in Brazil, China, India, South Africa

BASIC countries are opposed to REDD offsets

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On 28 November 2009, Brazil, South Africa, India and China formed the BASIC block and agreed to act jointly at COP15, the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen. The BASIC countries threatened to walk out of COP15 if rich countries attempted to force their agenda on the Global South.

In September 2013, the 16th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change took place in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. In addition to the four BASIC countries, representatives from Argentina, Fiji (Chair of the G-77 & China), Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela were at the BASIC meeting. The statement from the meeting is available here and includes the following paragraph on REDD:

Ministers highlighted the critical issue of provision of adequate and predictable support by developed countries for the implementation of REDD-plus activities (paragraphs 70 and 71, decision 1/ CP. 16), including enhanced coordination of financial support. They called on all parties to the UNFCCC to reach an agreement during COP-19 on results-based payments to developing countries implementing REDD-plus activities, including the conservation and enhancement of carbon stocks. Ministers underlined the imperative that REDD-plus ensures environmental integrity and, in this regard, stressed that results-based payments shall not be used to offset mitigation commitments by Annex I countries.

Yesterday, NGOs in Warsaw for COP19 wrote two letters reminding the co-chairs and delegates of the Working Programme on REDD+ Finance of the BASIC countries’ position opposing REDD as a carbon offset mechanism. The letters are posted in full below and can be downloaded here: Co-chairs letter (pdf file 254.5 KB) and Delegates letter (pdf file 258.6 KB).


Warsaw, November 18, 2013

To the Co-­chairs of the COP Work­‐programme on results based finance for REDD+,
The below signed organisations and groups would like to present our views on results based financing for REDD+.
Arrangements for results based financing must maintain environmental integrity, as well as raising adequate and predictable support. This cannot be achieved if results based financing for REDD+ is used to offset mitigation commitments elsewhere. Due to problems of additionality, accounting uncertainties and risk of reversals, treating emissions from forest loss as equivalent with emissions from fossil fuel undermines global reductions at a time when urgent and steep emission reductions are needed.
In this context, we would like to draw your attention to the 16 September 2013 statement from the 16th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, which represented Brazil, China, South Africa and India, and was attended by Argentina, Fiji (as Chair of the G­‐77 & China), Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. In paragraph 12 of this statement, “Ministers underlined the imperative that REDD+ ensures environmental integrity and, in this regard, stressed that results­‐based payments shall not be used to offset mitigation commitments by Annex I countries.”[1]
We would also like to note that the concept of ‘net mitigation benefits’ achieved through conservative accounting (such as the use of ‘incentive levels’) does not in reality move countries beyond offsetting, as noted by the UNFCCC Secretariat in its NMM Technical Paper from August 2012.
We urge the co­‐chairs to ensure that the REDD+ finance decision represents a balanced reflection of views expressed from Parties and observers, ensuring environmental integrity in results based payments by excluding the use of offsetting, or the consideration of ‘net mitigation benefits.’
Sincerely,
Centro de Planificación y Estudios Sociales, Ecuador (CEPLAES)
Climate Justice Programme
Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN)
Forests of the World
Friends of the Earth Flanders and Brussels
Friends of the Earth Norway
Friends of the Earth US
Green Development Advocates (GDA), Cameroon
Greenpeace International
HuMa
IBIS – Education for Development
NGO Coalition for Environment, Nigeria (NGOCE)
POINT, Burma
ProNatura – Friends of the Earth Switzerland
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Third World Network (TWN)


[1] www.environment.gov.za

 


Warsaw, November 18, 2013
Dear delegates,
The below signed organisations would like to draw attention to the 16 September 2013 statement from the 16th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, which represented Brazil, China, South Africa and India, and was attended by Argentina, Fiji (as Chair of the G­‐77 & China), Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. In paragraph 12 of this statement, “Ministers underlined the imperative that REDD+ ensures environmental integrity and, in this regard, stressed that results­‐based payments shall not be used to offset mitigation commitments by Annex I countries.”[1]
Any finance arrangement for REDD+ which allows developed countries to use forests to offset mitigation commitments undermines climate mitigation. Due to problems of additionality, accounting uncertainties and risk of reversals, treating emissions from forest loss as equivalent with emissions from fossil fuel undermines global reductions. In order to combat climate change parties must agree on strong measures to reduce deforestation and reduce industrial carbon emissions. Allowing REDD+ to be used as an offset would simply replace emissions from one source with another and not reduce overall emissions levels.
We note that SBSTA 39 did not reach a decision on carbon markets, due to parties’ serious concerns over lack of environmental integrity and the inability of carbon markets to raise finance.
Given the criticisms of offsetting, the EU and other countries have proposed a move to ‘beyond offsetting’. This consists of conservative accounting approaches (such as ‘incentive levels’), to deliver ‘net mitigation benefits.’ It is important to note that the use of an ‘incentive level’ simply means the number of offset credits produced are less than the amount generated. This reduces the volume of offsets, but also reduces the scale of finance which can be generated, and requires domestically funded developing country mitigation action (termed ‘own efforts’ by the EU). Any form of accounting which allows developed countries to reduce mitigation commitments due to action taken elsewhere is a form of offsetting.
In this context, we call on countries who support the BASIC Ministerial Statement to ensure that the REDD+ decision on finance does not allow results­‐based payments to be used to reduce mitigation commitments, whether through offsetting, or a ‘net mitigation’ approach to accounting. We have made a similar request to the co­‐chairs.
Sincerely,
Centro de Planificación y Estudios Sociales, Ecuador (CEPLAES)
Climate Justice Programme
Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN)
Forests of the World
Friends of the Earth Flanders and Brussels
Friends of the Earth Norway
Friends of the Earth US
Green Development Advocates (GDA), Cameroon
Greenpeace International
HuMa
IBIS – Education for Development
NGO Coalition for Environment, Nigeria (NGOCE)
POINT, Burma
ProNatura – Friends of the Earth Switzerland
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Third World Network (TWN)


[1] www.environment.gov.za

 

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