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World Bank offers $300M for forest conservation, emissions reductions

World Bank offers $300M for forest conservation, emissions reductions

World Bank offers $300M for forest conservation, emissions reductions
October 15, 2007

Tropical forest countries will be eligible for payments for preventing deforestation under a program unveiled last week by the World Bank.

Called the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the fund will initially provide $300 million to finance emissions reductions through forest conservation initiatives. The World Bank said the program will “help developing countries build the technical, regulatory, and sustainable forestry capacity to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation.”

Deforestation and forest degradation currently accounts for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, according to the U.N.

Potential earnings from avoided deforestation, based on annual rate of forest loss in selected countries from 2000 to 2005 and average carbon storage values from FAO. Carbon is assumed to be priced at $5 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent. Note: these figures only include emissions from deforestation, not land degradation. By some estimates, Indonesia’s annual emissions may be higher than those of Brazil due to degradation of carbon-rich peatlands.

The World Bank said that 20 countries have already expressed interest in the fund. Avoided deforestation is expected to be part of a post-2012 global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions.

Cleaner energy fund for developing countries

The World Bank also announced a new Carbon Partnership Facility (CPF) to promote the use cleaner technologies in developing countries, especially in the energy sector.

“Developing countries will earn money and obtain clean technology in exchange for the greenhouse gas emission reductions they will sell to developed countries,” said World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick. “Both facilities [FCPF and CPF] will pilot ways to ratchet up the fight against climate change by adopting a larger-scale, longer-term approach to greenhouse gas emission reductions. They will also build on the World Bank Group’s traditional relationship with developing countries, and the new relationships it has forged over the past decade as a pioneer in carbon finance.”

The carbon offset market grew from $10.8 billion in 2005 to 30.1 billion in 2006.

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An avoided deforestation strategy for mitigating climate change could mean billions for world’s poorest countries while preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services. Avoided deforestation will be a hot point of discussion at next week’s climate meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Already a coalition of 15 rainforest nations[1] have proposed a plan whereby industrialized nations would pay them to protect their forests to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, last month Brazil — which has the world’s largest extent of tropical rainforests and the world’s highest rate of forest loss — said it will promote a similar initiative at the talks. At stake: potentially billions of dollars for developing countries and the future of the world’s climate.

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