36 hours to save the world…


The world’s leaders have 36 hours left to take the brave and difficult decisions that will help the world to turn a corner and prevent climate change from becoming an even greater threat to people and the habitats and economies that sustain us all, Conservation International said today.
While many aspects of the Copenhagen negotiations have been tortuous, there are two major aspects of the negotiations that are both well advanced and stand to make a colossal difference to the world – decisions on REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and funding for adaptation to climate change in the developing world.
Peter Seligmann, CEO of Conservation International said: “We are at a historic moment, one that will determine the future of our children and of their children. Conservation International has focused on two critical aspects – REDD+ and adaptation, which offer significant opportunity for progress and, ultimately, success.
“Considerable progress has been made over the past two years, but decisions are needed now in Copenhagen to solidify the progress that has been made. These decisions should be backed up by a legally binding agreement by the end of 2010 and a timeframe for finalizing that agreement must be decided on in Copenhagen.”
While resolution is still needed on a few key REDD+ issues in the high level segment of the Copenhagen climate negotiations that is now underway – in particular relating to how to finance REDD+ and targets for emissions reductions from REDD+ – negotiations over the long-term emission reduction targets and financing should not delay agreement on REDD+ now.

But meaningful commitments to short term action are critical.  Pledges were made yesterday by the US, UK, France, Australia, Norway and Japan for a $3.5bn "quick-start" fund for REDD+ over the next three years. This is an important start, but is inadequate. Funding for REDD+ must be a minimum of $10bn – and ideally $25bn – over this three year period to respond at a level commensurate with the bold commitments of forested developing nations to end deforestation.

An outcome on adaptation is critical for protecting vulnerable people and the ecosystems they depend upon – in particular, agreement is needed on ensuring that there is reliable, adequate and sustained finance for adaptation, and ensuring that funding is available, in principle, to all developing countries, with priority given to the most vulnerable recognizing the value and role of healthy ecosystems and the services and goods they provide for adaptation.
Fred Boltz, Head of Conservation International’s delegation at the Copenhagen conference said: “The decisions taken in Copenhagen will be forever remembered as a measure of the courage of our generation. This is a decisive moment – we must ensure that it is a decisive success.”


Notes to editors:
REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation “plus” conservation, the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon) aims at providing compensation to halt the deforestation and degradation of natural forests and increase their recovery and permanent conservation. REDD+ strategies and activities have great potential to contribute to environmental, economic and social goals beyond carbon storage. This approach is consistent with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change goal of achieving climate goals while contributing to sustainable development as well as other Millennium Development Goals that countries have adopted.
Learn more at www.conservation.org/REDD
Conservation International (CI): Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of humanity. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information, visit www.conservation.org. Visit also our COP15 page at www.conservation.org/COP15