Little progress on avoided deforestation at climate meeting in Poland
December 5, 2008
Climate talks in Poland are failing to make progress on a proposed mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, reports a forest policy group from the negotiations.
“Despite a clear mandate from the Bali Action plan to develop new policies to stem tropical deforestation, COP14 has not devised a clear plan to develop specific solutions,” said John O. Niles, director of the Tropical Forest Group. “Rainforests have been largely discussed in a UN working group on science and technical matters for three years. In this time, approximately 75 million acres of tropical forests have been cut. Negotiators are making good progress on scientific methods. But with only one year until Copenhagen, the UN must pass clear text on when and how it will develop specific financial instruments to help developing countries solve deforestation.”
Niles says that some technical progress has been made behind closed doors at the conference, including a general consensus that science can support the financial instruments needed to help cut deforestation rates, but that discussions regarding compensation of tropical countries for reducing deforestation have yet to begin in earnest.
“For instance, there is no assurance on the table that countries that stop deforestation now won’t be penalized down the road,” he said, referring to the risk that countries with effective conservation policies and low deforestation rates will not see the compensation that high deforestation countries will receive. “There is also not a clear mandate to take up the issue of REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries) in the UN body developing future mitigation policies.”
REDD is also facing opposition from a number of indigenous rights advocates who say that the mechanism could exacerbate ‘land grabs’ by central governments and carbon speculators.