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14 December 2015 - Forests protection embraced in Paris Climate Agreement      

Forests protection embraced in Paris Climate Agreement

14 December 2015


Humane Society International (HSI) has just returned from Paris where we were fighting for global forest protection. Nearly a quarter of all carbon emissions are a result of forest destruction.

The important role of forests as large standing carbon stocks has been embraced in the Paris climate agreement, which endorses the use of market mechanisms that will enable polluters to make results-based payments to secure forest conservation. Significantly, such payments between constrained polluters and those who will conserve forests can be made either within a country or between different countries, thus creating an opportunity for Australia to assist countries like Indonesia to tackle the devastating forest fires and associated forest clearance that is precipitating damage to climate, biodiversity and communities.

Peg Putt*, climate change adviser to HSI said, “There is an important opportunity for Australia to act to protect forests in our region in the new Paris Agreement which enables results-based payments for forest conservation, including through the use of a markets mechanism.”

“REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is now entrenched within the Paris Agreement and ready for action, having been incorporated as a required policy approach to protect forests, and it is vital that the world makes its best efforts on forests alongside action to move away from fossil fuels.”

Reducing the extent of Indonesian fires by working with local landholders, from concession-holding forestry corporations to local communities, to protect forests and re-wet drained peatlands is something the whole world needs to see happening.

Ms Putt concluded, “The global scale of the pollution from the carbon emissions from burning of peat forests is so great that helping Indonesia should be seen by Australia as an urgent priority.”

“We should not simply wait for the 2017 review of domestic climate change arrangements but move now to help Indonesia - and help Australia meet its new Paris Agreement commitments to increase its ambition to reduce emissions.  Helping Indonesia suppress fires is a rare cost-effective and large-scale readily available opportunity to lift ambition while more complex domestic programmes might be geared up.”

*Peg Putt and Alistair Graham have been attending the UNFCCC negotiations in the lead up to and during the Paris meeting. HSI has been engaged in international climate change talks, focussing on the protection of tropical forests, since before the UNFCCC Bali Road Map meeting in Indonesia in 2007.


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