05 November 2008

Forests for Climate initiative launches in Indonesia

mongabay.com, November 5, 2008

Greenpeace has officially launched its Forests for Climate initiative (FFC), a non-market avoided deforestation scheme that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by slowing forest destruction.

The initiative, which was unveiled earlier this year, was launched at a ceremony in Jakarta co-hosted by Rachmat Witoelar, Indonesia's environmental minister. Greenpeace also called for a complete moratorium on logging in Indonesia until a new carbon financing mechanism is in place, a provision already implemented by some provincial governments and tentatively supported by some central government officials.

Greenpeace says the basis for FFC would be "Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Units" (TDERUs), newly defined units that would be used for compliance with emission obligations agreed upon in future international climate treaties. Industrialized nations would be required to meet a certain percentage of their emissions obligations using TDERUs purchased from the mechanism. In effect, these countries would pay into a fund to reduce deforestation in tropical nations. The fund would aim to raise $10-15 billion per year — the amount estimated by the UK government's Stern report on climate change to reduce tropical deforestation by half.

Greenpeace says that funds generated from a Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Mechanism (TDERM) would be used for "capacity-building efforts and for national-level reductions in deforestation emissions." The environmental organization says that national-level reductions in emissions would help prevent "leakage" or the shifting of deforestation from one part of a country to another.

Greenpeace claims that FFC is "the only mechanism that involves local and indigenous forest peoples' representatives to ensure their rights and livelihoods are respected." Indigenous rights' have been a key stumbling block in avoided deforestation discussions. Many forest peoples' groups believe they are being left out of international negotiations that will affect their use of, and rights to, the forests they have depended upon for generations.

Greenpeace opposes market-based mechanisms — including the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism being supported by the World Banks's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) — for forest conservation. Greenpeace is instead pushing for FFC to become part of the second phase of the Kyoto (post-2012) agreement on climate change. The next major round of climate talks will take place in Copenhagen in December 2009. Once an agreement is reached, carbon conservation funds will become available to developing countries.

Deforestation and land use change are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, a larger source than all the world's cars, trucks, planes, and ships combined.

Copyright mongabay 2007

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