26 October 2009

RELATÓRIO I DA FORÇA TAREFA SOBRE REDD E MUDANÇAS CLIMÁTICAS

Segue abaixo o relatório da força tarefa que incluiu os nove governos estaduais da Amazônia, o Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia, do Meio Ambiente, das Relações Exteriores e Casa Civil. Pela primeira vez, todos de acordo, o que é o primeiro passo para uma posição unificada brasileira em defesa de florestas preservadas em Copenhagen.



RESUMO EXECUTIVO

  1. CONSIDERAÇÕES GERAIS

    1. Esta é a versão 6.0 (20/10/2009) do Relatório I da Força Tarefa sobre REDD[1] e Mudanças Climáticas, instituída com apoio da Presidência da República, a partir de proposta do Fórum de Governadores da Amazônia. Esta versão conta com contribuições do Fórum Brasileiro de Mudanças Climáticas (Oficina de 14/10/2009) e foi aprovada no IV Fórum de Governadores da Amazônia, em Macapá (16/10/2009).
    2. Considera-se que é do interesse nacional melhorar a qualidade de vida das populações amazônicas, manter as florestas em pé, reduzir as emissões resultantes do desmatamento e degradação florestal e ampliar as oportunidades de financiamento para REDD, explorando um conjunto balanceado de opções.
    3. Recomenda-se que o Governo do Brasil apóie três mecanismos para o financiamento de REDD no processo de negociações da UNFCCC: (i) mecanismos de financiamento governamental, (ii) mecanismo de mercado sem compensações e (iii) mecanismo de mercado com compensações de emissões dos países do Anexo I.
    4. A proposição de mecanismos de mercado compensatórios para REDD seria uma inovação no posicionamento brasileiro na UNFCCC.

  1. MECANISMOS DE MERCADO COMPENSATÓRIOS PARA REDD
  1. Recomenda-se incluir REDD no crescente mercado de carbono, como forma de valorizar a floresta em pé, na forma de compromissos adicionais para os países do Anexo I. Isso poderia ser feito por meio de uma cota adicional, a ser preenchida exclusivamente por REDD.
  2. Esses mecanismos podem ser utilizados para compensar parte das obrigações de metas adicionais de redução de emissões dos países do Anexo I, dentro de limites quantitativos definidos.
  3. A possível inclusão do REDD como mecanismo de mercado compensatório deve ocorrer fora do escopo do Protocolo de Quioto, sem fungibilidade com outros créditos de carbono, por meio de instrumento específico, a ser definido.
  4. Esses mecanismos não podem ser utilizados para diminuir os esforços domésticos de redução de emissões dos países do Anexo.
  1. MECANISMOS DE FINANCIAMENTO GOVERNAMENTAL
  1. O financiamento público oriundo de países do Anexo I para apoiar NAMAs (Ações de Mitigação Nacionalmente Apropriadas) dos países não-Anexo I pode apoiar programas dos Governos Federal, Estaduais e Municipais de prevenção e controle ao desmatamento, de promoção do desenvolvimento sustentável e de investimento em ciência e tecnologia. Os recursos podem ser utilizados também para apoiar ações em universidades, ONGs, iniciativa privada e outras instituições.
  2. É positivo o posicionamento do G-77, apoiado pelo Governo do Brasil, no sentido de defender a alocação de 0,5 a 1,0% do PIB dos países do Anexo I para financiar programas e políticas públicas dos países não-Anexo I. Esta alocação deve resultar em montantes significativos, fluxos previsíveis e monitoráveis, reportáveis e verificáveis.
  1. MECANISMOS DE MERCADO NÃO COMPENSATÓRIOS PARA REDD
  1. Estes mecanismos não podem ser utilizados para compensar ou diminuir os esforços domésticos de redução de emissões dos países do Anexo I.
  2. É positivo o posicionamento do Governo do Brasil no sentido de defender a alocação de recursos arrecadados pelos países do Anexo I para REDD, por meio de leilão de AAUs (emissões permitidas) e outros instrumentos. Esta alocação deve resultar em montantes significativos e fluxos previsíveis, na forma de uma porcentagem específica para as atividades de REDD.

