Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Excellent EDF summary on what to expect in 2011


Jennifer Haverkamp's excellent article is hyper-linked in the blog title bar. It notes that REDD+ and finance saw the most progress in the Cancun Agreements and that more work lays ahead. Happy New Year TFG blog readers - please don't forget to kiss a dinosaur this year!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Sectoral (and REDD) language in ARB's Regulations Order

The 188-page ARB rule is hyperlinked in the blog title bar. TFG has also transcribed the portion of the decision on sectoral crediting, where REDD is located. Below is our unofficial transcription of the relevant sections (from pages 176 to 178).

§ 95991. Sector-Based Offset Credits.

Sector-based offset credits may be generated through reduced or avoided GHG emissions from within, or carbon removed and sequestered from the atmosphere by, a specific sector in a particular jurisdiction. The Board may consider for acceptance compliance instruments issued from sector-based offset crediting programs that meet the requirements set forth in section 95994 and originate from developing countries or from subnational jurisdictions within those developing countries, except as specified in subarticle 13.

§ 95992. Procedures for Approval of Sector-Based Crediting Programs.

The Board may approve a sector-based crediting program in an eligible jurisdiction after public notice and opportunity for public comment in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (Government Code section 11340 et seq.). Provisions set forth in this article shall specify which compliance instruments issued by an approved sector-based crediting program may be used to meet a compliance obligation under this Article.

§ 95993. Sources for Sector-Based Offset Credits.

Sector-based credits may be generated from:

(a) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Plans; and

(b) Reserved for other sources of sector-based credits.

§ 95994. Requirements for Sector-Based Offset Crediting Programs.

(a) General Requirements for Sector-Based Crediting Programs. The Board may consider for approval a sector-based crediting program which may include the following sectoral requirements:

1. Sector Plan. The host jurisdiction has established a plan for reducing emissions from the sector.

2. Monitoring, Reporting, Verification, and Enforcement. The program includes a transparent system that regularly monitors, inventories, reports, verifies, and maintains accounting for emission reductions across the program’s entire sector, as well as maintains enforcement capability over its reference activity producing credits.

3. Offset Criteria. The program has requirements to ensure that offset credits generated by the program are real, additional, quantifiable, permanent, verifiable and enforceable.

4. Sectoral Level Performance. The program includes a transparent system for determining and reporting when it meets or exceeds its crediting baseline(s), and evaluating the performance of the program’s sector during each program’s crediting period relative to the business as usual or other emissions reference level.

5. Public Participation and Participatory Management Mechanism. The program has established a means for public participation and consultation in the program design process.

6. Nested Approach. If applicable, the program includes:

(A) Offset project-specific requirements that establish methods to inventory, quantify, monitor, verify, enforce, and account for all project-level activities

(B) a system for reconciling offset project-based GHG reductions in sector-level accounting from the host jurisdiction.

(b) Sector-Specific Requirements. Pursuant to section 95996, specific sectors may have specific requirements unique to that sector.

§ 95995. Quantitative Usage Limit.

Sector-based offset credits approved by ARB for compliance pursuant to section 95821(d) are subject to the quantitative usage limit specified in section 95854.

§ 95996. Reserved for Sector-Specific Requirements

§ 95997. Reserved for Approved Sector-Based Crediting Programs.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

California's Historic Vote on Climate Change and RED

Tonight at 7:07 pm, the California Air Resources Board voted to adopt the cap and trade regulations for AB32, California's global warming law. The final vote passed 9 -1.

The new regulations include, among many things, strong preliminary support for sub-national RED international emissions reductions.

Just before passing the new rules (resolution 1043), many CARB board members highlighted that more work lays ahead, in terms of details, the operation of a market, protocols, and oversight. The overarching suggestion from Board members to the staff was a call for transparency in implementation of this new market. "If things go bad, they can go really bad" said board member Sperling, as he called on ARB staff to report back to the Board on ensuring appropriate market oversight.

Anyone watching CARB's process today should be proud of the integrity and openness behind this new bold direction for California. Said CARB member Berg near the end of the meeting, "today is the beginning of a new level of details".

Congratulations CARB Board members, staff and of course California voters! A recent poll shows 64% of surveyed voters support the cap and trade parts of California's bill.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Historic Cancun Agreement for Sub-National REDD+

The Tropical Forest Group is still reviewing the final negotiating text (the most recent electronic version is hyper-linked in the title), but it is clear:

1) The UNFCCC process is alive and well;
2) REDD+, including interim sub-national REDD+, is one of the most important United Nations decisions adopted by consensus since 1992's Rio Agreements;
3) It is a supersonic historic accomplishment for a wounded process that citizens worldwide should be proud of;
3) This agreement, combined with a REDD+ Mechanism in the Copenhagen Accord and California's recent decision to move forward with sectoral REDD crediting, and all the elements are in place for profound positive developments in the conservation of tropical forests.
4) The participation and role of forest communities, local people, indigenous peoples, and ordinary citizens in the subsequent decision-making will ultimately determine whether REDD+ will succeed.
5) You should get up and dance, this is epic. TFG has been working on sub-national REDD+ and the importance of setting forest reference levels for years, because of their importance.


(Below is TFG's transcription of the REDD+ parts of the LCA text of the Cancun Agreement, which is yet to be officially published. We have included the dedicated REDD+ paragraphs and the two relevant Annexes. This is not official text.)

Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on long- term Cooperative Action under the Convention

III C. Policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries

Affirming that, in the context of the provision of adequate and predictable support to developing country Parties, Parties should collectively aim to slow, halt and reverse forest cover and carbon loss, according to national circumstances, consistent with the ultimate objective of the Convention, as stated in Article 2,

Also affirming the need to promote broad country participation in all phases described in paragraph 73 below, including through the provision of support that takes into account existing capacities,

68. Encourages all Parties to find effective ways to reduce the human pressure on forests that results in greenhouse gas emissions, including actions to address drivers of deforestation;

69. Affirms that the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 70 below should be carried out in accordance with annex I to this decision, and that the safeguards referred to in paragraph 2 of annex I to this decision should be promoted and supported;

70. Encourages developing country Parties to contribute to mitigation actions in the forest sector by undertaking the following activities, as deemed appropriate by each Party and in accordance with their respective capabilities and national circumstances:

(a) Reducing emissions from deforestation;

(b) Reducing emissions from forest degradation;

(c) Conservation of forest carbon stocks;

(d) Sustainable management of forest;

