Last week, Financial Times journalist Fiona Harvey lamented that “Without a sturdy fundraising mechanism, REDD is worthless.” Her solution is to revive carbon trading, “with a mighty effort of political will.” Her timing could hardly have been worse, coinciding as it does with the closure of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to spot trading in carbon credits after yet another fraud.
FERN has released its analysis of the UN climate negotiations in Cancun, COP 16, as part of the January 2011 issue of Forest Watch. A year ago, in its report on the REDD text from the Copenhagen meeting, FERN pointed out that “The safeguards are undermined … by the strong opposition of some countries to monitor and report on these. Without such reporting there would be, in effect, no safeguards.”
Guyana’s president, Bharrat Jagdeo, hit the headlines during COP-16 for his “Show me the money,” speech at a side event organised by Avoided Deforestation Partners. “Although we have fulfilled the condition to receive payment from Norway a year ago,” Jagdeo said, “we have not seen a single cent expended as yet on the projects that are so vital to transformation.”
In October 2009, Oxford University launched trillionthtonne.org – a website that tracks how fast we are approaching total global emissions of one trillion tonnes of carbon. The website illustrates how global carbon emissions are increasing, not decreasing. When the website was launched it predicted that the trillionth tonne would be emitted in March 2045. That date is now June 2044.
In a post just before Christmas, I mentioned that Kevin Conrad “was busy in Cancun on Papua New Guinea’s behalf watering down safeguards in the REDD text.” A comment explained exactly how Conrad weakened the safeguards. What is perhaps even more interesting is the way Conrad dealt with a request from a Papua New Guinea NGO not to weaken the safeguards.
In Cancun, after two weeks of tense UN climate meetings, negotiators came up with a firm agreement. They decided unequivocally to meet again next year in Durban. There are, of course, over 100 pages of mind-numbingly dull text in the Cancun Agreements, including an agreement on REDD. But many key decisions are postponed until COP-17 in Durban (or later).
At the end of the two week-long UN climate change negotiations in Cancun, the Conference of the Parties adopted the Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (pdf file, (351 kB), which includes (among other things) an outline agreement on REDD.
On 7 December 2010, thousands of people in Cancun took part in Via Campesina’s International Day of Action for Climate Justice. In a press release Via Campesina announced that the protesters were opposed, among other things, to carbon markets and REDD. Not so, according to Environmental Defense Fund’s Chris Meyer.
“No REDD – A Reader is a must read for all who seek to know the truth about this mercantilist tool. It is also highly recommended for those who believe that policies to fight the current climate chaos must see the people and Mother Earth and not merely see trees as commodities for cash and carbon speculation,” – Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International and Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria.
Here we go again. The UN climate negotiations started yesterday in Cancun, Mexico. It’s COP 16, for those who are counting. There are lots of side events relating to REDD and forests in Cancun. Here’s a calendar. Thanks to Simone Lovera of Global Forest Coalition for compiling this list.
In the film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a weatherman who finds himself living the same day over and over again. The UN climate negotiators have developed a variation on this theme. Once a year they meet and fail to agree on a binding deal that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The variation on Groundhog Day is that they meet in a different city each time.
Vía Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. It is a coalition of around 150 organisations, with an estimated 300 million members. Vía Campesina recently put out a statement about COP-16 in Cancún.