Media Release on behalf of the Ecosystems Climate Alliance
December 18, 2009
Agreement on REDD Remains Uncertain; Targets and Baselines Undecided
Copenhagen – U.S. pledges announced in the last 24 hours are inadequate to ensure the long term success of the proposed UNFCCC program to reduce the approximately 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that stem from the destruction and degradation of the world's tropical forests (commonly known as REDD.), according to the forest and climate experts from the Ecosystems Climate Alliance.
“U.S. pledges are merely a drop in the bucket of the sums we will need to see to get a REDD program off the ground,” said Bill Barclay of Rainforest Action Network. “Developing countries need to know that enough money is forthcoming to support REDD in the long term before they can put targets on the table.”
After repeated calls by developing countries and observer groups for developed countries to put long term adequate financing on the table, the United States has led other countries in pledging funds to support the efforts of developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. A promise of US$ 1 billion to underwrite REDD was part of a US$ 3.5 billion package from 6 countries including Australia, Britain, France, Japan, and Norway released last night, meant to jumpstart negotiations as final text was sent to ministers. An additional pledge to contribute to the creation of a new climate change fund of US$ 100 billion was announced by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a press conference today, although specifics on the sources and allocation of the money remain unclear, as does the exact amount the U.S. will supply.
“The U.S. needs to show real leadership with pledges at the scale necessary to protect the world's forests,” said Lisa Handy of Environmental Investigation Agency. “This must be new and additional funding if we expect to get the job done.”
The lowest credible estimates on the financing of REDD show that are estimated at €15-25 billion (L13.6-22.7 billion; $22.4-37.3) from 2010-15 to support preparatory activities and proxy-based results (assuming 25% REDD implementation), and €7-14 billion (L6.4-12.7 billion; $10.4-20.9) per year by 2020 for fully measured, reported and verified emissions reductions and removals (assuming 50 percent REDD implementation). Many experts challenge these numbers as far too low to achieve the projected levels of emissions reductions.
“Changing entrenched economic systems won't be cheap or easy,” said Rick Jacobsen of Global Witness. “More countries must pledge more money to get the job done.”
In addition to the need for truly adequate and reliable long-term funding, sources indicate that two main issues must be resolved to finalize any REDD agreement. Mid- and long-term targets to reduce deforestation have yet to be defined in the text, a critical element that will determine the program's level of ambition to reduce deforestation. Additionally, text still contains references to “sub-national” strategies; whereby countries could receive REDD funds for avoiding deforestation in one region while continuing to log in another, failing to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions or to protect forests.
Finally, any REDD agreement will be meaningless for the world's tropical forests. If global temperatures rise above 2 degrees Celsius, many scientists predict that tropical forests will be profoundly affected, experiencing extreme droughts, increased forest fires, and other catastrophic weather events. Unique forest species, like the orangutan, and indigenous peoples are also likely to be displaced as forests are destroyed.
Contact: Nicola Beynon, HSI Senior Programs Manager 0404 065 517
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The Ecosystems Climate Alliance (ECA) (http://www.ecosystemsclimate.org/) is an alliance of environment and social NGOs committed to keeping natural terrestrial ecosystems intact and their carbon out of the atmosphere, in an equitable and transparent way that respects the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. ECA comprises Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Global Witness, Humane Society International, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Foundation Norway, The Rainforest Foundation U.K., Wetlands International and The Wilderness Society, Nepenthes, and the Australian Orangutan Project.
 From the Referencing Summary of the preliminary report of the Informal Working Group on Interim Finance for REDD, second draft, 23 September 2009.