Cancun makes progress in tackling climate change and saving forests
Society International (HSI) today welcomed the progress made at the Cancun climate change talks in tackling climate change
and saving forests.
It is good
to see some consolidation of Copenhagen pledges,
which HSI hopes will set the scene for more progress on emission cuts in South Africa at
the end of next year.
been general agreement that there should be a second commitment period of
agreed developed country emission reduction targets (Kyoto Mark 2). There has also been agreement
to establish a new Green Climate Fund (for which Climate Change Minister, Greg
Combet should be congratulated for his leading role). These are both positive
Australians and the global community should all be very concerned that the
existing country emission reduction pledges will not prevent global temperature
rise remaining below 2 degree centigrade.
face an average global temperature rise of up to 2.5 degrees Celsius, and even
possibly higher, unless very urgent action is taken to increase country
commitments within the next year,” said Michael Kennedy, HSI Director.
welcomes the solid progress on measures to reduce deforestation and forest
degradation in developing countries (i.e. REDD+). A number of new elements of
the REDD+ framework have been agreed, but still more needs to be done.
concerned that a decision to use market mechanisms to implement REDD+ has been
deferred and it is difficult to see how anything like the necessary funding to
save the world’s forests will be achieved without the use of the market,” said
Rod Holesgrove, HSI’s Biodiversity Policy Adviser. "Historically
government funding for forest protection has been quite insufficient,” he said
“and there are few indications that this situation will change.”
there is no market mechanism, the REDD+ agreement may not provide much
encouragement for Australian business,under an Australian carbon price scheme
to invest in protecting tropical forests in our Region.
HSI is pleased to see that some of the agreed basic goals and objectives of
REDD+ have some real positives, including recognition that REDD+ is about
slowing and reversing forest cover and carbon loss, and that REDD+ actions
should be consistent with the conservation of natural forest and biological
pleased to see that it has been agreed that REDD+ should not be used for the
conversion of natural forests," said Alistair Graham, HSI’s International
Policy Adviser. "However it has also been agreed that REDD+
will allow so called ‘sustainable forest management’, which means that logging
of native forests will be permitted under REDD+. The Australian public will no
doubt question why an international agreement to save forests will allow
logging”, said Alistair Graham.
therefore of the view that the Government should legislate to ensure that REDD+
credits derived from the logging of forests are not allowed to be used in Australia. HSI is
pleased to see that the REDD+ agreement has a strong statement on the need to
address the drivers of deforestation.
therefore very important that the Government introduce legislation as soon as
possible to ban import of illegally logged timber.” said Rod Holesgrove. “This
was promised in the first term of the Rudd /Gillard Government but did not
eventuate.” he said.
HSI is also
pleased to see that Cancun had some positive outcomes in relation to what
developed countries can and cannot do with regard to Kyoto mechanisms relating to land based
A very good
outcome in this regard was the decision that developed countries could reduce
emissions under the Kyoto Protocol by rewetting peat lands. “This is a tremendous achievement,” said
Alistair Graham, “as the draining of peat lands provides about 6 per cent of
pleased to see that Cancun did not approve a loophole that would allow
developed countries under Kyoto to increase their annual forestry emissions by
up to half a million tonnes of CO2 without penalty. These emissions would fully wipe out all the
reductions made under the Kyoto Protocol.
will come back at future climate change meetings and Australia as a leading proponent of
the ‘logging loophole’ must stop pushing this matter," said Alistair Graham.
Overall, Cancun was a good step forward and HSI looks forward to
continuing its work in 2011 in trying to achieve the required emission
reduction agreements as well as agreements to protect as much as possible of
the world’s remaining natural forests, wetlands and other ecosystems, which are
critical to human survival.
HSI also wishes to acknowledge the significant
contribution made to the Cancun outcome by the
Ecosystems Climate Alliance (ECA*). The
ECA, of which HSI is part, is an alliance of NGOs committed to keeping natural
terrestrial ecosystems intact and their carbon out of the atmosphere. Decisions on rewetting peat lands, overall
REDD+ goals, drivers of deforestation and ensuring REDD+ will not contribute to
the conversion of forests are amongst the decisions in regard to which ECA made
a significant contribution