Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Forest credits would crash carbon markets: Greenpeace

Agence France-Presse: Including forest protection measures in carbon markets would cause carbon prices to crash, and could undo efforts to rein in global warming, according to a Greenpeace report released Monday. Prices in a future carbon market would plummet by 75 percent, making it cheaper for industries in rich nations to buy deforestation offsets than reduce their carbon output at home, a study commissioned by the green group found.

It would also starve developing countries of investments for clean and renewable technologies, said the report, released on the margins of climate talks under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change. "Cheap forest credits sound attractive, but a closer examination shows they are a dangerous option that won't save the forests or stop runaway climate change," said Roman Czebiniak, a forest expert at Greenpeace International.

Negotiators from 175 nations have gathered here to hammer out a climate treaty -- slated for completion by year's end -- to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012. Finding a way to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries -- an effort known as REDD -- has emerged as a key element in the negotiations.

…"There is broad consensus now that the post-2012 agreement will include some sort of incentives for tropical countries to reduce their deforestation," said Steve Schwartzman, a forests expert at Environmental Defense, an advocacy group based in Washington D.C.
But sharp differences remain on whether these aims are best achieved primarily through market mechanisms, including a future global carbon market, or various forms of public funding and grants.

"Forests are the wild card in these negotiations -- it could be used to bring us closer to our goals, or to water them down," said Czebiniak….

Timber from a Malaysian forest at a sawmill where it is being processed for export. Shot by Stephen Codrington, from  Planet Geography 3rd Edition (2005).  Personal photo by Stephen Codrington uploaded with permission for the benefit of geography on Wikimedia projects,  under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.  This and other photos by Stephen Codrington are available to download and order at his personal website.

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