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E-News Issue 8 October 2008


Headlines from the ASB Blog

Financing Global Forests: the Eliasch Review

Last week, the UK government released Financing Global Forests: the Eliasch Review on forests and climate change. The report builds on the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, by focussing on the potential for avoided deforestation to mitigate climate change. The review comprehensively documents the case for avoided deforestation, and concludes that

Urgent action to tackle the loss of global forests needs to be a central part of any future international deal on climate change. A deal that provides international forest financing could not only reduce carbon emissions significantly, but also benefit developing countries, support poverty reduction and help preserve biodiversity and other forest services.
A primary focus of the review is the degree of finance required and the financial mechanisms which could potentially lead to reduced emissions from deforestation, estimating that the finance required to halve emissions from the forest sector to 2030 could be around $17-33 billion per year.

The review intersects with ASB research in a few areas, including opportunity cost analysis, agroforestry, and an overall focus on achieving improved livelihoods. Read More...


News

EU halts inclusion of EU ETS forestry credits until 2020

The commission announced in its communication on deforestation that “allowing companies to buy avoided deforestation credits [on the EU ETS] would result in serious imbalances between supply and demand”. The emissions from deforestation are roughly three times greater than the emissions regulated under the EU ETS, the report explained, which could lead to forest credits swamping the carbon market and undermining the price of carbon.

But environmental commissioner Stavros Dimas proposed “testing” the inclusion of deforestation in carbon markets through the establishment of a Global Forest Carbon Mechanism (GFCM) that would compensate tropical countries for reducing their emissions from deforestation. The commission would also consider including forestry credits in the EU ETS for the period after 2020.

Source:: EU says emissions trading system may fund forest conservation mongabay.com. October 17, 2008.

Deforestation continues in Brazil despite promises and massive investments

Deforestation is on the rise in Brazil and the government now faces charges after a study found the rate of deforestation to be three times faster than in 2007. The study, by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research found a 228% increase in forest destruction in the Amazon in August 2008 compared to one year ago.

A mix of forces are driving the land use change. Upcoming elections in the Amazon region means local mayors often ignore illegal logging, hoping to get votes. Rising food prices are also being blamed.

The Brazilian government’s land and agrarian reform agency, Incra, was accused of being the worst offender, which could fuel arguments that poor farmers are to blame for the destruction of the Amazon. One of Incra’s duties is to distribute land to the poor. The Environment Ministry said it would bring criminal charges against all individuals and companies responsible for deforestation.

Source: Brazilian government faces criminal charges over Amazon deforestation. 30 September 2008. Guardian UK.

Australia’s land carbon measuring system goes global

Australia's National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) has been selected by the Clinton Climate Initiative to be the basis for a Global Carbon Monitoring System, which aims to use carbon trading to benefit the environment and help alleviate poverty in the developing world. The NCAS incorporates remote sensing, information from satellite images, greenhouse gas accounting methods, and modelling of changes in the environment to monitor and account for emissions from land-based sectors.

Source: Australia's land carbon measuring system goes global. GovernmentNews Australia. 27 October 2008.

Forest Coalition Releases REDD Advice

Although the role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation cannot be disputed, there has been much uncertainty and global debate about the best ways to tap into forest carbon sequestration opportunities.  The Forests Dialogue, convened by Yale University, has released five guiding principles on ensuring forest-related climate change options take into account local and indigenous people in forest areas.

  1. Ensure that forest-related climate change options support sustainable development in both forest-rich and forest-poor countries.
  2. Tackle the drivers of deforestation that lie outside the forests sector.
  3. Support transparent, inclusive, and accountable forest governance.
  4. Encourage local processes to clarify and strengthen tenure, property, and carbon rights.
  5. Provide substantial additional funding to build the capacity to put the above principles into practice.

The Forests Dialogue expresses the consensus view of more than 250 leaders of environmental and social groups, businesses, Indigenous Peoples’ and forest community groups, trade unions, forest owners, governments, and international organizations.

