The forest carbon world is regrouping after Durban, where progress on key issues like a REDD+ finance mechanism was less than forthcoming – but where clear signals on other technical and policy issues could nonetheless make for an interesting new year for REDD+ projects.
Along with other sub-national programs with strong forest carbon components – like California’s cap-and-trade program and Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative – this issue brings to light some project developers, investors, and standards organizations that are making moves as the new year turns over.
Two countries with long running REDD+ sagas popped up in the news, finding both countries still struggling to assure donor countries of the seriousness of their efforts. Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana was stepped down as the country’s president, as Donald Ramotar took the position. The new president seeks to assure Norway, which has pledged $250 million for REDD+ efforts in Guyana, that his administration will provide the transparency and safeguards that Jagdeo was unable to deliver.
However, given that the ruling People's Progressive Party has not changed, the administration is largely the same, and elections may not have been entirely fair, it is unclear that funds will start flowing.
Indonesia was hailed earlier in the year for declaring a moratorium on granting forest concessions, releasing an Indicative Map demarcating areas under protection. The map has shrunk again and again, a phenomenon that Indonesia says is due to an administrative backlog in recognizing legitimate concessions – rather than any nefarious influence of the country’s admittedly powerful agricultural and mining lobby.
In contrast to Indonesia’s controversies, New Zealand’s cap and trade program appeared to be promoting forest growth, as the number of seedling plantings grown at commercial forestry plantations was up 27% from January to April 2011.
However, that was a time when NZUs were fetching around NZ$20, compared to their current price, which is hovering above $10. With lower prices, Forest Owners' Association Chief Executive David Rhodes says the scheme is unlikely to be providing the same kind of incentive for forest expansion as earlier in the year
As we head into a new year, the Forest Carbon Portal is taking a look back at the big forest carbon stories of 2011 in our next issue. You or your company can be mentioned in the special edition by telling us what were 2011's biggest stories in the forest carbon world?
This reader poll narrows the playing field to a few big headlines – your response helps us highlight last year’s Top 10. Respond by January 9, 2012.