  1. RECOMENDAÇÕES PARA O GOVERNO DO BRASIL NAS NEGOCIAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS

  1. Liderar esforços para a inclusão do REDD na UNFCCC, utilizando todos os mecanismos de financiamento em discussão, incluindo a construção de um novo mecanismo de mercado compensatório para REDD, considerando os princípios norteadores apresentados neste Relatório.
  2. Aproveitar, conforme pertinente, as oportunidades de cooperação entre os governos estaduais da Amazônia e governos estaduais de outros países.
  3. Aproveitar, conforme pertinente, as oportunidades de cooperação bilateral entre países interessados em programas de REDD.
  4. Participação do Presidente da República na COP 15, liderando uma missão de Governadores da Amazônia, com a devida articulação internacional, fazendo posicionamento sobre florestas e clima.

  1. PERSPECTIVAS POSITIVAS PARA MECANISMOS DE FINANCIAMENTO PARA REDD

  1. Aumento do financiamento para redução de emissões provenientes do desmatamento e da degradação florestal, erradicação da pobreza, promoção do desenvolvimento sustentável e melhoria da qualidade de vida das populações amazônicas.
  2. Apoio financeiro para a consolidação de um modelo de desenvolvimento sustentável para a Amazônia que permita o alcance das metas internas de redução de desmatamento assumidas pelo Brasil.
  3. Estímulo para que os países do Anexo I assumam metas e compromissos financeiros adicionais, na direção da meta de redução de emissões de pelo menos 40% até 2020 em relação a 1990.
  4. Consolidação do Brasil como uma liderança ambiental global, especialmente, junto aos blocos dos países detentores de florestas tropicais, países em desenvolvimento e vizinhos sul-americanos da Amazônia continental.
  5. Intensificação dos esforços com os setores ambientalistas, movimentos sociais, universidades e empresas brasileiras comprometidas com a mitigação das mudanças climáticas.

  1. PRECAUÇÕES PARA AS NEGOCIAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS PARA MECANISMOS DE FINANCIAMENTO PARA REDD

  1. Os esforços para a negociação de um mecanismo compensatório para REDD não devem prejudicar as negociações sobre mecanismos de mercado não compensatórios e sobre o financiamento governamental para ações nacionalmente apropriadas de mitigação (NAMAs).
  2. A construção de instrumentos legais para REDD, no âmbito da UNFCCC, deve assegurar a manutenção da integridade ambiental do esforço global de mitigação, garantir o rigor metodológico apropriado e, entretanto, não deve reduzir o esforço doméstico de redução de emissões dos países desenvolvidos.
  3. O tratamento para o REDD deve incluir mecanismos e processos simples e ágeis, evitando a complexidade e os custos observados em projetos no âmbito do Protocolo de Quioto. Adicionalmente, deve: (i) manter a integridade ambiental estabelecida pela UNFCCC, (ii) apresentar efetividade com recursos financeiros suficientes e previsíveis.
  4. O tratamento de REDD deve garantir a melhoria da qualidade de vida dos povos das florestas, a transparência e a equidade na distribuição e uso dos recursos obtidos.
  5. Como condição para a inclusão do REDD como mecanismo compensatório, os países do Anexo I deveriam: (i) assumir compromissos, de natureza obrigatória, para apoiar ações de mitigação de emissões dos países não-Anexo I; (ii) assumir compromissos, de natureza obrigatória, na forma de metas mínimas para a redução das suas emissões domésticas nacionais, respeitando as diferenças entre os países Anexo I.

  1. OUTRAS RECOMENDAÇÕES E CONSIDERAÇÕES FINAIS

  1. Na Amazônia, programas e projetos de REDD poderão ser acompanhados por atividades de recomposição florestal para a recuperação de áreas degradadas/alteradas. Deve ser reavaliado o atual tratamento das atividades de reflorestamento referente ao caráter temporário dos créditos.

As considerações expressas neste documento não necessariamente expressam as posições oficiais dos órgãos do Governo Federal que participaram do processo de construção deste documento. Estas considerações guardam coerência com os princípios formalizados pelos Governadores da Amazônia na carta de Palmas ao Presidente da República e complementados pelos Secretários Estaduais de Meio Ambiente e especialistas da Força Tarefa.


