September 30, 2009

WWF Survey Seeks Forest Scheme On Any Carbon Emissions Deal

Delegates at UN climate talks in Bangkok on Tuesday were urged to include plans to reward nations for saving their forests in any deal on global warming, AFP reported.

The survey, released by WWF International, a leading environmental group, said that investors showed "significant support " for a carbon market mechanism, which would address the estimated 20 percent of global carbon emissions due to deforestation.

Thailand is hosting the meeting of officials from 192 countries who have gathered to try to agree on a text for a climate change treaty ahead of a crucial meeting in Copenhagen in December.

WWF International director general James Leape said any global deal on climate change must take into account the significant role forests play in combating global warming.

While it is not yet part of the pact that could be signed at Copenhagen, the UN-backed reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) scheme could become an integral part of a successor to the soon-to-expire Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases.

The REDD scheme would work out how much carbon can be saved by not cutting down trees, and selling that carbon on the global market for big polluters to offset their own emissions.

The world needs forests to absorb the carbon in the atmosphere that is causing climate change, and also to curb carbon emitted by rotting dead trees and burning, most environmentalists agree.

Investors with around seven trillion dollars of assets under management were surveyed by the WWF, which found that most investors reported wanting initial public financing for any scheme that could come about. They also sought certainty from both international agreements and national legislation before they commit to any plan.

Twenty-five senior money managers, analysts and specialist sustainability investors in Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific region were consulted by the WWF.

Leape said that if strong policies are put in place to ensure real reductions in emissions and real benefits to forest communities, investors could play a key role in supporting REDD.

"Agreement in Copenhagen -- coupled with progress on national initiatives -- will be a signal to investors that REDD can and will succeed, and will ensure forests are more valuable standing than cut," he added.

The UN climate chief, Yvo de Boer, warned on Monday that time to reach a deal was running out before the Copenhagen meeting.

Developed and developing nations still have major disagreements over how much they will cut carbon emissions by and who will meet the enormous cost associated with these scale backs.


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