Archive for the ‘carbon trading’ Category

Carbon Trading – How it Works and Why It Fails, Tamra Gilbertson and Oscar Reyes, Critical Currents no. 7, November 2009

Carbon Trade Watch has released a new publication by Tamra Gilbertson and Oscar Reyes that outlines the limitations of an approach to tackling climate change which redefines the problem to fit the assumptions of neoliberal economics. It demonstrates that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the world’s largest carbon market, has consistently failed to ‘cap’ emissions, while the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) routinely favours environmentally ineffective and socially unjust projects. This is illustrated with case studies of CDM projects in Brazil, Indonesia, India and Thailand where the publication argues that off-sets projects, even those that promote renewable energy, will not be a solution to climate change.

Chapter 4 examines REDD and Indigenous Peoples. Solutions proposed in Chapter 5 include measures to secure land tenure for Indigenous Peoples’ and forest-dependent communities.

“…Simplistic schemes to grow money on trees represent a significant setback for the complex work of protecting forests through defending the territorial and other rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest communities – who have currently and historically done the most to protect forest ecosystems.” – Extract from Carbon Trading – How it Works and Why it Fails

Download Carbon Trading – How it Works and Why It Fails[pdf]…


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Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services: A review and lessons for REDD, Ivan Bond, Maryanne Grieg-Gran, Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff, Peter Hazlewood, Sven Wunder, Arild Angelsen. IIED (2009), 62 pages, isbn: 9781843697428

iied incentivesAn assessment of the utility of payments for ecosystem services as a tool for REDD was commissioned by the Norwegian Minister for the Environment and International Development to inform Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (N-CFI). The N-CFI specifically recognises that REDD efforts should contribute to securing indigenous peoples’ rights, improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, and to conserving forest biodiversity. This report represents a summary of ten papers which made up the assessment.

The report looks into how compensation for ecosystem services could contribute to REDD, and reviews 13 Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) projects in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. PES are designed to provide financial incentives to the land owner to preserve the forest and are thought to be an effective instrument for implementing REDD. Under PES, payments for environmental services are conditional and are only made if the service, such as conserving forest areas, is delivered.Important preconditions for success include supporting improved forest governance, land tenure and rights for forest dependent communities, as well as scaling up current small-scale experience with PES.

One of the recurring concerns with payments for ecosystem services, particularly in the context of the much larger-scale payment schemes that would be required for REDD, is that indigenous and forest-dependent communities will not benefit or, worse, will suffer harm. Prospective areas of concern that payments for REDD might impact include:

  • Weakening of land and resource rights of indigenous and forest dependent communities.
  • Equity in opportunities to participate as sellers of carbon.
  • Equity in payment levels and terms – vulnerable communities may be subjected to exploitative contracts.
  • Local economy impacts, which through effects on food prices and employment can affect both participants and non-participants in PES.

However, this review of PES schemes finds little evidence of long-term adverse effects on equity for the four issues above. If anything, PES schemes have proved to generally yield positive impacts on poor people in the areas where they were implemented.

“The hypothesis that PES tools could lead to inequity and exacerbate poverty is not borne out by the literature review or the four regional case studies. The evidence is that some programmes have made small and modest impacts on livelihoods. Recent work on payments for watershed services also concludes that these mechanisms have not yet directly impacted on poverty reduction to any great extent, although their indirect impacts have significant potential for poverty reduction.” – Extract from Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services.

Some of the specific findings include:

  • PES schemes have not led to weakening of land tenure and in some cases have strengthened it.
  • In Southeast Asia, where PES mechanisms are just emerging, the approach of strengthening land rights (Sumberjaya) or enforcing traditional rights (Ulu Masen) do have potential livelihood impacts where local people’s rights too often have been ignored.
  • PES mechanisms have a longer history and are being more widely applied in Latin America than elsewhere. Initial assessments showed that the first generation Costa Rica national PES scheme was failing to reach poorer farmers and land users who held no formal land titles and could not afford the associated transaction costs. Subsequent iterations of the programme have developed mechanisms to specifically ensure that they are targeted to poor people and that the barriers to entry are either lowered or removed.
  • Small-scale farmers with informal land tenure have been able to participate in some PES schemes, notably the national payment for watershed services scheme in Mexico. One of the measures used in Mexico (and more recently in Costa Rica) to facilitate participation of small-scale farmers and communitiesis ‘collective contracting’, where several small-scale farmers conduct the contracting process together and in this way reduce individual transaction costs.
  • In spite of seemingly low levels of payment, PES is popular with farmers. There is an eagerness to enter PES schemes (both Costa Rica’s and Mexico’s schemes are over-subscribed) and sometimes a willingness to negotiate permanent payments after a pilot, as in Pimampiro. This enthusiasm is an indication that PES schemes are perceived as advantageous by those involved.
  • There is little evidence of local economy impacts on prices and employment.

Download the Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services: A review and lessons for REDD report [pdf]…

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wcf logoThe World Agroforestry Centre and the United Nations Environment Programme co-hosted the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry in Nairobi, Kenya from 23-28 August 2009.

The overall theme of the Congress was Agroforestry, the future of global land use. The sub-themes were Food Security and Livelihoods; Conservation and Rehabilitation of Natural Resources; and Policies and Institutions. Researchers, educators, practitioners and policy makers from around the world shared new research ideas and experiences, explored partnership opportunities and strengthened communities of practice.

Some of the presentations relevant to indigenous peoples and REDD are referenced below. Presentation slides or notes have been linked where available.

Session 26: Local Knowledge in agroforestry science (Led by L Joshi)

Session 27: The role of underutilized crops for agroforestry (Led by P Van Damme & Z Tchoundjeu)

  • Indigenous Lac Production Strategies of the Monga-stricken People in Rural Bangladesh: A Study on Agroforestry – Zulfiquar Ali Islam, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.

Session 28: Agroforestry-based livelihood strategies for smallholders in the Amazon (Led by R. Porro, J. Ugarte & O. Llanque)

  • Contribution of Forest Products and Agroforestry for Livelihoods of Indigenous and Colonist Communities in the Peruvian Amazon – Abel Meza, World Agroforestry Centre, Peru.
  • The role of agroforestry-based practices in shaping policies and programs for licit smallholder livelihoods in the Colombian Amazon – Bertha Leonor Ramírez Pava, Universidad de la Amazonia, Colombia.
  • Description of homegardens in Araçá Indigenous Land, in the Lavrado (savannas) of Roraima, Brazil – Robert P. Miller, FUNAI, Brazil.

Session 31B: Rewards for the environmental services of agroforestry: Payment for watershed/biodiversity services and cross-cutting issues (Led by Thomas Yatich & Oluyede Ajayi)

  • Payments for Watershed Services: Implications and Considerations for Upland Indigenous Groups in Sibuyan Island, Philippines – Presenter: Edgardo Tongson, World Wide Fund for Nature – Philippines.

Visit the website for the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry…

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No 373: Assessment of existing global financial initiatives and monitoring aspects of carbon sinks in forest ecosystems – The issue of REDD
Working Papers in Economics, No: 373. Lisa Westholm, Sabine Henders, Madelene Ostwald and Eskil Mattsson, 19 August 2009

Focali REDDThe objective of this report is to explore the topic of carbon sinks in forest ecosystems, focusing on the issue of REDD. It covers different angles: i) an overview of existing financial and methodological initiatives that currently invest in preparation and capacity building of potential REDD host countries, but also in REDD pilot projects, ii) the preparedness of potential host countries (Bolivia, Cameroon, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka) to establish baselines and implement a REDD system that contributes to sustainable development, and iii) the funding structure and channels of a major investor country (Norway).

The focus of the analysis lies on two REDD-related issues; baseline establishment and sustainable development. In assessing readiness for sustainable development, “existing data and monitoring of indigenous peoples and forest dwellers’ dependence on forests” is a key indicator. The report includes 4 case studies assessing “readiness for REDD”: Cameroon, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka: the most positive example provided is Bolivia, where there is a law in place for recognising indigenous peoples’ land rights and right to collective ownership.

