Indonesia and Jokowi: greening hopes? (shared)

This posting is shared from Khor Reports Palm Oil Blog, http://khorreports-palmoil.blogspot.sg/2014/09/indonesia-and-jokowi-greening-hopes.html

Indonesia recent moves tightening up on environmental regulations - hefty fines. I'll look for my piece on indigenous land rights and impact on concessions and post up soon.
On Brazil: How Brazil clamped down on deforestation, Friday, July 11, 2014, http://khorreports-palmoil.blogspot.sg/2014/07/how-brazil-clamped-down-on-deforestation.html

Online links:

Jokowi Wins: This Could Turn Out to be the Biggest Climate News of 2014 By Andreas Dahl-Jørgensen and Michael Wolosin, Forests & Lands, Political Strategy; http://www.climateadvisers.com/jokowiwins/:
What does Jokowi’s win mean for the world’s climate? The short answer: Possibly a huge deal. Here’s why. ... where is Indonesia heading on deforestation and carbon emissions? There are two diametrically opposed answers to this question... The “glass-half-empty” camp looks at deforestation rates and sees failure. Recent studies have confirmed that the loss of natural forests has dramatically increased in the last couple of years. Deforestation is now higher in Indonesia than in Brazil, in part due to Brazil’s 80% reduction over the last decade – the largest emission reductions anywhere anytime ....The “glass-half-full” view – which we share – looks not only at the disturbing deforestation data, but also takes into account the dramatic systemic changes and leadership that is taking place. Frances Seymour, previously the head of the Center for International Forestry Research and now a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, has referred to the deal with Norway as the most significant game changer for Indonesia’s forests in the last 25 years....

...Here’s what we see below the surface:
1.Disruptive transparency that “exposes the mess.”... One Map
2.Fundamental land-use reforms. Moratorium. Land swaps?
3.Ending impunity. The President’s special reform unit and the anti-corruption unit (KPK) have embarked on a review of existing concessions and a comprehensive law enforcement campaign. It is following the money, with fines up to $ 9 million and executives being jailed.
4.Indigenous rights.... Landmark court ruling in 2013 Indigenous claims are being included in the government’s One Map initiative.
5.Private sector sea change.... Large and powerful companies have gone from opponents to critical allies of the reformers.

These remarkable developments are reminiscent of the strategies that helped Brazil’s deforestation rate plummet in a way no one thought possible.

The Jokowi Forest Agenda. There are three big reasons forest advocates and observers should be excited about a Jokowi presidency... First, while environmental issues didn’t feature strongly during the campaign, the things he did say were good, even if lacking specifics. (See Loren Bell’s excellent summary here; http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0724-lbell-commentary-jokowi.html) He stated that Indonesia has “pursued economic growth too aggressively and not paid attention to the environment.”...Second, Jokowi agreed to implement the reforms requested by the indigenous peoples’ organization AMAN, including implementing the Constitutional Court decision granting land rights to indigenous peoples. In return Jokowi received AMAN’s endorsement and active campaign support, the first presidential candidate ever to do so.... The third and perhaps most important reason for optimism relates not to his stance on the environment but his vision for good governance and social justice.... His coalition does not hold a majority in parliament, and he may need to learn to play the political game of favors to get things done. Even with the right reforms, deforestation is unlikely to decline immediately given the sheer inertia. But it’s hard to see how one could have asked for a president more aligned with the anti-deforestation agenda than Jokowi....

Interview #1: Presidential politics and Indonesian palm oil

We've been chatting with Malaysia and Singapore palm oil industry specialists and noticed significant interest in the upcoming Indonesia Presidential vote. Early in the week, we had the opportunity to talk to a Khor Reports reader who was interested to talk about it, and so we present to you this interview. 

Political changes can bring major shifts in resource development policies as well as a different approach to NGOs such as seen in Australia. On the buy side, in major consuming countries, we should note the rise of right wing nationalistic parties who gained more power especially in the European Parliament.

Interviewee #1: Indonesian voter, palm oil industry senor manager, who was part of the student demonstrations in the 1998 ousting of Suharto. A Jokowi supporter.
What do you think of the recent poll numbers?
What's an important issue in Indonesia elections?
What is Prabowo's plaftform?
What does Jokowi stand for?
How did the 9 June debate go?
What are the implications for Indonesia palm oil?
So there's concern in Indonesia about foreign influence amidst nationalistic feeling?