[1] Neste documento utiliza-se o termo REDD para fazer referência abrangente a todas as três modalidades discutidas no âmbito da UNFCCC: (i) RED (Redução de Emissões provenientes de Desmatamento), (ii) REDD (Redução de Emissões provenientes de Desmatamento e Degradação florestal), e (iii) REDD+ (Redução de Emissões provenientes de Desmatamento e Degradação Florestal mais Conservação Florestal, Manejo Florestal Sustentável e Manutenção de Estoques Florestais).


Reação:

14 October 2009

Major bipartisan Commission calls for U.S. leadership to protect ‘climate forests’

For the full report, please refer to www.climateforestscommission.org


High-level group’s report recommends American-led effort to halve emissions from deforestation by 2020 as cost-effective climate solution




October 7, 2009 Washington, DC — Washington, D.C. – With momentum building in the United States for cost-effective action on climate change, the bipartisan, multi-sector Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests released its report today calling on the United States to lead a global effort to halve emissions from tropical forest destruction within a decade. The report identifies tropical deforestation as a threat to vital national interests and recommends that U.S. policymakers and the international community move rapidly to scale-up a global effort to protect tropical forests as the most cost-effective way to achieve fast, large-scale reductions in CO2 emissions.

Reminding readers that tropical deforestation is responsible for 17 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector, the report underscores the need to incorporate international action on deforestation into both U.S. and global climate solutions. The report, “Protecting the Climate Forests: Why reducing tropical deforestation is in America's vital national interest," presents a blueprint for U.S. leadership on arresting tropical deforestation in advance of the December UN climate talks in Copenhagen and further debate on climate legislation in the Senate.

The report notes that a well-designed cap-and-trade program would provide an effective mechanism for financing and implementing the Commission’s recommendations. Four of the Commission’s thirteen recommendations deal directly with how to reduce emissions from tropical forests through a cap-and-trade system. The report notes that while prospects for Senate approval of a national, economy-wide cap-and-trade bill are uncertain, U.S. leadership in stemming deforestation must not be.

Former Rhode Island Senator and Commission co-chair Lincoln Chafee said, “It is truly time for America to launch a comprehensive response to this manageable threat. Protecting the planet’s climate forests and fighting climate change can be the defining bipartisan issue of our time, but so far that bipartisanship has been largely absent. The Commission strongly urges our elected leaders to recognize the obligation we have and embrace this opportunity for collaboration. Time is running out, and our actions now will have implications for generations to come.”

Fellow Commission co-chair and Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta also stressed the urgency of action. “Climate change is a challenge unlike any we’ve ever seen, demanding strong domestic policies and vigorous global leadership from the United States. That means effective near-term solutions at both the national and international levels that fundamentally change our environment’s dangerous trajectory. The Commission strongly urges the U.S. to enact strong domestic climate policy and lead an international effort to provide sufficient resources to ensure tropical deforestation is addressed. We must accomplish this goal. Our common future depends on it.”

Reflecting the broad appeal of this approach, the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests includes Democrats and Republicans; former elected and Cabinet officials; former high-level U.S. diplomats and military leaders; scientists and climate experts; business leaders in manufacturing and energy production; and environmental and development experts and advocates.

A complete list of Commissioners and their bios, along with the complete report text, are available here.

Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel noted, “Tropical deforestation is a major element of the climate threat and requires our immediate attention, as any other global crisis would. It is clearly in our national interest – economic, foreign policy, national security and beyond – to confront this threat. As the world’s largest economy and most powerful nation, we must work closely with our allies in both the developed and developing worlds to cut emissions from tropical deforestation in half within a decade. We have helped the world face potentially catastrophic threats before. We must heed the call to do so again. Saving forests is a climate strategy that makes sense regardless of one’s political views.”