(e) Enhancement of forest carbon stocks;

71. Requests developing country Parties aiming to undertake activities referred to in paragraph 70 above, in the context of the provision of adequate and predictable support, including financial resources and technical and technological support to developing country Parties, in accordance with national circumstances and respective capabilities, to develop the following elements:

(a) A national strategy or action plan;

(b) A national forest reference emission level and/or forest reference level (6) or, if appropriate, as an interim measure, subnational forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels, in accordance with national circumstances, and with provisions contained in decision 4/CP.15, and with any further elaboration of those provisions adopted by the Conference of the Parties;

(c) A robust and transparent national forest monitoring system for the monitoring and reporting of the activities referred to in paragraph 70 above, with, if appropriate, subnational monitoring and reporting as an interim measure,(7) in accordance with national circumstances, and with the provisions contained in decision 4/CP.15, and with any further elaboration of those provisions agreed by the Conference of the Parties;

(d) A system for providing information on how the safeguards referred to in annex I to this decision are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 70, while respecting sovereignty;

72. Also requests developing country Parties, when developing and implementing their national strategies or action plans, to address, inter alia, drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, land tenure issues, forest governance issues, gender considerations and the safeguards identified in paragraph 2 of annex I to this decision, ensuring the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, inter alia, indigenous peoples and local communities;

73. Decides that the activities undertaken by Parties referred to in paragraph 70 above should be implemented in phases beginning with the development of national strategies or action plans, policies and measures, and capacity-building, followed by the implementation of national policies and measures and national strategies or action plans that could involve further capacity-building, technology development and transfer and results-based demonstration activities, and evolving into results-based actions that should be fully measured, reported and verified;

74. Recognizes that the implementation of the activities referred to in paragraph 70 above, including the choice of a starting phase as referred to in paragraph 73 above, depends on the specific national circumstances, capacities and capabilities of each developing country Party and the level of support received;

75. Requests the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice to develop a work programme on the matters referred to in annex II to this decision;

76. Urges Parties, in particular developed country Parties, to support, through multilateral and bilateral channels, the development of national strategies or action plans, policies and measures and capacity-building, followed by the implementation of national policies and measures, and national strategies or action plans, that could involve further capacity building, technology development and transfer and results-based demonstration activities including consideration of the safeguards referred to in paragraph 2 of annex I to this decision, taking into account the relevant provisions on finance including those relating to reporting on support;

77. Requests the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention to explore financing options for the full implementation of the results-based actions (8) referred to in paragraph 73 above, and to report on progress made, including any recommendations for draft decisions on this matter, to the Conference of the Parties at its seventeenth session;

78. Also requests Parties to ensure coordination of the activities referred to in paragraph 70 above, including of the related support, particularly at the national level;

79. Invites relevant international organizations and stakeholders to contribute to the activities referred to in paragraphs 70 and 78 above.

Footnotes

6 In accordance with national circumstances, national forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels could be a combination of subnational forest reference emissions levels and/or forest reference levels.

7 Including monitoring and reporting of emissions displacement at the national level, if appropriate, and reporting on how displacement of emissions is being addressed, and on the means to integrate subnational monitoring systems into a national monitoring system.

8 These actions require national monitoring systems.


Annex I. Guidance and safeguards for policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries

1. Activities referred to in paragraph 70 of this decision should:

(a) Contribute to the achievement of the objective set out in Article 2 of the Convention;

(b) Contribute to the fulfilment of the commitments set out in Article 4, paragraph 3, of the Convention;

(c) Be country-driven and be considered options available to Parties;

(d) Be consistent with the objective of environmental integrity and take into account the multiple functions of forests and other ecosystems;

(e) Be undertaken in accordance with national development priorities, objectives and circumstances and capabilities and should respect sovereignty;

(f) Be consistent with Parties’ national sustainable development needs and goals;

(g) Be implemented in the context of sustainable development and reducing poverty, while responding to climate change;

(h) Be consistent with the adaptation needs of the country;

(i) Be supported by adequate and predictable financial and technology support, including support for capacity-building;

(j) Be results-based;

(k) Promote sustainable management of forests;

2. When undertaking activities referred to in paragraph 70 of this decision, the following safeguards should be promoted and supported:

(a) Actions complement or are consistent with the objectives of national forest programmes and relevant international conventions and agreements;

(b) Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty;

(c) Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities, by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws, and noting that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

(d) The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular, indigenous peoples and local communities, in actions referred to in paragraphs 70 and 72 of this decision;

(e) Actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity, ensuring that actions referred to in paragraph 70 of this decision are not used for the conversion of natural forests, but are instead used to incentivize the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services, and to enhance other social and environmental benefits; (1)

(f) Actions to address the risks of reversals;

(g) Actions to reduce displacement of emissions.

Footnotes. 1 Taking into account the need for sustainable livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities and their interdependence on forests in most countries, reflected in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the International Mother Earth Day.


Annex II. Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice work programme on policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries

In the development of its work programme, the SBSTA is requested to:

(a) Identify land use, land-use change and forestry activities in developing countries, in particular those that are linked to the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, to identify the associated methodological issues to estimate emissions and removals resulting from these activities, and to assess their potential contribution to the mitigation of climate change, and report on the findings to the Conference of the Parties at its eighteenth session on the outcomes of the work referred to in this paragraph;

(b) Develop modalities relating to paragraphs 71 (b) and (c), and guidance relating to paragraph 71 (d) of this decision, for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its seventeenth session;

(c) Develop as necessary, modalities for measuring, reporting and verifying anthropogenic forest-related emissions by sources and removals by sinks, forest carbon stocks, forest carbon stock and forest area changes resulting from the implementation of activities referred to in paragraph 70 of this decision, consistent with any guidance for measuring, reporting and verification of nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties agreed by the Conference of the Parties, taking into account methodological guidance in accordance with decision 4/CP.15, for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its seventeenth session;


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dec 8 LCA text: nerdy SBSTA REDD stuff

The new LCA text is out, with even more brackets on key issues. One area that has not received a lot of attending is the SBSTA mandate. In the new (and old) text, Annex III is a request to SBSTA for a REDD+ work program.

TFG believes the SBSTA mandate is a very good start (including national and sub-national modalities for key issues such as reference levels) but misses the most important work SBSTA should do in coming years.

