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)