Alarm Sounded for Forests at Poznan Climate Talks

12/5/2008

BACKGROUND:

 

As the clearing and burning of forests contributes nearly 20 percent* of all global greenhouse gas emissions, the only possible way to successfully address climate change will be to include forest protection as part of the solution.

 

As negotiators at the 14th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poznań, Poland discuss how forests can play a role in helping mitigate climate change, there is great concern that continued discussion of ONLY technical issues regarding the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) until the next UN Conference in Copenhagen will prevent substantive discussions on policy implementation. Several international conservation groups want to make sure that policy approaches can move forward now, otherwise we are losing time that we can�t afford to lose with regard to forests.

 

We are not suggesting that discussion of technical issues should finish in Poznan.  These will continue far into the future as REDD is developed. But trying to resolve every issue before discussing implementation for will lead to unnecessary and damaging delays � a policy approach will take time to develop and discussions on policy need to begin as soon as possible to prevent the loss of additional vital forests while negotiations continue.

 

The following statement is released today, Dec. 8, 2008, in Poznan by Conservation International and several other organizations, listed below:

NGO Coalition Recommends Inclusion of
REDD in AWG-LCA

Poznań, Poland � We strongly recommend that the ad hoc working group on long-term cooperative action (AWG-LCA) affirm the commitment of the Parties to pursue discussions on policy approaches and positive incentives as reflected in the conclusions of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) workshop under the AWG-LCA in Accra. We furthermore recommend that the AWG-LCA advance negotiation of a REDD mechanism to be concluded in the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties.

The report of the REDD workshop in Accra concluded that:

There was a common understanding that the current knowledge of methodological issues was sufficient to initiate discussions on policy approaches and positive incentives. Robust methodologies are important to ensure that emission reductions are real, measurable, reportable and verifiable.

Sufficient progress has been made in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to ensure that robust methodologies and tools exist to address many of the REDD methodological issues. Work of the SBSTA should continue to inform and guide the development of an appropriate mechanism for REDD under the AWG-LCA, given that the SBSTA�s role is to contribute methodological guidance and refinements in support of the Convention.

However, any methodological refinements by the SBSTA should most usefully occur in parallel with policy discussions in the AWG-LCA. Therefore, the AWG-LCA must move forward on policy approaches and positive incentives in order to agree on a REDD mechanism in Copenhagen.

We call on Parties now to build upon the methodological progress made under the SBSTA on these issues and begin serious discussions on the types of mechanisms for REDD under the AWG-LCA. Particularly, we recommend that, under the AWG-LCA, the Secretariat undertake a review of potential financial mechanisms for REDD, inter alia, auction revenues from allowances, potential revenues from REDD credits under different scenarios and fund-based mechanisms. Poznan must lay the groundwork for both methodological and policy approaches to come together in Copenhagen so that a post-2012 deal will include REDD as a key mitigation building block.

The following organizations endorse this statement:

Amazon Institute for Environmental Research (IPAM)
Conservation International (CI)
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Tropical Forest Group (TFG)
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)


*CI regularly reassesses our assumptions and conclusions to ensure they are consistent with the most current and reliable data sources available so that we are delivering accurate and up-to-date information.  Accordingly, in December 2009, we updated our estimates related to global greenhouse gas emissions to reflect the best and most current science. We now estimate that 16% of greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and logging.
See our deforestation, logging and GHG emissions factsheet (PDF - 2.7KB) for details and data sources.