A Cost-Effective Commitment

The Commission’s report lays out thirteen recommendations for addressing tropical deforestation through U.S. policy. Chief among them is an investment of $1 billion in public funding by 2012; by 2020 the Commission recommends mobilizing $9 billion annually in private-sector forest conservation investments and increasing the annual public contribution to $5 billion. Although the sums are substantial, these investments would actually help save U.S. consumers and companies $50 billion by 2020 compared to the cost of pursuing comparable domestic climate strategies alone.

“We must find solutions to address global warming in an economically viable way,” emphasized Michael G. Morris, Chairman, President, and CEO of American Electric Power, the largest electric utility in the United States. “Preventing deforestation and degradation in tropical regions is an important part of the answer – it is one of the most effective and inexpensive tool for addressing climate change, and provides an excellent way to mitigate the costs of other climate solutions.”

Sam Allen, President and CEO of Deere & Company agreed and offered a unique perspective on the importance of tropical forests. “A robust global economy is critical to expanding the agricultural output necessary to meet the increasing needs of a growing and increasingly affluent population,” said Allen. “Rational, market-based protections that control the cost of carbon reductions offer the best approach to enabling farmers around the world to meet the food production challenge in a sustainable manner. Halting that destruction makes business sense as a cost-containment measure and as a long-term investment in healthy cropland and forest economies.”

“A low-carbon economy holds tremendous potential for American job creation – but we have to get there first,” said former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman. “A smart climate policy would address the near-term costs of transitioning to clean energy, and protecting tropical forests as part of that policy provides a solution. Not only can we reduce a major source of CO2 – we can also lay a solid foundation for a new economy built on energy efficiency, advanced renewable power, smart grids and beyond. ”

Among other recommendations, the report endorses U.S. companies investing in forest protection through strong and verifiable “offset” programs. The report recommends a detailed policy framework to ensure transparency and achieve the greatest return on investment from forest financing projects.

“Reducing deforestation and creating new forests are the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But it must be done the right way. Proper monitoring, reporting and verification are essential to the success of any program we create. We have a choice – to act now and launch an effective global system, or to watch our broader efforts on climate fail. I think the choice is clear,” added Commissioner D. James Baker of the Clinton Global Initiative and former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“With other nations, the United States has an opportunity to shape a strong international response that takes advantage of the multiple co-benefits to economic growth and social change of reducing deforestation in developing countries,” said Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center on Global Development. She continued, “The plain and simple economic reality is that doing so is among the cheapest and most effective single vehicles for reducing emissions on the table for the next decade and beyond.”

The Solution to Multiple Problems

According to the report, slowing climate change would be one of many benefits from dramatically reducing tropical deforestation. A global effort to conserve tropical forests would strengthen U.S. national security by reducing international instability, help alleviate global poverty and conserve the priceless biodiversity found in the planet’s most productive ecosystems.

Former U.S. Army Chief of Staff and chair of the Military Advisory Board Gen. Gordon Sullivan noted the importance of tropical forests to maintaining stability and security in key regions around the globe. “We know unequivocally that climate change, left unaddressed, will become a threat multiplier in dangerously unstable regions of the world – and tropical deforestation is a threat multiplier for climate change. Deforestation not only accelerates that change, but it causes soil degradation, loss of fresh water and reduced access to natural resources – all of which displace populations and intensify security issues.

Sherri Goodman, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security, added, “Our national security leaders have wisely recognized the threat posed by climate change, and the unavoidable next step is to address its causes – of which tropical deforestation is a major one. Many forest-abundant nations are central to U.S. interests, and are located in regions where fragile states, extremists and political unrest are already a serious concern. Swiftly and effectively stopping deforestation and slowing climate change must therefore be a national security priority.”

“Tropical forests serve as the lungs of the Earth: they manage the world’s carbon dioxide levels, are home to the world’s most diverse species and provide essential services – such as food, water and shelter – to millions of people across the globe,” underlined The Nature Conservancy’s President and CEO Mark Tercek. “The good news is preserving these forests requires no new technologies – just a truly collaborative effort that provides incentives to protect forests long-term. Successful on-the-ground projects prove we can achieve carbon emission reductions while working with local stakeholders to incentivize forest preservation.”

