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Ecosystem Marketplace, Marketplace Mitigation Mail

September 17, 2010    

From the Editors

The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon

New rumbling emerged from Europe this week that the potential for emissions-reducing activities involving land use, land-use change, and forestry may be finally getting a day in the European sun.  The European Commission opened up a public consultation to reevaluate the way Europe has gone about accounting for its land use emissions, particularly involving forest management.  We're still not at the stage of debating whether the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will be opening its doors to offsets from land-use activities, but this still signals a potential sea change from the earlier European position on forestry leading in to Kyoto.

The Interim REDD+ Partnership took some more flak recently as a group of more than 30 NGOs spelled out a growing disappointment with the Partnership's gestures at public consultation.  And while the REDD+ Partnership was being scolded, regional dialogues took place in Mexico and El Salvador showing just how to help close the distance between government and civil society actors in REDD+.

Further south, more details and caveats emerged for the nascent Peruvian and Ecuadorian forest conservation efforts.  Some of the nitty gritty of the Peruvian Forest Conservation Program for Climate Change Mitigation surfaced with a new article in the press, and Ecuador's President signaled that the official government endorsement earned recently for the Yasuní-ITT Initiative could be scrapped unless the cash flow is up to his expectations.

As Greenpeace continues patting itself on the back following a series of announcements from major companies withdrawing business relationships with Sinar Mas, an Indonesian palm oil company, the heightened stakes in Indonesia are leading Golden Agri-Resources, part of the Sinar Mas Group to do some island, or rather continent-hopping. Golden Agri-Resources is looking to skip over to Liberia to form a partnership for a 220,000 hectare palm oil plantation.  Fresh off claims of a broad carbon "scam" surfacing this summer that landed a UK-based company on the hot seat, we'll keep our eyes on Liberia to see if maligned palm oil companies seem to make better inroads than maligned carbon project developers.

As always, read on for all this and more, including project development updates and the latest from forest carbon standards organizations in this, the latest edition of Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon Newsletter.

—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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


News

International Policy

Europe tiptoeing towards LULUCF?

A sea change from Europe’s long-standing resistance to crediting land-based carbon reductions, the European Commission recently opened a public consultation to consider the inclusion of land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) as a way of achieving emissions reduction targets.  Mind sufficiently blown?  Although European signatories to Kyoto already track emissions related to afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation, the consultation considers rolling in the broader suite of LULUCF activities, most notably forest management, to help achieve the broad EU emissions reductions targets.  But don’t get too excited yet.  The European move doesn’t yet consider opening the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to LULUCF offsets.   The public consultation is open until November 5.   Read about the announcement in El Diario Vasco here (Spanish), and the EC’s official call for public consultation here, where you can also submit a contribution.

“Good Grief!” -- REDD+ Partnership

Charlie Brown once opined “there must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters . . . I could be their leader.”  It seems he’ll be getting some stiff competition from the Interim REDD+ Partnership after a decidedly un-loving letter from 34 NGOs emerged lambasting the fledgling Partnership last week.   Responding to the skeletal 2-page draft Workplan (PDF) and the apparent disregard or unwillingness to open the doors to civil society and indigenous groups, the letter attempts to set the agenda for the upcoming Partnership meeting in Tianjin, China in early October.  Read the letter and about other foibles of the Partnership from REDD-Monitor here, and learn about the next UNFCCC meeting in Tianjin where the Partnership will be meeting here.

Speaking of Consultation

Last week, El Salvador hosted the second in a series of regional Dialogues from the Rights and Resources Initiative focusing on climate change, REDD and their legal and governmental implications in Meso-America.  The Dialogue – which included 150 participants, and was also offered as a webinar – sought to provide a space for open, honest discussion among decision-makers and civil society actors.  Read more about the Mesoamerican Dialogue on Forests, Governance, and Climate Change from the Salvadorian Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources here (Spanish) and about the series of dialogues organized by the Rights and Resources Initiative here.

Oh, and Then There’s More Consultation

At the end of August the week-long “Workshop on Forestry Governance, Decentralization and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean” convened in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The meeting intended to facilitate government and civil society cooperation on REDD+.  Coverage from Ciudadanía Express outlines Mexico’s track record in this realm over the past several years here (Spanish).  La Jornada-UNAM reported here (Spanish) that a REDD program could take two years to form (in Mexico), but perhaps even longer in countries like Bolivia and Brazil due to larger expanses of forest.  Ultimately, the Workshop was to discuss mechanisms to present at COP 16, focusing on forest management, decentralization of funds for forest conservation, and REDD+.  Check out the official workshop website here and see coverage of the event from IISD reporting services here.