The current SBSTA request is limited to paragraphs 67 and 68. TFG believes the text should also request SBSTA to cover MRV issues associated with results-based demonstration activities and results-based actions (that are discussed in paragraph 70). Improved language to deliver more comprehensive and coordinate technical work would go from initial designs and reference levels (67 and 68) all the way through results-based actions and MRV. SBSTA has taken years to have a good decision on REDD (especially reference levels) but must evaluate the full range of technical issues that will come in various phases in a coordinated manner. In fact, paragraphs 70 specifically refers to paragraph 67, but goes into more detail on key technical and scientific issues and MRV.

Other parts of the REDD text allow a country to use different starting phases, but if SBSTA is restricted to paras 67 and 68, then countries ready to go the fastest, and wanting the integrity of SBSTA, will have to wait. This could be accomplished by adding the following text to Annex III, paragraph (c):

…resulting from implementation of activities referred to in paragraph 67 [ …and paragraph 70 ] of this decision, consistent with….

This will ensure SBSTA develops modalities for the most important issue, the MRV of results-based demonstration activities and results-based actions.

We know that this is unlikely to change since it is not bracketed text, but if negotiations allow, such changes would ensure a more consistent (across time), equitable (countries can pick their starting phases) and supportive SBSTA process on REDD+.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bolivia's rates of deforestation highest under Morales


Here in Cancun at COP16, Bolivia is definitely trying to present itself as the moral guardian of forests and Mother Earth. However data by FAO and other sources and compiled on Mongabay (link is in the title bar) show that under the Morales Presidency (Morales was elected in 2006) rates of deforestation in Bolivia have jumped significantly. Currently, Bolivia is deforesting at a rate of approximately 840 hectares per day. This rate is in stark contrast to President Morales's eco-grandstanding. President Morales has sent a knee to the groin of Cancun climate change negotiations (as he did in a soccer match recently). Hopefully he gets a REDD card here....

Dan Nepstad (IPAM) addresses COP16

President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa addresses COP16

video

Monday, December 6, 2010

COP16 Cancun 1 (Jackson Channels JohnO)

video

IPAM Launches Northern Branch in Style



Brazil's most prestigious ecological research center celebrated 15 years of amazing work, including one of the original calls for REDD (Compensated Reductions) in Cancun. They officially launched their new northern extension program as Dan Nepstad migrates from the Woods Hole Research Center to IPAM International Programs in California.

Dan was the keynote speaker at Forest Day 4, moments before President Felipe announced several new Mexican forest projects and initiatives.

IPAM threw a classic bash - wonderful people, amazing food, two Environment Ministers from Brazil (an amazing feat on its own given politics), and a lot of cotton candy. Wow!

In the picture L to R, Paulo Moutinho (IPAM), Senator Marina Silva, Dan Nepstad (IPAM)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Text of CA, Chiapas, Acre MOU on REDD (11/16/2010)

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION BETWEEN THE STATE OF ACRE OF THE FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL, THE STATE OF CHIAPAS OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES, AND THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The State of Acre of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the State of Chiapas of the United Mexican States, and the State of California of the United States of America, hereinafter referred to as "the Parties":

ACKNOWLEDGING the friendship and excellent cooperation among the governments of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the United Mexican States, and the United States of America;

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the global nature of environmental problems and the ability of joint efforts to enhance joint policies for environmental protection and sustainable natural resources, especially reducing emissions from deforestation;

RATIFYING the willingness to promote new mechanisms of dialogue and agreement that lead to the strengthening of relationships and productive mutual action;

CONSIDERING the opportunities for collaboration between the State of Acre, the State of Chiapas, and the State of California in combating climate change;

RECOGNIZING the importance and value of implementing climate mitigation and adaptation actions at sub-national levels, both in their own right and as a means to furthering national and international efforts;

Recognizing further the importance of focusing on issues of common interest between the Parties, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the forest sector by preserving standing forests and sequestering additional carbon through the restoration and reforestation of degraded lands and forest, and through improved forest management practices;

Recognizing further that the Governors' Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force is a unique subnational collaboration between 14 states and provinces from the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Mexico that seeks to integrate Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and other forest carbon activities into emerging greenhouse gas (GHG) compliance regimes in the United States and elsewhere. As such, the GCF represents an important foundation for identifying enhanced partnerships.

EXPRESS their willingness to cooperate, in the search of joint actions that improve environmental quality and optimize the quality of life in the State of Acre, the State of Chiapas, and the State of California.

ARTICLE 1

This Memorandum of Understanding is intended to promote broader cooperation regarding environmental issues among the Parties within their respective purview and based on principles of reciprocity, information exchange and mutual benefit.

ARTICLE 2

The Parties will coordinate efforts and promote collaboration for environmental management, scientific and technical investigation, and capacity building, through cooperative efforts focused particularly on:

a. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and land degradation - otherwise known as "REDD" - and sequestration of additional carbon through the restoration and reforestation of degraded lands and forests, and through improved forest management practices.

b. Developing recommendations together to ensure that forest-sector emissions reductions and sequestrations, from activities undertaken at the sub-national level, will be real, additional, quantifiable, permanent, verifiable and enforceable, and capable of being recognized in compliance mechanisms of each party's state.

ARTICLE 3

In furtherance of the priorities referenced in Article 2, the Parties will develop the following method of cooperation, among others:


a. The states will develop a Sub-national REDD Working Group that will convene monthly between December 2010 through October 2011 to begin the process for developing a state to state sectoral REDD linkage recommendation that will provide the foundation for an eventual submittal to the California Air Resources Board, as defined in California's cap and trade program (CCR, Title 17, Sections 95991-95997) and to other necessary state entities to approve such a recommendation amongst the Parties. This group will weigh the legal, technical and economic considerations in developing sector-based credits generated by the Parties. This group should include no more than 15 representatives with experience developing sector-based REDD programs or directly involved with the states supplying the credits, or from the California state government. The process should be led by a facilitator to ensure the group focuses on meeting the needs of ARB in their existing cap and trade regulations. Membership should be limited to a small number of representatives of each Party, a national representative from the selected states;, a limited number of NGO representatives and expert advisors including one on the social dimension of greenhouse gas mitigation, but no more than 2 project based standard organization representatives, and a facilitator.

b. Other methods developed between the Parties.

ARTICLE 4

The Parties will cooperate in the development of a workplan for the REDD Partnership Working Group containing cooperative actions.

The workplan will include all necessary provisions for implementing the cooperation activity agreed upon, including its scope, coordination and administration, resource allocation, expert and professional exchanges, administrative issues, and any other information deemed necessary for achieving the objective of this Memorandum of Understanding.

