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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Civil Society supports growing rejection of carbon trading to finance REDD

Civil Society supports growing rejection of carbon trading to finance REDD
December 8, 2010, Cancun – Governments locked in negotiations are keen to finalise a deal on REDD (Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Degradation) this week.  However, several key outstanding questions remain before a new UN mechanism to address deforestation can be finalized, including the lack of safeguards needed to guarantee rights for indigenous peoples and protection of natural forests, and how money for REDD will be mobilised.
Environmental organizations, social movements and indigenous peoples organisations stand firmly with Bolivia and other governments on the need to secure genuine protection for the world’s forests by guaranteeing the rights of forest dependant peoples and insisting that any agreement on ‘REDD’ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) does not allow developed countries to continue burning fossil fuels in exchange for forest protection. 
“It’s clear we are not ready here in Cancun for a decision on financing for REDD.  We are already seeing the negative environmental and social impacts around the world from carbon trading, and a serious discussion on the implications of extending this to forests is urgently needed. We call on the EU as a whole to extend the leadership they are displaying in their fight for stronger safeguards and to fight for an open discussion of the financing options, without highlighting carbon markets as UK and Dutch governments would like to,” said Kate Dooley, Forest Campaigner at FERN. 
 “Any decision in Cancun that opened the door to the use of offset trading to fund forests would be a disaster for the climate, the forests and the people who depend on them. Far from blocking progress, Bolivia is advocating for real solutions that will protect the forests and ensure that developed countries honor the commitments to solve the problem they created.  If emissions are not immediately and dramatically reduced in the wealthy countries, forests are at risk from an ever-warming climate,” said Kate Horner, Policy Analyst at Friends of the Earth. 
“The draft text has been gutted of any language that would oblige tropical countries to respect environmental concerns or local peoples’ rights. The stage seems set for the scheme that was intended to protect tropical forests to now become a feeding frenzy for corrupt and mismanaged countries to subsidise their oil palm, plantation and logging industries. It’s an extremely dark day for the global environment,” said Simon Counsell, Executive Director of Rainforest Foundation UK.
The text under discussion now contains three options on finance. Australia and Canada are pushing for a decision which includes the use of markets and flexible mechanisms. Bolivia, backed by Brazil, has asked for a decision that REDD will not constitute the establishment of market mechanisms or the use of offsets. This position has wide support from environmental groups, social movements and indigenous peoples organisations, but strong opposition from Australia, Canada and others whose main interest in REDD is for offsets in order to avoid any emissions reductions at home
Many governments support a compromise option to further discuss the implications of different financing sources on the effectiveness and impacts of REDD during the year leading up to the next round of climate talks in South Africa. Critically, the EU is unwilling to support an option which does not include reference to markets under pressure from the UK and Dutch governments to establish a global forest carbon market.

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