanio Chiquidama, plans to attend the conference. Chiquidama believes REDD+’s failure in Panama was due to the absence of recognized indigenous rights and the exclusion of the indigenous peoples from the program design process. He hopes that UN-REDD will work “to design something better – with the indigenous peoples who own the forests.”

 

Science & Technology

Putting northern forests on the map

Part of the Biomasar-II project, scientists recently generated a map of the entire northern hemisphere’s forest biomass. The resulting images depict one kilometer per pixel, proving to be the highest resolution images of their kind to date. Biomass plays a crucial role in researchers’ understanding of the carbon cycle, aiding in predictions for future climate trends. The new imagery draws from “stacks of radar images” from the European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite, whereas previous technology relied on single Envisat radar images, which according to Maurizio Santoro of Gamma Remote Sensing, “cannot provide the sensitivity needed to map the composition of forests with high density.”

 

Publications & Tools

Case in point

The Role of the Private Sector in REDD +: The Case for Engagement and Options for Intervention discusses the importance of the private sector in REDD+ planning and implementation and highlights different types of interventions. The UN-REDD Programme policy brief argues for stronger private sector engagement and is intended to encourage public sector REDD+ planners and practitioners to connect with the private sector.

 

The poorest in the forest

Missing the Poorest for the Trees? REDD+ and the Links between Forestry, Resilience, and Peacebuilding, an outcome of the Humanitarian Consultancy Project at the London School of Economics and Political Science, analyzes forestry-related issues and conflict in Brazil, Indonesia and Uganda. Recommendations include the implementation of REDD+ safeguards, placing a greater emphasis on human rights, poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation, and the alignment of REDD+ programmes with national development strategies.

 

Jobs

Coordinator, Amazon Forest & Climate – The Nature Conservancy

Based in Brazil, the Coordinator will provide technical and political leadership and support for The Nature Conservancy’s REDD+ work in the Amazon and will build strategic, scientific and technical capacity among staff and partners on REDD+. Candidates should have a college degree and experience in REDD+, forest conservation and/or sustainable agricultural production. Read more about the position here.

 

2 Positions – African Wildlife Foundation

Based in Zambia, the Program Officer, Forestry will coordinate daily operations and field activities within established jointly-managed forest areas and REDD+ project sites and closely liaise with government, research, community, and carbon consultants. Candidates should have an advanced degree in environmental sciences, natural resource management, or international development and 3+ years’ experience working on community-based forestry programs in Africa. Also based in Zambia, the Senior Policy Advisor will work with key government stakeholders, USAID policy representatives and the government to facilitate the development of a joint national REDD+ strategy. Candidates should have an advanced degree in public policy, environmental law, or a relevant field and 5+ years’ previous experience working in the development of public policies.

 

National Coordinator, Grassroots Capacity Building for REDD in Laos – The Center for People and Forests

Based in Laos, the National Coordinator will lead the development and revision of training and capacity building materials for REDD+ and deliver the REDD+ training and awareness program. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resource Management and 5+ years of experience in teaching and developing training materials. Read more about the position here.

 

Intern, Communications – The Gold Standard Foundation

Based in Geneva, the Intern will assist the marketing and communications manager with the online building of, and advocacy for The Gold Standard and produce feature stories and other media materials for the website and newsletter. Candidates should be graduate students majoring in communications or marketing and have an interest in climate change, climate finance and development. Read more about the position here.

 

Project Manager – Honko Mangrove Conservation & Education

Based in Madagascar, the Project Manager will work with the onsite co-project manager to lead the first blue carbon project in Madagascar in tandem with community associations. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in biology, sustainable development, bio-engineering, or conservation and knowledge of blue carbon and REDD+. Read more about the position here.

 

Deputy, Chief of Party – Conservation International

Based in Indonesia, the Deputy will oversee a team of up to ten positions within the North Sumatra program area and will be responsible for local coordination, monitoring and development of the annual Sustainable Landscapes Partnership program work-plan. Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in natural resource management or a related field and 7+ years of experience with public-private partnerships. Read more about the position here.


Project Manager, Aceh – Fauna & Flora International

Based in Indonesia, the Project Manager will lead projects focusing on forest protection, wildlife management, climate change mitigation and marine and coastal resource management. Candidates should have a Master’s Degree in a relevant discipline and 5+ years’ experience working in fields of nature and conservation, ecosystem management and/or community engagement with an international conservation environment. Read more about the position here.


Researcher, Illegal Logging and Forest Governance Indicators Project – The Chatham House

Based in London, the Researcher will undertake research and analysis of data in collaboration with country partners to enable the national assessments of illegal logging. Candidates should have 8+ years of proven expertise in the forestry sector with particular experience analyzing timber trade and illegal logging. Read more about the position here.

 

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