Independent of the formalization of work plans the Parties agree that collaboration proposals can be presented that allow the parties to optimize outcomes for achieving the objective of this Memorandum of Understanding.

ARTICLE 5

In activities of cooperation and information exchanges, if Parties deem it convenient, private and public sectors may be invited to participate, as well as public, academic and research institutions, or any other organization, as long as they can directly contribute to the achievement of the objective of this Memorandum of Understanding. Other states are also encouraged to participate as Observers to working group discussions.

ARTICLE 6

The Parties will finance activities referred to in this Memorandum of Understanding with resources allocated in their respective budgets, as these resources become available and as stipulated by their own legislation processes. Each Party will pay for expenses related to its own participation, unless alternative financial mechanisms can be used for specific activities, as appropriate and as approved by their respective appointing authority.
ARTICLE 7

Confidential or protected information, material or equipment will not be subject to transfer pursuant to this Memorandum of Understanding.

If information, material and equipment is identified to require or to potentially require protection and classification, during the development of cooperation activities as stated in this Memorandum of Understanding, the Parties will inform corresponding authorities and will establish the appropriate protections in writing. Transfer or use of information, material and equipment not protected or classified which is controlled by any of the Parties, shall be done in accordance with applicable laws of each state, province, nation, or institution and must be properly identified.

ARTICLE 8

Officials designated by each Party to implement cooperation activities under this Memorandum of Understanding will continue working for the party to whom they belong, and no labor relations will be created with any other Party to this Memorandum of Understanding.

Cooperative activities under this Memorandum of Understanding will in no way change the original employer/employee relationship of the officials working together under this Memorandum of Understanding.

The Parties will make all necessary arrangements with corresponding authorities to facilitate customs entrance and exit of participants officially taking part in cooperation projects under this Memorandum of Understanding. These participants will be bound by migration, fiscal, customs, sanitary and national security provisions existing in each respective country and are not authorized to do any other activity without previous permission from the appropriate authorities.

The Parties will ensure that their official representatives participating in cooperation actions have medical, liability and life insurance, to pay costs related to damage repair or indemnification, in case that an accident may occur as a result of cooperation activities related to the execution of this Memorandum of Understanding.

ARTICLE 9

Any differences of interpretation, management or execution of this Memorandum of Understanding will be resolved by mutual understanding of the Parties.

ARTICLE 10

This Memorandum of Understanding can be modified by mutual consent of the Parties in writing, specifying the date of the entry into force of any such modifications.

ARTICLE 11

Termination of this Memorandum of Understanding can be made by any of the Parties, through written communication directed to the other Parties with thirty (30) days advance notice.

ARTICLE 12

The Parties acknowledge that this Memorandum of Understanding is only intended to provide for cooperation between the Parties, and does not create any legally binding rights or obligations. To the extent any other provision of this Memorandum of Understanding is inconsistent with this paragraph, this paragraph shall control.

Executed at the University of California, Davis, during the Governors' Global Climate Summit 3, United States of America, on November sixteen of two thousand and ten, in three originals in the English language.


FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

________________________________
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger




FOR THE STATE OF ACRE IN THE FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC OF BRAZIL

________________________________
Governor Arnóbio Marques de Almeida Júnior



FOR THE STATE OF CHIAPAS
IN THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES

________________________________
Governor Juan Sabines Guerrero


WITNESSED BY:


Linda Adams
Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Chair of the Climate Action Reserve

Mary Nichols
Chair of the California Air Resources Board


Edvaldo Magalháes
Deputy of Acre State and
President of Legislative Assembly
Of Acre State

Lourdes A. Lopez Moreno
Secretary for Environment, Housing and Natural History State of Chiapas

Ricardo Martinez
Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal and Border Affairs State of California Environmental Protection Agency

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TFG Briefing Note on Proposed AB 32 REDD regulations

TFG has produced a short 1-page briefing note on the key highlights contained in the recently proposed AB 32 rules. There is a pdf link from the blog title, and it is reproduced below (except the quantitative box in the pdf).
.


TFG Briefing Note on Proposed CA AB 32 Regulations
(November 2010)

Summary: In October 2010, the California Air Resource Board (ARB) released draft regulations to implement AB 32, California’s global warming law. ARB will vote on these regulations on December 16, 2010. The proposed regulations and accompanying staff report bolster prospects for up to 74 million tons (CO2 equivalent) in compliant demand for emission reductions from reducing deforestation in developing countries (REDD). The proposed regulations are the largest, most advanced global outlet for compliance REDD credits from nested projects or jurisdictional policies.

How can offsets enter the CA cap and trade system?
Offsets can enter California’s system either through ARB approved protocols or ARB approved programs. All ARB approved protocols have been developed by the Climate Action Reserve, are for domestic offsets, and are eligible for early action crediting. ARB approved programs will include linked programs with partner compliance entities (such as the Western Climate Initiative) and sector-based offsets. Currently, REDD is the only offset category explicitly designated as eligible for sector-based crediting.

How many potential REDD credits?
The new proposed regulations allow for 8% of a compliance entity’s obligations to be met with offsets. Of these, sector-based credits will likely be restricted to 25%/25%/50% of the offset limit for 1st/2nd/3rd compliance periods, respectively. This translates into a maximum REDD offset demand of 74.3 million tons of CO2 from 2012 to 2020 (see chart).

Sector-based offsets: jurisdiction-scale developing country offsets
To be eligible for sector offsets in California’s program, an entire sub-national jurisdiction’s sector such as cement or forestry, must have emissions below a crediting baseline. The crediting baseline itself must be below a historical average of emissions for that sector in that jurisdiction. REDD is the only category explicitly proposed for sector-based credits in the regulations. More detailed rules will be needed in coming years and these will likely be informed by the Governors Climate & Forests Taskforce (GCF).

Proposed California Sectoral Requirements for REDD
1. Historical deforestation emissions must be calculated for “gross” deforestation over the past 10 years.
2. Jurisdictions & ARB must approve plans to lower emissions below historical emissions by 2020.
3. Forest carbon inventories must follow IPCC guidance, likely at Tier 2 or higher.
4. Jurisdictions that use nested-REDD projects must have accounting systems to reconcile nested project-based GHG reductions with sector-level accounting.
5. Jurisdictions must plan to retire and ensure permanence of the REDD credits.
6. Mechanisms must be in place for public consultation and participation in the program design.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

latest (July 9, 2010) UNFCCC negotiating text released

The latest (July 9, 2010) consolidated negotiating text has been released and is hyperlinked in the title of the blog.

