At the peak of the claim and counter-claim thrown around over Amazongate Simon Lewis a forest researcher at the University of Leeds emerged briefly at its centre. Lewis’ defense of the actions of the IPCC helped the organization avoid confronting its use of advocacy and environmental pressure group material from the WWF. A little-examined fact at the time was that Lewis’ parent department was involved along with contributions from the University of East Anglia (UEA), the Royal Society, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and other non-governmental organizations in a UN REDD+ pilot project in Tanzania. Called ‘Valuing the Arc’, it was designed to work out putting a ‘price on carbon’ to provide “input to the policy process, … including PES mechanisms”. ‘PES’, is payment for ecosystem services, i.e., REDD. The most prominent NGO at the the centre of the project? WWF-Tanzania.
In any game of make-believe, there is one basic rule. You just play along and dont ask logical questions. For instance, when Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council stated that ‘80% of the world’s energy can be supplied by renewable sources’, you just suspend your disbelief and nod along. That’s how it works.
Readers might recall the story of Wandojo Siswanto, ‘Advisor’ to the Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia and Indonesia’s lead negotiator at the Copenhagen UN conference, who was a ‘key architect of REDD’ in Indonesia.
When we last left off (December last year), Wandojo was arrested and stood trial for a deal his division was involved in – the buying of Motorola communication handsets from a company PT Masaro for the Indonesian ministry, where it was alleged that he had recieved a $10,000 bribe.
About ten days ago, Wandojo was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to 3 years in prison on charges of graft. Wandojo insists that he carried out the deal acting on orders from above, just as he did at the time of his arrest. It was he who turned over the $10,000 to the police, as well.
Incidentally, it is understood that Indonesia ‘lost’ $5.25 billion from to its Reforestation Fund during the period 1994-1998. It is unclear how many people have been arrested for this loss. Last September, the Jakarta Globe reported that the country’s anti-corruption organization KPK warned that the ‘billions of dollars’ that Indonesia would make yearly in ‘climate-change deals’, could be put at risk if it failed to ‘stamp out corruption in its forestry sector’.
“To hold global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels deforestation must be cut to half by 2020…” — so we are told by the the U.S.-based Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests (reported here).
If we believe some credible sources of information (and apply the half-and-half logic), a ‘4 degree rise’ in globally averaged gridded temperatures will create hell on earth, which can only mean that a ‘2 degree rise’ will create half that hell.
Marina Silva, senator from the Brazilian state of Acre, presidential candidate for 2010 coming in third but polling an impressive 19% of the votes, is a charismatic figure. An ardent environmentalist, she is popular and well respected in the movement.
She was environment minister for Brazil from 2003 to 2008 and is considered a key architect in Brazil’s changed stance in the UN climate talks and willingness to strike compromises.
In April this year, she gave what was termed a rousing speech at the National Mall, Washington DC. It is said that she used Facebook for campaigning and appealed to young voters on sustainability issues.
In the climate debate, we are told everyday that environmentalism and stewardship for the environment is a special type of thinking. This runs counter to the usual type of thinking – business-as-usual – your weekend game-watching on the big screen TV, driving around in your big SUV to local malls or drinking water in plastic cups and chucking cola cans into regular dustbins.