“Seeing firsthand the devastating effects of tropical deforestation is humbling. Many local communities, through conservation partnerships, are conserving tropical forests, but only U.S. policy leadership can galvanize global action with the speed, scope, and scale necessary to prevent catastrophic forest losses,” said Commissioner and former Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett.

“The destruction of tropical forests is at the crossroads of our two greatest environmental challenges: reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the biological integrity of our planet,” noted Cristián Samper, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, “international and domestic climate policy cannot ignore this necessity and still succeed.”

The report uses Brazil as a case study to stress both the problem posed by tropical deforestation and a model for moving forward. Emissions from deforestation alone in Brazil account for 2.5-5.0 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, helping to make the country the fourth largest emitter in the world. Brazil represents a major opportunity, however, for a test ground for the Commission’s recommendations. Unlike many tropical forest countries, Brazil is already well positioned to monitor and verify emissions reductions and has set an ambitious national target of reducing deforestation in the Amazon by 80 percent by 2020.

U.S. Leadership is Vital to International Action

The Commission’s report calls on the United States to galvanize bold international action by enacting strong domestic policies and guiding international agreements and incentives to anchor a new push to conserve the planet’s climate forests.

Former Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering reiterated the importance of the United States to this mission. “Tropical forests offer a chance for developed nations, led by the U.S., to work hand-in-hand with developing nations to address climate change. The U.S. is the nation best suited to answer that call – and we must, not only to prevent catastrophe, but to restore our position as the leading global diplomat.”

Highlighting how including forests could help bring the world closer to consensus on global climate policy, former Chief U.S. climate change negotiator, Frank Loy, said, “Industrialized and developing countries see the problem differently. Reducing tropical deforestation addresses exactly these barriers. It puts developing and industrialized countries more on the same side, and dramatically lowers the cost of what we must do.”

Taken together, the Commission’s recommendations describe a pragmatic mix of market mechanisms, government incentives and international collaboration that would enable the United States to work with other nations to make dramatic and quick gains against deforestation.

About the Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests

The Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests, co-chaired by John Podesta and Senator Lincoln Chafee, is a bipartisan group of leaders from business, government, advocacy, conservation, global development, science and national security that has developed recommendations on the inclusion of tropical forest conservation in broader U.S. climate change policies. Tropical deforestation accounts for 17 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and protecting tropical forests is integral to combating climate change. The Commission’s recommendations are designed to help ensure U.S. climate policies provide the most effective response to this issue and are aligned with global solutions.

Report Recommendations

  • Halve deforestation within a decade. The United States should lead a global partnership to cut tropical deforestation in half within a decade and achieve zero net emissions from the forest sector by no later than 2030.
  • Create the financial incentives for forest protection. With the right policy mechanisms, the U.S. could alter the financial incentives that lead to tropical deforestation. To unlock cost savings, the United States should invest at least $1 billion by 2012, and U.S. policy should mobilize $5 billion annually by 2020 in public funding and $9 billion annually from the private sector.
  • Lead by example. The United States should adopt strong domestic climate change laws that reduce U.S. emissions 80% by 2050 and contain interim goals consistent with climate science. These domestic, timely and significant reductions are essential to galvanizing ambitious international action on tropical deforestation.
  • Leverage permit revenue. 5% of the value of tradable emission permits in a cap-and-trade program should be allocated to new international forest conservation programs. This is vital to engage key nations that may not be able to attract private capital and engage nations where the deforestation threat is growing.
  • Allow significant offsets. To mobilize private capital, the United States should permit regulated U.S. companies to “offset” a substantial portion of domestic emissions through investments in tropical forests.
  • Maintain a large-enough strategic reserve of permits. The pool of emission permits set aside to help control the cost of a new cap-and-trade program should be large enough to manage the risk that the supply of forest carbon “offsets” may prove insufficient to stabilize prices and avoid price spikes.
  • Explore U.S. “aggregator”. The United States should explore and consider establishing a financial intermediary to aggregate forest carbon offset demand and supply as a means to reduce U.S. costs and increase the climate benefits of every dollar invested in tropical forest conservation.
  • Forge ambitious forest protection goals in international agreements. The United States should work to ensure that international agreements with tropical forest nations secure actions by those nations that support global emission reduction goals for forests.
  • Incentivize national-scale action. As a means of encouraging nations to move swiftly to national scale actions, the U.S. should focus financial incentives to reward nations that are taking ambitious action, encourage nations to pursue large-scale policies and prevent the shifting of deforestation from one place to another.
  • Ensure transparency and local participation. The United States should support tropical forest nations in their efforts to develop transparent and credible procedures for making land-use decisions, consulting local communities, and reporting on the impacts of forest conservation programs.
  • Focus international forest conservation efforts on key areas. Not all forests are equally important to the United States and climate policy should reflect that reality. New forest conservation investments should be channeled to high priority areas for national security, poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation.
  • Guarantee responsible management. The United States should establish a coordinating council and designate a lead office or agency to oversee tropical forest conservation programs.
  • Work towards full terrestrial greenhouse gas emission accounting. The United States should promote a comprehensive system of terrestrial carbon management that accounts for greenhouse gas emissions from forests, rangelands, agriculture and other major land-use categories.

