12 December 2008

UN Climate Deal Could Pay for Forest Destruction

REDD-Monitor, 8 December 2008

An action on Friday parodied measurements of carbon baselines and predictions of future deforestation by rounding up delegates, gazing into a crystal ball and telling them how deforestation rates would increase in the future and how much money they might make from REDD by reducing the rate of destruction.

The action, by Global Forest Coalition, the Wilderness Society and Global Justice Ecology Project also highlighted the danger that “the inclusion of REDD into the carbon market will mainly benefit the countries and actors that have caused most of the world’s deforestation,” in addition to allowing continued pollution in the North.

UN Climate Deal Could Pay for Forest Destruction
Carbon Karma Fortune-telling Action Foretells REDD Profits

Joint release: Global Forest Coalition, The Wilderness Society and Global Justice Ecology Project

Poznan, Poland–Global Forest Coalition, The Wilderness Society, Global Justice Ecology Project and concerned youth highlighted the risks associated with the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in a “REDD fortune-telling” action today at the UN Climate conference here. In its current form, they argue, REDD could derail the Climate Convention and undermine a post-2012 Climate agreement.

In a parody of what calculations of carbon base lines have become, fortune-tellers introduced a new ‘methodology’ to predict future deforestation rates. They rounded up delegates from different countries to read their “Carbon Karma” by gazing into a crystal ball to see how much the rate of deforestation in the delegate’s country would rise in the future, and hence how much money they could expect to make from REDD for reducing that predicted rate of future deforestation (i.e. increasing the rate of deforestation more slowly).

The action also exposed another major problem with REDD-that the inclusion of REDD into the carbon market will mainly benefit the countries and actors that have caused most of the world’s deforestation. These countries would receive the greatest benefits from REDD, where countries that have successfully conserved their forests would be left out. Many of the false solutions proposed, like the “stock-flow approach” or the proposal to work with “flexible and adaptive country-specific baselines” will further create massive amounts of false carbon credits, thereby allowing the continued emissions of carbon from industrialized countries.

Other risks to REDD include the promotion of tree plantations and the violation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Marcial Arias, of the Kuna Indigenous Peoples and Global Forest Coalition said: “The Indigenous Peoples will lose in the REDD regime as proposed and most of the funding will go to those who are destroying the forests”.

A statement issued earlier from the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) read: “We call for the suspension of all REDD initiatives in Indigenous territories until such a time that Indigenous Peoples’ rights are fully recognized and promoted”. [1]

Gemma Tillack, a youth representative from Tasmania, Australia and a spokesperson for The Wilderness Society concluded: “If the current definition of ‘forests’ is used in REDD, it could lead to the massive direct and indirect replacement of carbon rich forests by monoculture tree plantations, and the violation of Indigenous Peoples rights. Some developed countries have been using a loophole in the definition to convert biodiverse, carbon dense forests to biologically barren monoculture tree plantations without incurring any emission penalty, despite the disastrous impact this practice has on biodiversity, local communities and CO2 emissions”.

[1] This statement on REDD was adopted by the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change (IIPFCC) during its Preparatory meeting scheduled November 27, 28, 29, 2008 in Poznan, Poland. The members of the IIPFCC, is also known as he Indigenous Caucus of the COP14 of the UNFCCC.

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