Category Archives: News

Korea to Plant Trees in Indonesia for Carbon Emission Credits

Source : Chosun – March 05, 2012

Korea plans to receive 100 million tons of carbon emission credits over the next decade in return for planting trees on a 200,000-hectare plot of land in Indonesia. That amount of credits would normally cost W2.2 trillion (US$1=W1,116), or $20 per ton, but Korea will save more than W1 trillion through the tree-planting deal.

Park Jong-ho, an official at the Korea Forest Service, said, “Our government signed an MOU with the Indonesian government on Jan. 26 aimed at preventing deforestation.”

This relates to a United Nations-led initiative called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Developing Countries. Under the MOU, Korea will first plant tress in a 14,000-hectare area of rainforest in Indonesia’s Sumatra region at a cost of $10 million.

“This is a pilot project, but we plan to expand the area of coverage to 200,000 hectares by 2020 and earn 100 million tons of carbon emission credits,” Park added.

Korea is not bound by any agreements or laws to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but plans to voluntarily reduce carbon emission levels by 30 percent by 2020.

Link : http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/03/02/2012030201022.html

FRA Claims Protecting Indigenous Rights is Vital to REDD+ Scheme

Source : Your Story – February 22, 2012

FRA claims that the REDD+ project is more than just about preventing deforestation and has backed a statement from a high profile member, who talks about the importance of helping those living in and around the forests.

Bainbridge Island, WA, February 21, 2012 – Forestry Research Associates (FRA) claims that the REDD+ project is more than just about preventing deforestation and has backed a statement from a high profile member, who talks about the importance of helping those living in and around the forests.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, one of the leaders of the REDD+ task force in Indonesia, has spoken out to highlight the fact that the campaign should be just as much about safeguarding the rights of indigenous people as preventing deforestation.

He stated, “It’s not as simple as the destruction of forests by logging companies. That certainly happens, but the real issue in REDD is poverty, and we must link the two together.”

FRA, which is a research and analysis consultancy, and Mangkusubroto, agree that poverty has become rife in some regions that have experienced a high level of deforestation due to the failure to recognise indigenous peoples’ land rights.

FRA also points out that these kinds of land rights issues can occur as a result of REDD+ measures. Mangkusubroto points out an example that occurred in Sumatra, where an indigenous population were told to move away from their homes as the forest land they lived in was designated a conservation area. Mangkusubroto was keen to point out that he intends to avoid these kinds of measures being introduced. He stated, “We will not implement a ‘father knows best’ approach, but instead we’ll do this cooperatively.”

FRA supports sustainable forestry investment schemes that help to safeguard valuable forests in developing countries. An example is the non-native forestry plantations grown by Greenwood Management in Brazil. The growth of non-native trees for use as charcoal by the domestic steel industry, can help reduce the reliance on native trees. Peter Collins, AAA’s analysis partner explained, “This kind of scheme helps local people realise the value of their standing forests.”

Contact:
Peter Collins
Forestry Research Associates
620 Vineyard Lane
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 316 8394
info@forestry-research.com
http://www.forestry-research.com

Link : http://your-story.org/fra-claims-protecting-indigenous-rights-is-vital-to-redd-scheme-310627/

Indonesia Counters Climate Change, Carbon Emissions

Source : Kuna – February 20, 2012

ndonesia entered a new phase in countering climate change and limiting carbon emissions after the authorities approved a new approach to improve the conditions of forests and lands, known as the “project of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)”.

The head of the project said, in press remarks Monday, that this project does not only aim to finance investors, but is also preparing the government to discover opportunities for improving the management of forests out of commitment to protecting the environment and commercial growth.

Indonesia has the world’s third largest forestland, which emits 60 percent of the country’s overall greenhouse gasses.

This project has a sustainable strategy, supported by a team of officials from various ministries, institutions, and international organizations interested in environment preservation.

This project made a number of achievements last year including extinguishing forest fires, and improving management of forests.
The local authorities are exerting all possible efforts to counter climate change with the unique and strategic geographical location of the country in southeast Asia in mind.

The Indonesian authorities also established communities to support the nations of the region in decreasing the carbon emissions through the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The project of decreasing the carbon emissions comes in harmony with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang’s pledge at the G-20 summit in 2009 to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent.

REDD is a set of steps designed to use market/financial incentives in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. Its original objective is to reduce green house gases but it is claimed that it can deliver “co-benefits” such as biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. (end) aab.lb KUNA 201303 Feb 12NNNN

Link : http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2222492&language=en

REDD Task Force Calls for More Indigenous Rights

Source : Jakarta Post – February 20, 2012
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti

Indonesia has its work cut out in efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, the presidential adviser entrusted with overseeing the effort said on Friday.

One of the key challenges facing REDD, as schemes to reduce forest carbon emissions are known, is poverty among communities living in and around forests, said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, a former minister who now leads the president’s REDD task force.

“It’s not as simple as the destruction of forests by logging companies,” he said. “That certainly happens, but the real issue in REDD is poverty, and we must link the two together.”

The issue of poverty relates to a failure to recognize indigenous land rights, he said.