Lincoln Chafee, Co-Chair

Former United States Senator, Rhode Island

John Podesta, Co-Chair

President and CEO, Center for American Progress

Sam Allen

President and Chief Executive Officer, Deere & Company

D. James Baker

Director, Global Carbon Measurement Program, The William J. Clinton Foundation

Nancy Birdsall

President, Center for Global Development

Sherri Goodman

Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security

Chuck Hagel

Former United States Senator, Nebraska

Alexis Herman

Former Secretary of Labor

Frank Loy

Former Under Secretary of State for Global Afairs

Michael G. Morris

Chariman, President and CEO, American Electric Power

Thomas Pickering

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Cristián Samper

Director, National Museum of Natural History

Lynn Scarlett

Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior

General Gordon Sullivan

Former Chief of Staff, United States Army

Mark Tercek

CEO, The Nature Conservancy

Nigel Purvis, Executive Director

President, Climate Advisers

Reação:

12 October 2009

Letter to Obama in support of rainforests



The following letter is signed by some of the U.S.´s top environmental scientists.  They recommend the action to protect rainforests across the globe as one of the most effective ways to counter global climate change.  


__________________________

Dear President Obama: 

We commend your leadership at the 2009 G-8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy as well as the July 2009 Major Economies Forum, in particular on their recognition of the scientific consensus that the global average temperature should not exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This threshold was also identified in the American Clean Energy Security Act, H.R. 2454, as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. To realize the goal of limiting warming below this critical threshold, immediate and strong action is needed to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions. The G-8 declaration calls for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% or more of 1990 levels by 2050, a target that should be matched with ambitious nearer-term emission reductions for industrialized nations. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) can be a critical piece of this near-term action. 

We write specifically to urge you to make the conservation and restoration of native forests in the tropics and sub-tropics a central pillar of U.S. climate policy. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in tropical forest countries, coupled with aggressive action in our own country to reduce emissions, can play a crucial role in limiting warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and in helping nations adapt to the impacts of some unavoidable climate change.



  • Tropical deforestation has contributed 15-20% global greenhouse gas emissions annually over the past decade. REDD is therefore an immediately available source of emission reductions that can be accessed earlier than many other kinds of emission reductions, particularly important during the crucial time-window for action to avert 2°C warming. In addition to the critical preservation of intact forests, restoration of degraded forest land with native forest vegetation is valuable.


  • Tropical forests store some 300 billion tons of carbon in their biomass. Emissions from deforestation, principally in the tropics, have placed Indonesia and Brazil as the world's third and fourth largest emitting nations, and constitute a major source of emissions in many other tropical and sub-tropical nations. Providing economic incentives for preservation of forests can play a critical role in achieving the early reductions needed to avert warming greater than 2°C.


  • Tropical forests are storehouses of natural resources that provide food, fiber, medicines, and ecosystem services to the globe. Because tropical forests house more than half of the world's species, deforestation threatens the biodiversity of the entire world. REDD, by conserving biodiversity and protecting these natural storehouses, can be vital to reducing ecosystem and consequent human impacts of climatic shifts.