The full Forests Dialogue’s statement, Beyond REDD: The Role of Forests in Climate Change and related materials, can be found at: www.theforestsdialogue.org/climate.html

Natural capital and the global financial crisis

The global financial crisis has sparked new debate about the role of the economy vis. the environment. Many argue that the crisis is a sign that ecosystems need to be valued, and how environmental crises are of a greater magnitude than any bank crash. Carbon Positive reports

Deforestation around the world this year will cost the world more than the current financial crisis, economists claim. The study puts the cost of clearing the world’s forests at $2 trillion to $5 trillion every year, compared to the one-off cost of the global credit crunch so far estimated at $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion.
Meanwhile, there are also reports that the carbon market has continued to grow strongly despite the current financial turmoil. In an opinion piece for BBC News, Andrew Mitchell, director of the Global Canopy Programme, reflects on the global financial crisis and its potential impact on natural capital. He believes that the current crisis may force the global community to start valuing the ecosystem services we have taken for granted until now, in the name of economic stability. He argues for valuing forest carbon in the name of security and stability:

The economy, I believe, is at a truly historic tipping point where the global economy will rapidly need to incorporate the risks from the collision course that energy security, food security and environmental security are all on... Investing in natural capital may in time indeed turn out to be as safe as any other public utility but for that to happen we need the equivalent of an ecosystem services market with an environmental regulatory body that forces us to value the common goods that we continue to plunder at our peril.

Source: Time to invest in nature's capital. BBC News. 13 October 2008.


Publications and Opportunities

FAO: biofuels could help the poor, with right policy framework

Biofuel policies and subsidies should be urgently reviewed in order to preserve the goal of world food security, protect poor farmers, promote broad-based rural development and ensure environmental sustainability, FAO said today in a new edition of its annual flagship publication The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2008.

WWF Discussion Paper: Policy Approaches and Positive Incentives for REDD

This paper aims to provide an overview to potential policy approaches and positive incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in the post-2012 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In particular, the paper discusses the potential implications or key elements for consideration when determining positive incentives for REDD. Click for Full Report.

Low-carbon energy projects for development in sub-Saharan Africa. Unveiling the potential, addressing the barriers

Unlocking Africa’s clean energy potential. Authors: C. de Gouvello; F., B. Dayo; M. Thioye. Publisher: The World Bank Carbon Finance Unit, 2008 . Click for Full Report.

The role of land-based offsets in Emissions Trading Systems: Key design aspects and considerations for linking

A new working paper by Andreas Tuerk, Charlotte Streck, Tracy Johns and Naomi Pena examines how carbon trading schemes in operation or design in the EU, Australia, Canada, the US, and New Zealand as well as offset standards deal with land-based offsets, and how these differences impact linking of trading systems. The research was coordinated by Climate Strategies with contributions from Joanneum Research, Climate Focus and the Woods Hole Research Center. Click for Full Report.

Opportunity: Terra Viva Grants

Terra Viva Grants is a new website for identifying where to look for grants in the “green sectors” of international development. The website includes profiles of about 300 grant makers worldwide in agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources. The profiles of grant makers can be browsed in lists, or searched in a database to speed up filtering and comparison. Grants are for technical assistance (development projects), education and capacity building, research, and prizes and awards.


Events

Workshop - Adaptation to climate change: the role of ecosystem services. 3-5 November, Turrialba, Costa Rica.

GEO Forest Monitoring Symposium - 4 to 7 November, 2008, Foz do Iguaçu, PR, Brazil
Organized by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

Carbon Markets Africa 17-19 November 2008, Cape Town, South Africa. The 2nd annual Carbon Markets Africa will once again to provide an excellent platform for business to learn about the latest developments for CDM in Africa.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference 1-12 December 2008, Poznań, Poland ASB staff and scientists will be at this year's climate change conference in Poznan, Poland. More details about our participation will be posted soon.

ASB Side Event at Climate Change conference - REDD strategies for high-carbon rural development, 5 December 2008, Poznan, Poland (9:00 am). Come to our side event at the Climate Change conference! The World Agroforestry Centre and ASB will be hosting a side event at this year’s UNFCCC Conference of Parties.

CIFOR Forest Day 2 6 December 2008. Poznań, Poland
Shaping the Global Agenda for Forests and Climate Change. Forest Day will bring together the world’s pre-eminent forest stakeholders, agenda setters and policy makers to address the key forest and climate issues of our time. ASB wil also be hosting a side event on the Opportunity Costs for Avoided Deforestation with Sustainable Benefits: Next Steps.

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