Download the Assessment of existing global financial initiatives and monitoring aspects of carbon sinks in forest ecosystems – The issue of REDD discussion paper [pdf]…

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Counting the cost, forest credits and their effect on carbon markets by Kate Dooley, Forests and the European Union Resource Network (FERN), Avoiding Deforestation and Degradation Briefing Note 6, June 2009

fern cost countingThis 6 page briefing note looks at recent research into the impact of trading forest carbon credits on carbon markets, and the subsequent effect on forests and the climate. It reviews research that is increasingly showing that attributing a price to forest carbon will not be enough to save the forests or protect the climate and may lead to massive land grabs which negatively affect forest peoples. The note concludes that direct policy reform will have the most substantial effect on reducing carbon emissions and that including REDD in carbon markets will either lower the price of carbon, or not raise the funds required to make a significant impact on deforestation rates.

“A lower carbon price will reduce the incentive to invest in low carbon technology, leading to higher emissions and making a peak by 2015 and drastic decline in emissions thereafter out of reach.” – Extract from Counting the cost, forest credits and their effect on carbon markets

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Jeff Hayward: Quantifying Carbon, Communities, and More
Ecosystem Marketplace | 27 October 2008

Jeff HaywardThe debate over Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) hinges on how to verify the amount of carbon captured in trees and how to determine whether the actions being paid for actually cause a net capture of carbon. It’s sticky territory that the climate initiative manager for nonprofit conservation organization Rainforest Alliance – Jeff Hayward first traversed while validating the then-nebulous concept of “sustainable” forestry, and he believes today’s projects will only succeed if they think beyond carbon.

“Carbon alone is not going to protect these forests… To be sustained over time, carbon projects must take an integrated approach, bringing in additional sources of income for the communities whose participation is essential to the survival of these projects.” — Jeff Hayward, Rainforest Alliance

Hayward says that, over time, he’s developed the ability to know going in which projects have the highest chance of success. “The first clue is a well-run organization with a really concrete set of goals and objectives, and the institutional capacity to make it happen,” he says. Then Hayward and Rainforest Alliance look at the project’s environmental and social impacts. Are the right tree species being planted? How does the project aid biodiversity? And, how’s the community relationship — are materials in a local language? Are they explained in a way that a non-scientist can understand?

Hayward says that all of the recent REDD projects he’s evaluated had not just conservation components but other types of economic benefits to local people as well. “What’s pretty cool about all of this is that in the last few years, so much has come together that was missing,” Hayward says, citing the emergence of markets and convincing carbon-based science, along with a surge of public support with the help of the movie An Inconvenient Truth. “Now we just need to keep pushing hard and pedaling as hard as we can to make sure that these systems improve and keep going forward.”

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Life as Commerce: the impact of market-based conservation on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women
Global Forest Coalition, CENSAT Agua Viva, COECOCEIBA,
EQUATIONS, Alter Vida, the Timberwatch Coalition, October 2008.

Life as commerce report“Life as Commerce” features case studies from India, Costa Rica, South Africa, Paraguay and Colombia about the impact of market-based conservation mechanisms like ecotourism, forest certification, biodiversity offsets and carbon trade on Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women. These impacts are particularly important in light of the proposal by some countries to include forest conservation into the global carbon market.

“The report provides a number of fascinating real-life stories on how these mechanisms work out at the community-level. It forms an important addition to the increasing number of studies that focus on the potential benefits of these mechanisms for local communities and the rules and standards that are needed to generate these benefits. As the case studies describe, such rules and standards seldom exist, and even where they exist, they are not well-implemented as market mechanisms make it attractive for powerful actors to circumvent them. The costs of these mechanisms, also in terms of undermining community governance, seem to outweigh the benefits in real-life situations.” — Simone Lovera, Managing Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition

Market-based mechanisms are often seen as solutions to the lack of funding for public conservation, but they are false solutions. The current economic crisis has also shown the unreliability of global markets as a potential funding source for conservation.

Download the Life As Commerce report [pdf]…

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