Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Copenhagen Sees Advances in Efforts to Protect Rainforests' Carbon Sequestration Services

One of the apparent victories of Copenhagen is the advance of strategies to reduce emissions from forest destruction and degradation (REDD).

This exchange between Living on Earth host Steve Curwood and an adviser for Prince Charles' Rainforest Project of Living on Earth gets into the matter -- in a story that also includes some choice quotes from Prince Charles, himself.

CURWOOD: So, REDD made a lot of advances during the Copenhagen conference of the parties on climate. Why so?

JUNIPER: I think it was one of the things that was inadvertently left out at the time of the Kyoto Summit, when it was decided that avoided deforestation wouldn't be a part of the process, and there were many different reasons for that. Not least the idea that the industrialized countries should go first in terms of cutting emissions and the tropical countries should be left out of the framework. But I think people have reflected long and hard on this particular subject over those years. And a lot of tropical countries – they actually would like to keep their rainforests and they would like to have that resource there. They're not clearing them away for reasons that are frivolous, they're doing it because of the economics of their country's development pathways, and so they're having to do it.

They'd rather not do it, and in many cases they thought it was about having a different pathway that could keep one of the principle assets that they have. Namely, these incredible ecosystems that generate rainfall, that harbor biodiversity, that are a potential source of renewable income for centuries into the future. And also, of course, you know, that the western countries are looking for ways in which global emissions could be reduced, without too much pressure on their industrial emissions, it looked like a good deal for them, too.

I just hope that they got REDD right in this agreement -- designed in a way that protects biodiversity and respects the rights of indigenous peoples.  I'll report on this question more as soon as I have some more answers...

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