Saturday, 21 November 2009

Expert warns of potential conflicts from REDD scheme

Personal note: I'm no expert and I have been saying much the same for at least a year. Despite all you read about the problems with REDD, and there are a lot, some conservation groups have already got their greasy palms on REDD money and others are in the queue....maybe even the organisation you support. As you might imagine, governments like the one in Indonesia, cannot wait to get their hands on this REDD 'gold'.


Expert warns of potential conflicts from REDD scheme

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 11/21/2009

An expert has warned that the REDD emissions reduction scheme designed to protect forests could be prone to conflicts between rich and rainforest nations, including Indonesia, which could in turn threaten bilateral relations because of complicated mechanisms involved in the monitoring of the scheme.

Nautilus Institute Australia director Richard Tanter said implementing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme without strong assurance of legal and commercial integrity would likely to generate deep conflicts.

"This could be a new version of a conflict between the West and the rest," he said.

The reduction of emissions of rich countries will be highly dependent on REDD projects in Brazil, the Congo, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

"What will happen is rich nations will be very angry if rainforest countries fail to stick to the pledged contracts," he said.

"On the other hand, selling countries such as Indonesia would retaliate by saying "it is not fair for rich nations to impose ecological debts on developing countries", Tanter said.

"This will make the REDD scheme prone to conflicts," he said.

Tanter, a professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), said politicians in richer nations would use the failure to implement REDD as a tool to pressure forested countries in the international arena.

Tanter made a presentation titled Climate change, security and the military at the Office of the State Minister for the Environment, on Friday.

State Minister for the Environment Gusti Muhamad Hatta and his senior officials attended the meeting.

"I think we are on the right track with discussions on the REDD scheme, including its monitoring mechanisms," Gusti told reporters after the meeting.

Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries constitute around 20 percent of the total global emissions annually.

However, such emissions are not included under the existing agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions - the Kyoto Protocol.

Negotiators from 190 countries will meet in Copenhagen in December to discuss a new binding treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire in 2012.

The REDD scheme will be one of the most crucial areas to be resolved in Copenhagen, aiming to provide forested countries such as Indonesia with a mechanism to gain financial incentives for protecting forests.

In terms of the REDD scheme, the most crucial issues are the monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) of emissions once a project takes place, Tanter said.

Many observers anticipate that the Copenhagen climate talks will not produce a legally binding treaty because of strong resistance from developed nations to reduce emissions.

Forest specialists in Indonesia have repeatedly warned the government of new conflicts between local peoples caused by the administration's unclear forest regulations.

The government has said the REDD scheme could be effective in Indonesia if the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, such as illegal logging and forest conversion, can be addressed properly.

Many regional administrations, however, are also still unaware of the scheme, with most still focussed on making money from destructive projects.

Following the introduction of regional autonomy, many regional administrations have issued forestry licenses to gain revenue. Previously, only the central government had the authority to issue such licenses.