The UNFCCC is continuing forward, even as the US gives up the race.

The REDD text is mostly in Chapter 6. Not much new, some specific language for SBSTA to develop modalities for baselines (Paragraph 6 of the section) and modalities for verifying changes in forest carbon stocks and emissions (paragraph 10) as well as more specifics on safeguards (para 11).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dear Interim REDD+ Partnership

Dear Interim REDD+ Partnership,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your proposed work and the role of stakeholders. The Tropical Forest Group (TFG) congratulates you on your successes to date on this critical partnership.

On our view, the Interim REDDD+ Partnership’s engagement of stakeholders has been far too little, too late. We know this is a country-driven process. We know Parties will coordinate the donations and the receipt of funds. We salute the governments participating.

But if federal governments associating with this Partnership continue to treat stakeholders as after-thoughts, the hope and promise of REDD will fail.

With the UNFCCC process in critical condition, and with REDD as a clear beacon of hope, your Partnership’s lack of transparency, lack of sincere engagement, and lack of openness are jeopardizing the one branch of UNFCCC negotiations that could have paved the way for larger and broader successes.

We offer the following brief comments for your respectful consideration.

The current stakeholder process is extremely shallow. The co-chairs circulated an invitation to the first technical workshop less than 10 days before it was to begin. Visa and travel arrangements could not be arranged by most global stakeholders, let alone financing or clearing calendars. The follow-up from the workshop for stakeholders, contained in your summary, is 110-words, devoid of specifics, vision, implementation steps or complete sentences. Given that we are now 20% through with the 2010 to 2102 phase, we find this state of affairs incredibly disheartening. We believe without a severe course-correction, the work that must be done, will not. As two small examples of how our work could have informed your deliberations, a Tropical Forest Group staff person was intimately involved with development of the original version of the CCB Standards, which have become the most highly-desirable forest carbon standard with dozens of users. Second, our staff and affiliates helped produce the only global comparison of forest carbon models. We have found that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s estimate of forest carbon stocks are often quite a bit higher than other models. Our work also allows multiple Tier 1-type estimates to be made for specific areas, thus generating valuable estimates of certainty

We urge the Interim REDD+ Partnership to redouble its efforts and finalize concrete ways to meaningfully involve stakeholders. The Tropical Forest Group (TFG) offers our assistance in any way. Members of our staff have been involved with multi-stakeholder processes that have been effective in the REDD space.

In terms of your priority work item, development of a voluntary database, we do not have a clear understanding what this database will be or do. The Tropical Forest Group and others stakeholders have begun preparing a global database to track REDD+ donor outlays and receipts in developing counties. Our work will likely parallel closely your Partnership’s database work, but we plan on adding several layers of review and analysis. We hope to make full use of the Partnership’s publicly-available database as soon as possible. We will be working with partners around the world to verify REDD support stated and received and what was done with the support. We also will attempt to build tools which discern the degree to which REDD+ support can be tethered to REDD+ actions on the ground.

Finally, we would encourage other tiers of government to be invited into your stakeholder process. There are substantial innovations and critical REDD developments occurring at the state, provincial, and local levels. We suggest expanding your definition of “stakeholder” to explicitly include the word “government agencies” to reflect this important scale between project based accounting and national carbon accounting.

Sincerely,

John-O Niles
Director

Cara Peace
Policy Director

Thursday, June 24, 2010

TFG Staff Retreat (Oakleigh 2010)


Gabriella Klein, Thomas Cole, John-O Niles, Cara Peace, Linda Cole

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Norway-Indonesia REDD Letter of Intent

REDD-MONITOR has posted a copy of the 5-page Norwegian/Indonesian letter of intent on REDD+. It is hyperlinked in the blog title.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Interim REDD+ agreement adopted at the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference yesterday

The agreement on financing and fast-start measures to protect tropical forests was approved by nearly 50 countries and is seen as an important step in the process leading up to COP 16. The partnership will be co-chaired by two representatives, one each from a developing and developed country. The United Nations and the World Bank will act as the secretariat.
Parties to the agreement also intend on establishing a voluntary (based on a survey) database of REDD+ financing, actions and results. The initial responses from the survey can be found HERE.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Illegal logging rates rise 25-fold over last year in Madagascar...

The New York Times has reported that the logging of a rare species of rosewood tree, endemic to Madagascar, has increased 25-fold over the previous year. This alarming rate of deforestation can largely be attributed to the new and shaky government, which came to power in early 2009 by way of coup, and which has been unwilling to put a plug on exports valued at $167 million last year. The rosewood trees are predominately harvested by day laborers in Madagascar's national parks, then bound for markets in China and transformed into "antiques" and instruments for export.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

3rd GCF meeting kicks off


Governor Yusuf Irwandi of Aceh welcomed delegates from around the world to Banda Aceh.

Today's meeting thus far has been an opportunity for GCF member states to update the group on their activities. The meetings are being chaired by Amazonas State (Brazil), represented by Natalie Unterstell and Bernhard Smid.

Later this afternoon, there will be updates on Brazilian (Ernesto Roessing, GCF country coordinator), Indonesia (TBD) and US (William Boyd, GCF Secretariat) federal legislation and programs and international REDD policy (John-O Niles, TFG). These updates will be followed by the first Working Group I (Standards and Criteria).

Tomorrow will be an update from Barbara Bamberger on the California rule-making process of ARB 32. This will be followed by Working Groups II (Coordination Mechanisms and Accounting Frameworks) and WG III (Needs Assessment and Finance). The meeting is scheduled to conclude with a declaration of the GCF to be used at various for a (including for example, the Paris-Oslo process), the date and location of the next GCF meeting, addition of new GCF members discussion and stakeholder involvement and an outreach strategy. The next day is scheduled for a joint meeting between GCF members and all interested stakeholders.

Monday, May 17, 2010

REDD Governors Gather in Aceh


The Governors Climate Forest Taskforce is an informal collaboration among some of the most advanced state and provinces in the world working together to make REDD happen. The governments represented on the GCF include Aceh, Papua, East Kalimantan and West Kalimantan (Indonesia), Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Matto Grosso and Para (Brazil), California, Illinois, Wisconsin (USA), Campeche (Mexico) and Cross River State (Nigeria).

