December 10, 2010
Global leaders at the Avoided Deforestation Partners Side Event in Cancun
“An agreement on forests is very much within reach here in Cancún,” said Avoided Deforestation Partners founder Jeffrey Horowitz, the event’s host. “We must not let any one nation be allowed to hold forest protection hostage to other goals.”
“The time for global action to protect forests is now,” added UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Developing countries are willing to lead. Let’s hope they receive appropriate financial support.”
World Bank President Robert Zoellick.
Ban Ki-Moon. Photos courtesy of AD Partners.
But Guyana President Bharratt Jagdeo said the rich world would need to fulfill its commitments in order for REDD to work.
“Fast-track financing is a nightmare," he told a packed audience. "It is a test of the sincerity of the developed world.”
Jagdeo said he agreed with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg—also a panelist—in the need for results-based finance, but added "What I have a problem with is when I deliver the results I can't get the money."
Jagdeo said the delay risks undermining the political capital needed to carry out his ambitious plan to shift Guyana toward a low carbon development model that spares its vast rainforest, which is larger than England. Jagdeo's plan includes solar installations, land title, and small grants for indigenous families.
Walmart Chairman Rob Walton.
Avoided Deforestation Partners founder Jeffrey Horowitz. Photos courtesy of AD Partners.
Following Jagdeo, Walmart Chairman Rob Walton said his company is already taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain. He highlighted initiatives with sustainable palm oil and deforestation-free beef in the Amazon.
World Bank President Zoellick closed out the event announcing a wildlife premium initiative that will recognize the other values embedded in forests, including biodiversity.
“If it proves successful, this market will value wildlife and co-benefits to sustainable communities, tigers, elephants, great apes and critical ecosystems around the world,” Zoellick said. “The Wildlife Premium market initiative will focus on large charismatic species.... many of these range over large areas, and many are endangered. Protecting these species will protect the other flora and fauna that live under their umbrella.”
George Soros: save Indonesia's peatlands, rainforests
(12/09/2010) Speaking at a high-level event on the sidelines of climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, financier and philanthropist George Soros made an impassioned call to protect Indonesia's peatlands, the destruction and degradation of which are the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions across the Southeast Asian nation.
Guyana: where's the money pledged for saving rainforests?
(12/09/2010) Funds ostensibly set aside to reward tropical countries for protecting their rainforests are being held up, threatening to exhaust the political capital needed to advance the proposed reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism before it even gets off the ground, warned the president of Guyana during a lively panel organized by Avoided Deforestation Partners on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico.
Corporations, conservation, and the green movement
(10/21/2010) The image of rainforests being torn down by giant bulldozers, felled by chainsaw-wielding loggers, and torched by large-scale developers has never been more poignant. Corporations have today replaced small-scale farmers as the prime drivers of deforestation, a shift that has critical implications for conservation. Until recently deforestation has been driven mostly by poverty—poor people in developing countries clearing forests or depleting other natural resources as they struggle to feed their families. Government policies in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s had a multiplier effect, subsidizing agricultural expansion through low-interest loans, infrastructure projects, and ambitious colonization schemes, especially in the Amazon and Indonesia. But over the past two decades, this has changed in many countries due to rural depopulation, a decline in state-sponsored development projects, the rise of globalized financial markets, and a worldwide commodity boom. Deforestation, overfishing, and other forms of environmental degradation are now primarily the result of corporations feeding demand from international consumers. While industrial actors exploit resources more efficiently and cause widespread environmental damage, they also are more sensitive to pressure from consumers and environmental groups. Thus in recent years, it has become easier—and more ethical—for green groups to go after corporations than after poor farmers.
Walmart takes on Amazon deforestation
(10/18/2010) The world's largest retailer last week announced new sourcing criteria for commodities closely associated with deforestation: palm oil and beef from the Amazon.