WCI: More Harmony than a Barber Shop Quartet

Taking the next step to harmonize the reporting requirements under the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), the WCI is inviting stakeholder comment on its proposal to align the existing Essential Requirements for Mandatory Reporting (ERs) for use in Canadian jurisdictions.  For a brief explanation to get you up to speed on the harmonizing process of the WCI’s ERs with the EPA and now addressing Canada, as well as being able to access the proposal itself and submit comments, go to the WCI’s site here.

National Strategy & Capacity

Indonesia Re-Raises Stakes on Illegal Logging

In an effort to continue to ramp up the fight against illegal logging in Indonesia, President Yudhoyono and the government are revising a 2005 presidential instruction on illegal logging to help get all the ducks in a row from commitments made in the billion-dollar deal with Norway.  The revised presidential instruction, along with other components of the deal with Norway, are expected to go into effect next year, with government officials saying they are looking to go after the big fishes because they are the main causes for forest loss and are easy to detect.  Check that chip count, and read more from The Jakarta Post here.

What are Spanish Forests Really Worth?

A suggestion in Spain to sell public forests in order to raise revenue to counter the national deficit has sparked a debate about the difference between value vs. price, begging the question, "How much does biodiversity cost?"  While the ex-Minister of Agriculture who proposed the idea said he would not include national or natural parks, he still faces stiff opposition.  As a matter of fact, the Spanish government has been doing quite the opposite of late by buying up forests (which has some raising questions there).  Spain is newer to this debate than some other European counterparts, but is already asking some of the quintessential questions: how much is a forest worth, how is that measured, and what is the price?  Read about the budding debate in El País here.

Leakage? More like rupturing a water main!

With heightened scrutiny on home turf, Singapore’s Golden Agri-Resources is shifting its eyes, and funds, to Liberia where it is seeking to form a partnership with the West African government to establish a 220,000 hectare plantation for palm oil.  Feeling the heat from the impending moratorium in Indonesia, Golden Agri-Resources, a holding of the now infamous Sinar Mas Group (courtesy of a recent Greenpeace campaign), the palm oil company is looking to take its business elsewhere.  Enter Liberia.  A rainforest-rich West African country, still fresh from a 14-year civil war, with a predominantly domestic palm oil production that, in the end, may find the lure of significant revenue increases more attractive than the need to protect the otherwise would-be felled forest.  Read about the proposed deal from The Jakarta Globe here, Mongabay here, and Goallover.org here.

Get the Skinny on Peru’s new Forest Climate Plan

From Peru, more details emerged this month with an article spilling the beans on Peru's new National Forest Conservation Program for Climate Change Mitigation, formed a few months ago.  As new science emerges showing a huge uptick in Peruvian deforestation in 2009 (see further below), the central government seems keen to leverage funding from Germany, the US, and the World Bank to get a new forest conservation plan linked to carbon markets up and running.  Read in the new details about the plan from Caretas here (Spanish).

Finance & Economics

Would you say I have a plethora of climate finance tracking websites?

The UN announced a new website for tracking the fast-track financing pledged for climate change action this month.  FastStartFinance.org intends to show whether or not industrialized countries deliver on their promises of funding to help poorer countries start taking action against climate change.  It is hoped the site will provide transparency about the amounts, direction and use of the funds, as well as build confidence in climate action around the delivery of funds proving commitment from developed countries.  Check out the website here, and read about the launch from TriplePundit here.

A Kiwi Lesson in Supply and Demand

The price of units in the New Zealand emissions market jumped up to $19.80 last week, owing to an apparent lack of supply.  As such, emitters are looking to the forward market, where post-1989 and pre-1990 forestry volumes will be coming on the markets in the next couple years.  OMFinancial sees the market as being oversupplied through 2012; however, that perspective seems to be countered by the fact of a constant demand and an infrequent supply.  Read more at Carbon Positive here.

Before the ink dries…

The signing of the ITT-Yasuní Initiative agreement last month signaled an historic breakthrough, with the government of Ecuador finally agreeing to keep hundreds of billions of barrels-worth of oil underground in order to preserve one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.  But everyone standing around with party hats on will be grimacing when they learn Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is now requiring that $100M come to the Initiative in the first 18 months.  Read about the dark cloud over the Yasuní agreement from América Latina en Movimiento here (Spanish).

