Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Rhino Express

While the international headlines pick up the story of Durban as one of futility and undercut expectations, there are in fact aggrandized efforts in motion. The herds have arrived, single-minded in their hunger. Best-case scenario, these negotiations will result in decisions that would operationalize the hard work of the last several years: technology mechanisms to promote clean energy, a valid REDD+ mechanism, adaptation frameworks
to support developing countries, a Green Climate Fund. “Still, negotiations limp on.” So say the headlines, disheartened by the politics of climate change. But even if this is what they call the last ditch, even if hope for major breakthroughs have long since been abandoned, the compounded efforts have not slowed down. The Convention of the Parties has 195 countries attempting collaboration. The labor involved, not only in gathering here in South Africa, but in the daily toil of the run-up could never be called limping. There are still myriad opportunities to deliver both operational decisions and long-term signals on the future direction of the international process. If anything, there is too much work on the table, too many gears spinning in a fractured process with a thousand important goals. But in this unprecedented cause, it is not for nothing. Tomorrow is always undecided and even if everyone goes home disappointed, we still have the future to contend with. It is never easy to live up to expectations, but it is also never easy to give up. We have to believe we can steer this train away from wreckage. With collective strong will and strong opinions, the rhinos are full steam ahead.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Two Rhinos, Two weeks, COP 17

Two rhino subspecies went extinct in the past two weeks. There are two weeks of COP17 and one central task = make sure REDD+ doesn't collapse post-2012 . If you were a betting rhino, Durban would not be a good COP.

funny blurb from SBSTA's opening plenary

In the opening of SBSTA at COP17, there was a brief moment of humor as the Gambia, speaking on behalf of Least Developed Countries, had her computer die and her notes no longer visible. After a brief curse, she joked "So if there was any doubt, let me reiterate that we are speaking on behalf of the LCDs"...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We want to be your friend

The TFG team will have a booth in Durban. Please come by and say hi. And/or like us on Facebook!

En Route to Durban

“The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.” -Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi, hero of resistance, had early roots around Durban. From 1893-1914, he lived and worked in South Africa. This formative experience shaped his philosophies on racial conflict and injustice. There he attached himself to suffrage movements and the slog for equal rights.

It was in South Africa in 1906 that Gandhi first articulated his methodology of Satyagraha. It translates literally to a devotion to truth. It manifests as nonviolent protest. Gandhi was not the first to espouse Satyagraha, but was arguably the first to apply it to the political field.

Satyagraha seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves. It arms the individual with moral power. It is the universal force.

Gandhi’s time in South Africa, a country that has seen war and resolution, informed the breath of his teachings worldwide. Civil disobedience, ahimsa, total nonviolence. Harm no one. Harm not the Earth.

Inside the conference halls in Durban, nations united, we will bear witness to the work of consensus. What is one thing we all can agree upon?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WALHI accuses Irwandi of breaking REDD+ promises in Aceh

Mongabay is reporting that WALHI has accused Aceh Governor Irwandi of approving a permit to put a palm oil plantation on a peat forest....which would go against many of the Aceh REDD laws, goals, institutions, and personalities. I'm quoted in the brief article and recommend that all the facts are brought out and the governor's office has time to respond before leaping to any conclusions. WALHI is not the most neutral observer of REDD in Aceh, having fought against REDD programs in Aceh pretty much every step of the way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

REDD+ Funds slow to spend money

"Forestry needs to spend international funding more quickly, efficiently"

A recent CIFOR blog addresses the need for FCPF and UN REDD to spend their monies quicker. The blog notes that relatively little of the funds already approved and available for REDD+ are having a hard time getting resources to forest communities and governments that need the incentives. Read the blog, which is hyperlinked in the blog title.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

TFG to release beta version: US REDD $ database

After almost two years of work and up to 700+ entries, TFG is getting ready to release a new tool to help track and monitor US government REDD+ finance and impacts. Stay tuned for more details...

--> TFG's US REDD Finance Database Team

Friday, November 4, 2011

US government's SilvaCarbon initiative

We just found this first description of the SilvaCarbon program, which was announced almost a year ago here:

TFG looks forward to seeing how SilvaCarbon becomes operational.