Climate negotiations in Bonn highlight the importance of forests as a tool to fight climate change in lead up to Paris
The opportunity to conserve the intact natural forests of the world for their immense carbon stores remains on the table but political will to include them in a final climate agreement in Paris this December is needed, after preparatory negotiations concluded in Bonn, Germany on 23 October, 2015.
“Native forests are a substantial source of emissions globally and must be a vital part of a combination of measures needed to combat climate change – especially the remaining primary forests of the world,” said Humane Society International’s Climate Change Adviser, Ms Peg Putt.
Ms Putt attended the Bonn negotiations and reports that three things are at issue in relation to forests and natural ecosystems:
- Tropical forests in developing countries need the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism that is designed to assist them avoid deforestation and forest degradation to be explicitly recognised as a climate solution, but countries in the Coalition for Rainforests Nations had to insist that it be reinserted in the negotiating text of the draft Paris agreement. Australia and other developed nations should support this.
- Incentive to act in the carbon rich temperate and boreal forests of developed countries, including the native forests of Australia, is needed. This means including provisions to develop new land sector accounting rules that do not hide forest emissions like the current discredited Kyoto Protocol rules do. Australia and other developed nations must step up, but proposals on the table show them to be more interested in hanging onto a system that understates forest emissions.
- A safeguard must be incorporated to ensure that the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems so vital to both mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change is not damaged by actions taken to address climate change.
“Political will is needed to give incentive for forests to make an important global contribution to tackling climate change, as final negotiations for a new climate agreement move to Paris in December. This opportunity is still alive, but countries like Australia need to get behind measures to tackle deforestation and forest degradation through forest clearance and industrial logging, and to ensure full accountability in reporting emission trends from these sources,” Ms Putt said.
For more information please access HSI’s special bulletins “Forest Carbon Counts: Climate change, Forests and the Paris Agreement” here: www.hsi.org.au/go/to/25/climate-change