The GCF occupies a key role between project-based REDD and what is hoped in most quarters to be national accounting. In many developing countries, states and provinces provide many of the basic services for people and have a significant role in managing lands and forests.

The GCF meeting in Aceh Indonesia comes at an interesting time in many respects:
1) The UNFCCC in Copenhagen unanimously endorsed a decision requesting developing countries to build national, and where appropriate sub-national, forest monitoring systems.

2) The UNFCCC LCA chair has just announced a new comprehensive text, what may be the UNFCCC's last chance to be relevant in the long term.

3) US federal legislation has been introduced that would support some sub-national REDD programs.

4) The role of the VCS (and the voluntary market at large) have many REDD projects and proponents scratching their heads about what to do. Almost everyone thinks the VCS is the right way to go, even though not a single VCS REDD project has qualified for any part of the VCS REDD requirements.

GCF members and stakeholders have started to gather under the mountains of the Ulu Masen forests (pictured above), with prayer calls about and a gaggle of good people working at the nexus between federal and project REDD carbon accounting. Tomorrow formal talks begin on three working groups: one on project based accounting, another on nesting and state systems, and a third of needs and funding of/for GCF members. Stay tuned here for updates.

Monday, May 10, 2010

IIED Live Interview with Connie Hedergaard on May 11th

European Commissioner for Climate Action and host of the COP15 Connie Hedergaard will be delivering the International Institute for Environment and Development's 2010 Barbara Ward Lecture. Ms. Hedergaard will be highlighting current issues on climate change, and her views on what will likely be necessary for a future global agreement. There will also be opportunity for real-time Q & A. Listen to the the live webstream here on Tuesday, May 11th, 12:00 GMT.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Government submissions headed into Bonn 2010 (SB 32s)

The cards are on the table and the positions are far apart. In the document hyperlinked in the title, the fireworks are between the US submission (starts on page 79) and the joint submission from Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua (86). Expect more rancor in Bonn in a few weeks. This is a critical time for the UNFCCC, the first opportunity to have a unified new text to pick up the pieces from Copenhagen. From the tone of the country positions, well, let's see...miracles do happen, but they're called miracles for a reason.

Monday, May 3, 2010

CIFOR Releases Report on how REDD Will Affect Local Communties and Indigenous Populations

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has published a report assessing REDD's impact on local communities and indigenous populations. The report addresses forest governance and rural livelihoods issues from past experiences with REDD pilot projects from around the world. Read the full report here...

Outgoing UN Climate Chief Shoots Down Expectations of Treaty in Cancun

Yvo De Boer, in a press conference in Germany, said that while it is highly unlikely any form of climate change treaty will be had at the COP 16, hopes have refocused on creating a solid "operational architecture" that will pave the way for a treaty in the coming years. Read the full NY Times article here...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

First project in Brazil earns CCB validation

The Nature Conservancy has teamed up with Conservation International, several local Brazilian NGO's, and private landowners to support Brazil's first CCB validated project, known as the Monte Pascoal-Pau Brazil Ecological Corridor reforestation project. Currently only 28 acres have been validated by Rainforest Alliance, the third-party auditor, but the project hopes to include up to 2,400 acres of highly fragmented Atlantic Forest habitat and ultimately create a 37-mile wide migratory corridor between two of Brazil's national parks. Read more...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

US trying to make good on REDD Pledge

Reuters reports on the MEF talks (hyperlinked in blog title):

Excerpt:
At Monday's meeting, the United States issued a document to participants that said its climate-related appropriations for 2010 total $1.3 billion and that the Obama administration has requested $1.9 billion for fiscal year 2011.

The funds include support for the U.S. administration's pledge to provide $1 billion for the U.N. program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reuters: Indonesia to revise forest CO2 revenue rules

This article (hyperlinked in blog title bar) provides an update on key government debate and work in Indonesia on REDD rules.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Special Briefing on UN Secretary General High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change $

Tropical Forest Group notes on a Special Briefing about:

The UN Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing – An Introduction to UNFCCC Parties
Bonn, Germany
11 April 2010.
The UN Secretary-General established a High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing to study the potential sources of revenue for financing mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries, and to make progress on the key issue of finance in the course of 2010. The group, under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister (Ethiopia) and H.E. Mr. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister (United Kingdom), had its first meeting in London on 31 March. A special briefing was held April 11 in Bonn Germany to provide an update on the work of the group. Speakers:
• Mr. Mohammad Reza Salamat, Senior Programme Officer
• Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team
• Mr. Ato Newai, Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ethiopia
• Mr. Pete Betts, Director for International Climate Change, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), United Kingdom
Moderated by Mr. Mohammad Reza Salamat. (salamat@un.org or +1-914-450-8848)
You can view the webcast here: http://unfccc2.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/100409_AWG/templ/play.php?id_kongresssession=2618&theme=unfccc

Mr. Mohammad Reza Salamat speaking:
UN Secretary General established AGF. AGF is accountable to UN Secretary General.
Submit final report to secretary general and current and next president of COP.
This group is NOT the high-level panel called for by COP15.
Given need of finance needs quickly, particularly for most vulnerable nations.
Start work for potential new and existing revenues to reach $100 billion per year by 2020.
Various criteria for assessing: (could not hear that well)
Funds by donors to support mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, capacity, etc.
Will focus on funds needed by most vulnerable.
Chaired by Gordon Brown and Prime Minister Zenawi.
Other heads of state, ministers of finance, experts on public finance, etc.
Intended output will contribute to UNFCCC.
Will hold briefings in coming months, will consult widely with constituencies
First meeting was 31 March in London.
Members set out priorities for future work.
Key issues:
Sources of new and additional public finance
Carbon markets
Multi-lateral agencies
3-4 more meetings. Then draft final report.
Groups for each thematic area.
May/June SBSTA meetings, there will be initial reports,
Secretary General will make sure UNFCCC parties receive reports before COP16.
Working methods: drafts, consultations, secretariat in NYC, reporting to UNG and UNFCCC
Accountable to Secretary General
Office in his NY climate change team.
Website: www.un.org/climatechange/agf

UK’s Pete Betts. Reminds audience that since an election has been called in the UK, he is only authorized to present factual information.
Focused on potential sources and principles to use.
They would meet 2nd July and 3rd in September
Two working groups
1. Climate finance
2. Public finance

Ethiopia’s Mr. Ato Newai
Representatives from many countries
Tasks as explained before
Factors include:
Efficiency
Equity
Practicality – whether a certain fund intended to be raised is feasible
Acceptability – whether it is politically acceptable
Reliability – whether secure source of funds can be relied on.
Three categories:
1. Public finance,
2. Private finance (including carbon market),
3. International financial institutions that can “liberate” funds through other sources
Can’t go into detail, the work has just begun.
There is an appreciation that the bulk of funds will probably come from public finance with different sources. And additional funds would come from private finance and liberation of funds that might be collected or mobilized elsewhere.