Methodology & Standards Watch

New Tweaks lined up for CarbonFix

Last week, CarbonFix announced via Twitter that its Technical Board will be considering revisions to their forest carbon standard.  Ecosystem Marketplace caught up with Moriz Vohrer, Chairman of the Technical Board to get some more details.  Among the proposed revisions are the creation of separate project buffers and communal buffer pools, expansion of CarbonFix eligibility to young forests threatened with harvesting, and a simplified procedure for adding new land to the project area over time.  Slated for an October release, read more details about the planned revisions on the Forest Carbon Portal here.

More VCS Plans to Improve Methodology Process

The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) Association has announced a three point plan to make a smoother ride for future methodologies.  Clearer guidance and cash incentives for methodology writers will be combined with stronger oversight and milestones for the auditors to grease the wheels a bit more.  17 of 21 methodologies in the double-validation process are still awaiting their first validation, but stay tuned to see whether the floodgates will be bursting open.  Read the latest from VCSA here.

Grab a lunch with CAR

For those of you with no friends to take out to lunch, fret not!  Every third Thursday of the month, you can now sit down to a free “Special Topics” webinar presented by The Climate Action Reserve (CAR).  The first webinar, covering the CAR Forest Project Protocol v3.2 was originally scheduled for yesterday, but has now been pushed back to October 7.  Register for the webinar here, and see the upcoming calendar from CAR here.

Human Dimension

Mending Aussie Fences

A recent editorial from Friends of the Earth spokesman Drew Hutton makes a case for farmers and environmentalists to set aside past animosities and collaborate on pushing environmental policy for the Queensland government, arguing a combined effort would be beneficial to all parties in the long-run.  One solution he proposes to counter carbon emissions is by creating incentives for farmers to maintain forest cover and allowing them to produce and sell forest carbon offsets.  Read the editorial on the Stock Journal here.

Indigenous Involvement: Imperative and Ideal

In an interview, David Kaimowitz of the Ford Foundations briefly explains the intimate connections between forests and indigenous peoples, and the benefits and necessities of involving indigenous peoples in decisions on how their forests should be managed.  From women’s land rights to the effects of land tenure policy on poverty Kaimowitz argues for allowing forest management to take place on the community and state levels.  He also mentions some projects the Ford Foundation is currently funding in this realm, and where and how he thinks future funding should be directed.  Read the interview, conducted by the WorldWatch Institute, on Environmental Expert here.

Like Ships in the Night, or In Different Bodies of Water?

At the end of July a group of indigenous women in Ecuador got together for a meeting, organized by CONAIE and CONFENIAE (two Ecuadorian indigenous rights groups), to express their opposition to Socio Bosque, a REDD project of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment (MAE).   At the same time, the MAE is holding capacity-building workshops for stakeholders on how it intends REDD to work.  Read about one workshop from El Ciudadano here (Spanish). Read about the indigenous womens’ meeting and opposition to REDD and Socio Bosque from EcoPortal.net here (Spanish). For the official take, check out the government’s site for the Socio Bosque program here (Spanish).

Project Development

Healthy Trees, Health Care for People

More than one-third of forests in the United States are family-owned, however, external pressures to sell their land constantly weigh on these families.  The number one fear factor?  Having to pay for high or unexpected medical expenses.  Thanks to some ingenuity and collaboration, at least one town in the Pacific Northwest US – Vernonia, Oregon – may be able to address concerns of forest and family health.  Ecosystem Marketplace explores the innovative pilot project in which a community is earning and selling carbon credits to supplement health care costs.  Read about the inspiration, the nuts and bolts, and the hopes for the project on the Forest Carbon Portal here.

A New Guide for REDD+ Projects in Latin America

The Nature Conservancy and the Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas (Idesam) are launching, with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the “Guide to REDD+ Projects in Latin America.” The publication and relies on mapping projects under implementation in several countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru.  It is available for download at the TNC site here (Portuguese).

Peddling Forest Conservation

Ever considered riding your bike to work to cut back on your carbon footprint?  Well, Team Sky in the 2010 Tour of Britain cycling tournament is kicking that idea up a few notches.  (Or should we say, pedaling it up a few inclines?)  Sky Rainforest Rescue, a three-year project between the UK-based television company Sky and WWF is seeking to help protect a billion trees in Acre, a state in northwestern Brazil.  In the Tour, Team Sky will be wearing and using all Sky Rainforest Rescue gear – from the jerseys and sunglasses to the bikes and saddles – in efforts to raise awareness about the project.  See Team Sky’s sick new threads here and read more about the Sky Rainforest Rescue project here.