As an example, he cited the case of a conservation forest on Siberut island in West Sumatra that is home to a clan of indigenous people who want to continue living there.

“But the central administration wants them out because the area has been designated a conservation area,” he said. “These sorts of anomalies must be handled properly. Forests are not just woods, but people’s livelihoods.”

Kuntoro hopes to establish a precedent of all REDD schemes involving local communities from the start.

“We will not implement a ‘father knows best’ approach, but instead we’ll do this cooperatively,” he said. “There won’t be programs handed down from Jakarta.”

REDD is not just about counting carbon emissions but also about sustainable forest management, he said.

“We are also talking about biodiversity,” Kuntoro said.

When the task force’s mandate expires in December, he said, its work could continue through an independent body or a task force attached to the Forestry Ministry.

“Whatever form it takes, the organization must report directly to the president, must enjoy ministerial level status, and be beholden to no other institution,” he said.

Link : http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/nvironment/redd-task-force-calls-for-more-indigenous-rights/499128

Government to Support the Earth`s Friend School

Source : Antara – February 08, 2012
By Jafar M Sidik

The Earth`s Friend School (EFS) or “Sekolah Sobat Bumi” Program initiated by Indonesian Oil Mining Company (Pertamina) Foundation has received government support through the Task Force on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (Task Force of REDD+).

The support is outlined in the agreement memorandum between the Task Force of REDD+ with Pertamina Foundation.

The agreement was signed by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the Head of the Presidential Working Unit on Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), and Pertamina Foundation Executive Director Nina Nurlina Pramonodi in Jakarta, on Wednesday, Feb 8.

“Pertamina has been long-concerned with educational and environmental issues, for that reason we chose to establish this program,” Pramonodi said.

Furthermore, she stated Pertamina will invite 56 champion schools that received the President�s award in practicing environmentally friendly school habits to participate. Those schools are varied from elementary school to senior high.

“Out of those 56 champion schools, there are 17 schools which pass the qualifications to join the Earth Friend School Program,” she said.

This program, Pramonodi added, was designed to promote public awareness, especially in the education field, to develop and implement eco-character and an everyday life that is environmentally friendly.

Responding to this, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto welcomed the program since its scope is in line with the UKP4`s goal.

“Government has targeted reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The REDD+ is a result of the Letter of Intent which was signed by the Indonesian and Norway governments in May 2010 in Oslo, Norway,” he said.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said the best way to achieve this goal is by targeting mothers and children.

Therefore, the education field is considered to provide the best starting point.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Rizali, the Program Director of the Pertamina Education Foundation, confirmed that support for the REDD+ Task Force is proof of the government`s commitment to environmental issues.

“The program focuses on four EFS environmental projects, including renewable energy, saving trees, green waste processing and green transportation,” said Ahmad.

This cooperation, continued Ahmad, will run for three years and it is expected they would expand to 170 green schools spread across Indonesia from the target 17 EFS Champion.

These schools will be used as a model and each will have a chance to receive an award from the Ministry of Environment Adiwiyata, as achieved by the 17 EFS Champions. I027/INE/A014

Link : http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/79743/government-to-support-the-earths-friend-school

US Report Casts Doubt On Palm Fuel Benefits

Source : Jakarta Globe – February 08, 2012
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti

Indonesia has come under greater scrutiny over its policy to encourage palm oil development, following a report by US authorities that fuels derived from the commodity were not as environmentally friendly as initially believed.

Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency put out a notice that palm oil-derived biofuels such as biodiesel and renewable diesel fell short of its threshold for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 20 percent compared to regular diesel.

Biodiesel was found to cut GHG emissions by just 17 percent of the life cycle of its production and combustion, while renewable biodiesel rated 11 percent.

“Our analysis of palm oil biofuels … considers new data for Indonesia and Malaysia, where close to 90 percent of world palm oil is currently produced,” the notice said.

It highlighted two ways in which the palm oil production process was contributing to GHG emissions.

“For example, palm oil production produces wastewater effluent that eventually decomposes, creating methane, a GHG with a high global warming potential,” it said. “Another key factor is the expected expansion of palm plantations onto land with carbon-rich peat soils which would lead to significant releases of GHGs to the atmosphere.”

Meine van Noordwijk, chief science adviser at the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), said if more than 10 percent of palm oil originated from peatland plantations, then the EPA’s standards could not be met, regardless of all other efforts.

In 2009, 22 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations were on peat soil, while in Malaysia the figure was 13 percent, according to the EPA.

Van Noordwijk also said a lifecycle assessment of any biofuel needs to look at the carbon debts created by conversion of forests to plantations, the emissions associated with production, and emissions associated with processing and transport.

“In the case of oil palm, all three contribute to the overall effect,” he said.

“If forests with more than 40 tons per hectare of carbon stock are cleared, there will be a carbon debt. If peatlands are used, there will be continuous emissions that are higher than the carbon sequestered in palm oil production, and if the processing units do not trap the methane from the mill effluent, emissions can be high.”

Van Noordwijk cited a study carried out by ICRAF with the Indonesian Palm Oil Commission (IPOC) showing that companies that avoided the conversion of high carbon stock forest and did not use peat soil could meet the EPA’s target and the more stringent requirements set by the European Union.