Questions and Answers:
Are funds from developed countries?
Clarity of role of multi-laterals?
Clarity on consultations?
If it isn’t the high-level, what is relationship?
Are you looking at fast-track?
Timeframe for report?
Just 2020 or ramp up?
Carbon markets – will that dilute public finance?
Will the panel get into governance and oversight issues?

Answers:
This is not the CA high-level panel.
Political commitments were made on financing even though the CA was not adopted.
Outcome of this group, a report, will be given to COP and it will be COP’s decision.
Timeline: 1st initial outcomes prepared by June UNFCCC sessions.
Then they will listen to Parties and non-Parties and incorporate views
Finalize a report in October/November
Presented to Secretary General and current and next COP presidents.
With enough time to reflect on the report by Cancun. Then it is in the hands of COP.
Won’t be looking at institutional/governance issues so much, that is too political.
But to the extent that these issues come up, they will be examined.
We will be looking at funds from developed countries primarily, but we may touch on funds from developing countries, but that is not in the group’s remit.
RE: Fast track. We won’t be looking at this so much, but again a little as it comes up.
RE: 2020. We will just primarily look at the funding in 2020, not so much in the time before, but a bit. Clearly, we do not envision $30B from 2010 to 2012, then nothing, and then $100B/year in 2020.
RE: Carbon markets. We will be looking at carbon markets and all types of financing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

European Commission: Climate Policy Post-Copenhagen


The European Commission released a report on how to move forward after Copenhagen. It is a fairly uninteresting report, with no major surprises. The things we found interesting are:
1) ...the Bonn meeting should bring the developed country targets and developing country actions submitted under the Accord into the formal UN negotiating process.
2) The EU's objective for Cancun should therefore be a comprehensive and balanced set of decisions to anchor the Copenhagen Accord in the UN negotiating process, and to address the gaps. There should also be a formal decision on the listing of developed country targets and the registration of developing country actions, including the methods to account for these. All the decisions should come under an "umbrella" decision to provide the overall political framework.
3) Very little mention of REDD in the 12 page document, despite REDD+ having its own mechanism in the Accord as well as a meaningful SBSTA decision.
4) The Commission will assess the merits and drawbacks of alternative legal forms, including of a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.
5) Among the most difficult negotiations in Copenhagen were those on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). Transparency is key to ensure mutual trust and demonstrate the effectiveness and adequacy of targets and actions. The Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol provide basic standards of MRV, through national communications and inventories. The Copenhagen Accord requires the strengthening of this system. This must be one of the priorities in the work to anchor the compromises in the Copenhagen Accord in the UN process.

The full title of the report is:
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
International climate policy post-Copenhagen: Acting now to reinvigorate global action on climate change
{SEC(2010) 261}

Thursday, March 25, 2010

UN-REDD Programme releases it's 2009 Year in Review

The UN-REDD Programme, established in 2009 through a partnership with the FAO, UNDP, UNEP, and the Government of Norway, has released it's first annual review.  In the document, the Programme highlights it's progress in key pilot countries, MRV achievements, and general support to the UNFCCC process on REDD+.  Click on the link above for the full report in English, French, or Spanish.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saving forests, cultures and carbon dioxide

Nature magazine covers some recent work by Ricketts et all on the overlap between carbon and indigenous lands and other protected areas.

The original work was published in PLOS Biology, and you can find it here:
http://dx.plos.org/ambra-doi-resolver/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000331

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

UNDP releases report on tools to mainstream climate change adaptation activities

Over the last decade, development practitioners have created various climate risk screening tools for various activity levels and applications.  This concise report by the UNDP takes stock of the varying strengths and weaknesses of the existing adaptation formulas of key development organizations, and defines climate change adaptation concepts. 

The adaptation overview comes at a pressing time, given the billions of dollars earmarked in the new COP 15 mechanism for adaptation financing, and the lack of clarity within the mechanism on acceptable adaptation activities.  Read the full report here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More bashing of sub-national REDD

Click on the blog title to see the UK Guardian article entitled "Noel Kempff project is 'saving the forest' by forcing destruction elsewhere".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Nation Slams REDD and sub-national accounting

This has to be one of the most self-righteous article ever written. It is sure to bring more fire works to the issue. Democracy Now followed up on Hari's article in The Nation with this interview... http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100322/hari_video.

The key thing Democracy Now and Mr Hari miss is that REDD+ has been approved by all nations signing up to the Copenhagen Accord. If the United Nations and the UNFCCC trying to tackle climate change and deforestation is not international democracy (Now), then I don't know what is. No one thinks the Copenhagen Accord is perfect, but it will probably have more traction than Hari's suggestion that we all put ourselves in front of coal trains.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Coal States Lawmakers Seek to Delay Emission Limits

US federal legislation or regulation fades farther away...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

BASIC Courting Indonesia

The Jakarta Post is reporting that the new bloc of countries known as BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) has extended membership to Indonesia. For REDD+ this is very interesting. Of these large developing countries, two of them have very little deforestation (China and India) and two have historically high rates of deforestation (Brazil and Indonesia). This could create an interesting dynamic if BASIC becomes an important bloc.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Senators Propose abandoning cap-and-trade

This is large news.


By Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Three key senators are engaged in a radical behind-the-scenes overhaul of climate legislation, preparing to jettison the broad "cap-and-trade" approach that has defined the legislative debate for close to a decade.

The sharp change of direction demonstrates the extent to which the cap-and-trade strategy -- allowing facilities to buy and sell pollution credits in order to meet a national limit on greenhouse gas emissions -- has become political poison. In a private meeting with several environmental leaders on Wednesday, according to participants, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), declared, "Cap-and-trade is dead."

Graham and Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) have worked for months to develop an alternative to cap-and-trade, which the House approved eight months ago. They plan to introduce legislation next month that would apply different carbon controls to individual sectors of the economy instead of setting a national target.

According to several sources familiar with the process, the lawmakers are looking at cutting the nation's greenhouse gas output by targeting, in separate ways, three major sources of emissions: electric utilities, transportation and industry.