Getting Swamped in Trinidad and Tobago

Trindad and Tobago’s Environment Minister Roodal Moonilal launched a four-level pilot project, titled “Nariva Swamp Restoration, Carbon Sequestration and Livelihoods Project.”  The project includes reforesting degraded lands, integrating the local communities to work the project, dedicating additional resources to those communities, and lastly entering into the international carbon market.  Read about project in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian here, and see Trinidad and Tobago’s first project on the Forest Carbon Portal Project Inventory here.

Science & Technology Review

And You Thought Avatar was Crazy in 3-D

Scientists from the Carnegie Institution, World Wildlife Fund and Peruvian Ministry of the Environment used satellite mapping, airborne laser technology, and ground-based plot surveys to map 3-D high-resolution images showing the amount of carbon locked up in tropical forests and emitted by land-use practices.  Zooming in on parts of the Peruvian Amazon, the researchers found that, contrary to original estimates, the forest types measured store dramatically different amounts of carbon and that the paving of the Interoceanic Highway, along with selective logging and gold mining, caused a 61% increase in deforestation emissions in 2009.  Read more about the study from the Carnegie Institution for Science site here and more about what was found in the study on Mongabay here and Nature blog here.

And, My Work Seems to be Done Here

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research came out with preliminary numbers saying that deforestation decreased by 47.5% in 2010, according to analysis of low-resolution satellite images.  If the final tallies of decreased deforestation rates prove to be accurate, it could mean that Brazil met its goal of reducing deforestation by 80% by 2020 a decade early... without a REDD+ mechanism.  Naturally, there are many pieces in play, so while tougher law enforcement contributed, there is still the global economic crisis to take into consideration, and to see what happens going forward after elections in Brazil.  Read about these interesting numbers from Nature magazine’s blog here.

Publications & Tools

The following publications and tools are a sampling of those that are available and posted daily to the Forest Carbon Portal.  Find more resources at our resource page here.

REDD undermine organic ag?  Oh, snap!

In an article co-written by Jaboury Ghazoul & Lian Pin Koh of ETH Zurich and Mongabay’s Rhett Butler, it is proposed that forest conservation efforts, such as REDD, could actually undermine “wildlife-friendly” and organic farming techniques.  This confrontation of environmental efforts is due to the fact that REDD projects require forests to conserved, protected, etc; however, organic agriculture requires larger swaths of land (compared to industrial ag) because of the lower yields per acre.  With such a dilemma, what is the eco-warrior to do?  Read about the article from no other than Mongabay here, or access the referenced article originally published in Conservation Biology here.

Soils Society Digs in to Carbon Markets

In July, a one-day workshop from the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) held in St. Louis gathered agriculture and forestry experts to discuss ways to store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through carbon markets, with a focus on valuing the full spectrum of ecosystem services from soil conservation.  Ecosystem Marketplace joined the fray to connect the world of soil science and carbon markets.  The proceedings, presentations, and abstract book are now available from the workshop, fittingly titled “Carbon Markets: Expanding Opportunities/Valuing Co-benefits.”  Find them all from the SWCS website here.

Announcements 

Click here to access the Forest Carbon Portal's Calendar of Events. Click here to view or submit your own job announcements on the Forest Carbon Portal's Jobs Board.

Online REDD Course Updated

Need a refresher on REDD basics, or know someone that would like to get an intro?  The online introductory course put together by The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance, Rainforest Alliance, the World Wildlife Fund, and the German Development Service – has been updated with new information and activities.  The course is free and publicly available here.
 

ABOUT THE FOREST CARBON PORTAL

The Forest Carbon Portal provides relevant daily news, a newsletter, articles, a calendar of events, the "Carbon Connections" discussion forum, a profile directory, a jobs board, a toolbox of resources ranging from methodologies to policy briefs, and market analysis on land-based carbon sequestration projects from forest to farm. All Forest Carbon Portal community members can comment on articles and upload their own projects, resources, events and job opportunities, although user permissions and rights vary according to involvement. The Portal also includes the Forest Carbon Project Inventory, a searchable database and map of projects selling land-based carbon credits across the globe and those in the pipeline. Users can search for projects by country, as well as by a variety of criteria such as project type, standard, registry and size. Projects are described in consistent 'nutrition labels' which supply as much information as can be maintained in a consistent structure. Operational projects must either be third-party verified or have sold credits to be eligible for listing.

 

ABOUT THE ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Ecosystem Marketplace is a project of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our voluntary carbon markets program are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com. 

 
 

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