In 2008 the EU banned biofuels from palm oil grown from deforesting tropical forests peatlands.

Van Noordwijk also pointed out that the carbon sequestered from planting oil palms did not make up for clearing forests and peatlands for the plantations.

The palms themselves, he said, represent around 80 tons of carbon sequestered per hectare over a 25-year period, while the fruits harvested hold the equivalent of 10 tons of CO2 a year.

However, the draining of peat swamps releases 60 tons of CO2 per hectare per year.

“With more careful drainage practices it can be brought back to say 40 tons of CO2, which is still a lot compared to the 10 tons of CO2 per hectare per year that is harvested,” he said. “So, you gain 10 tons of CO2 from the plants, however, you release 60 tons of CO2 and 40 tons of CO2 if drainage is good. You’d need to pay the carbon debt.”

Abetnego Tarigan, director of Sawit Watch, an industry watchdog, said the government should pursue low-carbon development.

“How do we maximize existing areas rather than open new ones?” he said. “How do we optimize transportation efficiency, soil management and so on.”

Gamal Nasir, the Agriculture Ministry’s director general for plantations, denied that palm oil biofuels were ineffective in helping reduce GHG emissions.

“That’s not true. It can reduce emissions,” he said, adding that he minister would issue an official statement following a meeting on Monday to discuss the EPA’s report.

Link : http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/us-report-casts-doubt-on-palm-fuel-benefits/496726

Efforts needed to reach emissions target

Source : Jakarta Post – February 09, 2012
By Elly Burhaini Faizal

The Indonesian government’s target to cut emissions by 26 percent before 2020 under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme cannot be achieved unless the importance of forests is thoroughly understood.

The Forestry Ministry’s environment and climate change expert Yetti Rusli this week said that talks among countries have not led to a strong grasp on forests’ role as carbon stocks.

“Countries keep pressing us to prevent deforestation. They force us not to destroy our forests. In fact, curbing deforestation has been our policy since long time ago,” Yetti said from the sidelines of a REDD+ workshop organized by the office of UN’s REDD program in Bogor, West Java.

While REDD offered incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands, REDD+ also encouraged conservation efforts and sustainable forest management.

The Forestry Ministry said that the level of deforestation reached 3.51 million hectares per year until 2000. The 1997 economic crisis and mushrooming local regulations enacted by many regional administrations to self-manage their forests could be partly blamed for the high level of deforestation.

The El Niño weather phenomenon, which caused drought-related wildfires in some areas in the country, had aggravated the problem.

The high level of deforestation drew strong criticism at home and abroad, forcing the government to regulate deforestation.

“Within only three years, we can reduce the deforestation level to 1.08 million hectares per year, from about 4 million hectares annually,” said Yetti, who also chairs the Forest and Climate Change Working Group (FCC WG) at the Forestry Ministry.

At the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September 2009, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged an emissions reduction target of 26 percent by 2020 with international assistance.

Presidential Regulation (PP) No. 61/2011 on the national action plan on reducing greenhouse emissions (RAN-GRK) set measures to achieve the country’s 2020 emission reduction target.

Rachmat Witoelar, the head of the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI), said that the regulation could be an effective REDD+ negotiation tool.

“This regulation shows that Indonesia, as a developing country, has been proactive in conducting mandatory emissions reduction, as the international community wants to see,” he told The Jakarta Post.

“Many countries have so far expressed intentions to reduce emissions. For Indonesia, it has become a policy of the state,” he added.

At the 2007 UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali, participating countries adopted REDD+, which went further than offering incentives for preventing deforestation by encouraging other measures, such conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancing carbon stocks.

This initiative allows the forestry sector to have a bigger role in the global effort to tackle climate change.

“One thing that the international community has never wanted to know, however, is that we have a capacity to protect conserved forests, to undertake replanting and rejuvenation of cash crops, as well as conducting a sustainable forest management,” Yetti said.

Forestry Ministry data shows that potential carbon stocks in Indonesian forests reached 92 million tons, while the potential for carbon emissions reached only 0.6 million tons per year.

Yet many countries have not acknowledged the carbon stocks in Indonesia’s forests. They placed stronger emphasis on lowering climate risks through the development of green technology rather than conserving forests as carbon pools, Yetti said.

“I think they should recognize our capacity in absorbing carbon emission by using planted trees, in conserving forests and in producing renewable energy that can replace coal and oil,” she said.

Currently, renewable energy products such as wood pellets are seen as potential commodities from the forestry sector because they can produce energy that can rival medium-quality coal.

Demand in Europe for wood pellets continues to grow after the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan last year. “Germany even has stated that it won’t further develop its nuclear power plants and is considering a shift to renewable energy, including wood pellets, as source of energy in the country,” Yetti said, adding that pellets could come from sustainable crops such as albasia (Albizia falcata), kaliandra (Calliandra calothyrsus) and akasia (Acacia aneura) trees.

She said that Indonesia should take advantage in such transitional period.

Link : http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/02/09/efforts-needed-reach-emissions-target.html