Energy enviro-trade politics and WTO concerns on private standards

Just sharing some nice coverage of Canada - Keystone energy-enviro (geo)politics. Investigative articles by Bloomberg looks at the problem that Canada (considered an ethical oil exporter) has had in now trying to export product from its new Alberta oil frontier to the US and China:
I find this quite interesting in two areas of resource-based industry and Malaysia research interest: a) that it parallels changing enviro-trade requirements on palm oil (although this is happening via private standards and not at G2G level**) and b) with Petronas' exposure in Canada and the changing global oil trade.
On trade issues, I just read the useful newsletter update that crossed my desk from trade lawyers, Fratini Vergano; writing on 2 May: "WTO SPS Committee Members fail again to advance their work relating to private standards - At a meeting of the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (hereinafter, SPS Committee) on 25-26 March 2014, WTO Members continued discussions relating to private standards for food safety and animal and plant health, but failed to resolve any issues. WTO Members have raised concerns regarding private standards for almost 9 years, yet little progress has been made.....In 2013, China and New Zealand submitted proposed definitions of the term ‘private standards’, which differed greatly, but they continued working on a joint proposal for a working definition of the term. Following an SPS Committee meeting on 16-17 October 2013, it was announced that China and New Zealand had produced a compromised draft definition and were in the process of working with other WTO Members to draft a definition that could be accepted by the entire SPS Committee...At the most recent SPS Committee meeting on 25-26 March 2014, some Members were not able to accept the draft... The issues relating to regulation of private standards have dragged on for almost 9 years. Reportedly, at the most recent SPS Committee meeting, China maintained that it would be “disaster” if a definition is not agreed upon soon. Additionally, it was reported that China’s concerns were shared by El Salvador, India, Ecuador and Belize, which is said to be concerned for its papaya and citrus exporters. As the focus of market access has shifted from tariff measures to non-tariff measures, private standard requirements imposed by retailers are one of many (de facto, if not de jure) non-tariff barriers that can create additional unjustified costs for exporters when those costs are not justified for SPS reasons...."

Nature has no bank account

On ecosystem services and the moral gap

Patching up the economy by adding on ecosystem services does not make the economy sustainable but it makes it more efficient: you can more efficiently destroy nature. This is a “patch it up” approach. We should not look at ecological systems through the lens of economics. We need some institutions and moral social pressure to consume less rather than more. It may take this generation to consume less; especially the rich people of this generation. All the prices set by the ecosystem services approach is income to somebody. But nature has no bank account.

Source: Norgaard, Richard B. 2013. Ecological Economics and Energy Economics in Historical Context, Spring 2013, Lecture 17: Ecosystem Services - Neoliberal economic thinking invades conservation, biology and ecology. University of California, Berkeley: Unversity of California.

Richard Norgaard, professor of energy and resources; http://blogs.berkeley.edu/author/rnorgaard/
Separate, but related is this... Occupy was right: capitalism has failed the world
One of the slogans of the 2011 Occupy protests was 'capitalism isn't working'. Now, in an epic, groundbreaking new book, French economist Thomas Piketty explains why they're right; http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/13/occupy-right-capitalism-failed-world-french-economist-thomas-piketty

Interesting that neo-liberal hegemony says we should now seriously tackle the energy sector!

IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable; http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/13/averting-climate-change-catastrophe-is-affordable-says-ipcc-report-un; Landmark UN analysis concludes global roll-out of clean energy would shave only a tiny fraction off economic growth... The new IPCC report warns that carbon emissions have soared in the last decade and are now growing at almost double the previous rate. But its comprehensive ­analysis found rapid action can still limit global warming to 2C, the internationally agreed safe limit, if low-carbon energy triples or quadruples by 2050... “It is actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living,” said Professor Jim Skea, an energy expert at Imperial College London and co-chair of the IPCC report team. “It is not a hair shirt change of lifestyle at all that is being envisaged and there is space for poorer countries to develop too,” Skea told the Guardian.... Nonetheless, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change at the lowest cost, the report envisages an energy revolution ending centuries of dominance by fossil fuels – which will require significant political and commercial change. On Thursday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for an anti-apartheid style campaign against ­fossil fuel companies, which he blames for the “injustice” of climate change... Biofuels, used in cars or power stations, could play a “critical role” in cutting emissions, the IPCC found, but it said the negative effects of some biofuels on food prices and wildlife remained unresolved... Kaisa Kosonen, at Greenpeace International, said: “Renewable energy is unstoppable. It’s becoming bigger, better and cheaper every day. Dirty energy industries are sure to put up a fight but it’s only a question of time before public pressure and economics dictate that they either change or go out of business...