Power plants would face an overall cap on emissions that would become more stringent over time; motor fuel may be subject to a carbon tax whose proceeds could help electrify the U.S. transportation sector; and industrial facilities would be exempted from a cap on emissions for several years before it is phased in. The legislation would also expand domestic oil and gas drilling offshore and would provide federal assistance for constructing nuclear power plants and carbon sequestration and storage projects at coal-fired utilities.

"This is a different bill," Lieberman said in an interview. "We haven't abandoned the market-based idea, but we're willing to negotiate with colleagues who have different ideas."

Many lawmakers and lobbyists say even a radically different climate bill would face big hurdles to passage, given conflicting corporate and consumer interests, regional divides and a crowded Senate calendar. Energy industry lobbyists have turned much of their attention to proposing numerous variations of more narrow energy legislation.

But President Obama has continued to push for broad legislation that he says would make the U.S. economy more efficient, slow climate change and fulfill U.S. pledges in international climate talks in December to cut the country's emissions by 17 percent by 2020. A U.S. failure to fulfill that commitment could undercut the determination of other nations to live up to their pledges.

Opponents of cap-and-trade, including GOP congressional leaders and some energy companies, have portrayed the House-passed bill as an energy tax in disguise that would hurt U.S. consumers and create a financial commodity that could be subject to manipulation. The measure also came under criticism because it gave away a large number of free allowances to coal users.

Environmental advocates, eager to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation before the November midterm elections, said the shift in strategy represents the best shot at getting something done this year.

"The Senate is understanding this is not a simple problem -- it's multiple problems, and it requires multiple solutions," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club.

The change in policy, which might even include giving money raised through carbon pollution allowances directly back to consumers, a scheme known as "cap-and-dividend," could appeal to some wavering senators. Senior Obama administration officials have also been studying the cap-and-dividend approach. But it remains unclear whether that would be enough to produce the 60 votes proponents need, especially when the Senate has yet to finish work on health-care legislation and a jobs package.

Powerful business leaders have their own priorities. Michael Morris, chief executive of American Electric Power, a heavily coal-based utility, said one much-discussed proposal for a cap-and-trade plan limited to utilities was "ridiculous" because it would place an unfair burden on coal-based utilities. He added that "cap-and-dividend would be equally inappropriate." He said it would take money from "mom in the Midwest and dividend it to Paris Hilton."

While Obama has continued to assert the need for any climate bill to raise the price of carbon-based fuels, the American Petroleum Institute has been running television ads during the Winter Olympics saying "Americans say no to raising energy taxes."

Even some moderate Republicans, seen as possible supporters of a new climate bill, remain opposed to the idea of putting a price on carbon, which Lieberman still calls "sine qua non," or an essential ingredient, of any such bill. Andy Fisher, a spokesman for Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), said the senator, who has opposed cap-and-trade and carbon taxes, could support pricing carbon "potentially at some point, but not at the moment."

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) told Kerry this week that he and his colleagues need to produce a bill as soon as possible to have any chance of passage in 2010. Jim Manley, Reid's spokesman, said it is the majority leader's "hope to bring it up to the floor for a vote," adding, "But we've got a whole host of other things on our plate, and a Republican Party that's making it difficult for us to pass all but the most routine legislation."

Kerry said that although the package the three senators will unveil will not have 60 votes when it becomes public, he is confident that it will win over skeptical lawmakers.

"What people need to understand about this bill is this really is a jobs bill, an economic transformation for America, an energy independence bill and a health/pollution-reduction bill that has enormous benefits for the country," Kerry said.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jeff Horowitz of Avoided Deforestation Partners is interviewed by Mongabay.com

Horowitz talks about the state of REDD in the U.S. and internationally post Copenhagen.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

CERES and Environmental Defense Fund pressure SEC

On January 27th, 2010, with pressure from CERES and the Environmental Defense Fund, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to provide guidance in assisting all public companies with the climate-change disclosure requirements, as petitioned since 2007.

This new measure will help to reveal the hidden climate-risks inherent in investment of publicly traded companies in the U.S.  In 2008, 75% of annual reports from S&P500 annual reports failed to even mention climate change, so hopefully we will begin to see more climate-related asterisks next to bottom-lines in the near future.  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The US announces an emissions target....contingent on the enactment of domestic legislation...

In a letter to Yvo de Boer, the United States announced an emissions target of "In the range of 17%, in conformity with anticipated U.S. energy and climate legislation, recognizing that the final target will be reported to the Secretariat in light of enacted legislation".

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cap and Trade officially dead for US

David Roberts at Grist, sadly calls it like it is. The prospects for US Cap and Trade legislation have diminished to very-close-to absolute zero, 0 kelvin, not celsius.

What this means, given that Obama just went in front of 115 Heads of State to suggest a target of 17% below 2005, is going to be answered very soon. The first soft deadline for countries to put their pledges to the Copenhagen Accord appendixes is fast approaching.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

U.S. assessing climate change financing - envoy

This article describes the current US thinking on climate change funds promised in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen Accord faces $30bn aid test

The article linked in the title by Reuters is a very succinct description of the confusion around the monies put on the table in Copenhagen by developed countries.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

US top climate change diplomat speaks about COP15

Grist has published an interesting interview between Amanda Little and Todd Stern, the top US diplomat on climate change. Read the full story in the title link to the Grist interview.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Indonesia ready for binding targets


State Environment Minister Hatta confirms Indonesia will be submitting an official report to the UN regarding the Copenhagen Accord. This is big news for the country that, by most estimates, is the largest emitter of CO2 from deforestation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fiery battle in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest


On the Arapiuns River, barges of illegally taken timber smolder after being set aflame to protest logging in Gleba Nova Olinda, Amazon Rainforest.
Photo Credit: Brenda Baletti



Brenda Baletti has a very interesting story in Grist on struggles over rainforests in Renascer and Gleba Nova Olinda in Brazil.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Seeing forests through the cloud: Google launches Forest Carbon earth engine

You can see one post in the title and another one here:

http://blog.google.org/2009/12/earth-engine-powered-by-google.html

Read this blog now.

Fantastic article by NRDC's David Doniger on the Copenhagen Accord.

Senate passage of Cap and Trade in 2010 grows slimmer


With at least six senate dems saying "no" to cap and trade, it is getting almost impossible to do the math and get enough votes for c&t legislation passing the US senate in 2010. Which means even in Mexico 2010, the US won't have its own implementing legislation in place.