November 19, 2008

Saving Rainforests With Better Carbon Coordination

A single entity focused on controlling the use of carbon credit trading to stop deforestation could be in the near future, as rainforest nations plan to lobby the United Nations at a conference next month in Poland.

"A new body should be built to coordinate initiatives (on cutting emissions from deforestation) that are going around now," Federica Bietta, Deputy Director of New York-based Coalition for Rainforest Nations, which represents about 40 countries, said during a deforestation conference in Milan.

Supporters of the United Nations'-backed scheme, called REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation, want to include it into a successor of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change after 2012.

"There is money floating around... but countries don't know where to put it. There are various ideas, often not coordinated and that is very confusing," Bietta said.

Bietta said the Coalition would push for the creation of such a body in December at a conference in Poznan, Poland.

The conference has been convened as part of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The conference is expected to help craft a global agreement by December 2009 on carbon-capping mechanisms to succeed Kyoto.

Bietta said the coordinating body should be linked to UNFCCC, other U.N. agencies and the World Bank, and should aid developing countries to ensure transparency of funds allocation.

"The new body is needed to fill the gap between now and 2012," she said.

Twenty proposed projects to cut carbon emissions from deforestations and degradation are found in The Little REDD Book that will be presented in Poznan.

In the past, the European Commission has appeared nervous over forest credit trade. It believed cheap offsets would flood the existing carbon market and send prices at the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) tumbling.

Peter Zapfel from Environment Directorate General at the European Commission said the potential forest credit market under the REDD scheme would cover 6 gigatons of annual carbon emissions.

The figure is three times bigger than emissions covered by the ETS.

Zapfel said the EU's council of ministers and parliament were likely to support the Commission's proposal.


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