  • Tropical forests drive global weather and hydrologic cycles and protect watersheds on which millions depend. Forest destruction will exacerbate climate-triggered strains on water supplies. But REDD can help modulate those impacts.


Further, compensating forest peoples for protecting forests can buttress forests' role in the survival of some of the world's most vulnerable people. REDD also offers developing countries the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in rising to the global climate change challenge, set forth in the G-8 declaration, of reducing global emissions goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050. REDD may also provide a model for restoration of other ecosystem types, in which reversing degradation could benefit biodiversity and improve carbon sequestration capacity in other regions. 

We commend you on the 2009 G-8 declaration's commitment to "support the development of positive incentives in particular for developing countries to promote emission reductions through actions to reduce deforestation and forest degradation,” and to "consider the inclusion of financial mechanisms within the future global agreement on climate change.” REDD has a significant role to play in making this commitment a reality. It requires no new technology, but rather policies that acknowledge the value of forests and by incentivizing their preservation. 

A wide range of policy tools is available to achieve this goal. The benefits are many — for the climate, for the world's biodiversity, for our shared future. We suggest the following as priority actions:



  • Begin immediately working on a bilateral basis with tropical forest countries to assist them in developing national capacity to develop forest baselines and robust measurement, monitoring and reporting programs for emissions from deforestation and degradation.


  • Develop an effective and transparent registry to record baselines and emissions reductions globally.


  • Actively engage with and enlist the expertise and enthusiasm of the scientific community, both within our federal agencies and the academic research institutions.


We urge you to make reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation and restoration of native forests, a centerpiece of U.S. climate policy. 


Signed 

David Ackerly

Associate Professor of Plant Ecology and Evolution

Department of Integrative Biology

University of California, Berkeley

Fred Adler

Professor of Biology and Mathematics

Department of Mathematics

University of Utah

Peter Ashton

Charles Bullard Research Professor of Forestry

Harvard University

Walter Carson

Associate Professor

University of Pittsburgh

William L. Chameides

Dean and Nicholas Professor of the Environment

Nicholas School of the Environment

Duke University

F. Stuart Chapin, III

Professor of Ecology

Institute of Arctic Biology

University of Alaska

Robin Chazdon

Professor of Tropical Forest Ecology

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

University of Connecticut

Deborah Clark

Research Professor

Department of Biology

University of Missouri, St. Louis

Phyllis Coley

Distinguished Professor

Department of Biology

University of Utah

Gretchen Daily

Bing Professor of Environmental Science

Department of Biological Sciences

Stanford University

M. Denise Dearing

Professor

Department of Biology

University of Utah

Ruth DeFries

Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development

Department of Ecology

Columbia University

Christopher P. Dunn

Director

Lyon Arboretum

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Paul Fine

Professor of Plant Ecology and Evolution

Department of Integrated Biology

University of California, Berkeley

Peter Frumhoff

Director of Science & Policy

Union of Concerned Scientists

Cambridge, MA

Steven Hamburg

Chief Scientist

Environmental Defense Fund

New York, NY

Henry Howe

Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Biological Sciences

University of Illinois at Chicago

Michael Kaspari

Presidential Associate Professor of Zoology

Department of Zoology

University of Oklahoma

Thomas A. Kursar

Associate Professor

Department of Biology

University of Utah

William Laurance

Senior Staff Scientist

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Panama City, Panama

Gene Likens

Distinguished Senior Scientist

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Milbrook, NY

John Longino

Professor of Neotropical Myrmecology

Evergreen State College

Thomas E. Lovejoy

Biodiversity Chair

The Heinz Center

Washington, D.C.

Margaret Lowman

Director of Environmental Initiatives,

Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies

New College of Florida

Pamela Matson

Goldman Professor of Environmental Studies,

Dean, School of Earth Sciences

Stanford University

Nalini Nadkarni

Professor of Environmental Studies

Evergreen State College

Gretchen North

Professor of Plant Biology and Ecology

Department of Biology

Occidental College

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08 October 2009

The Economist article on the Juma Reserve in Amazonas

Paying to save trees

Last gasp for the forest
Sep 24th 2009
From The Economist print edition


A new climate treaty could provide a highly effective way to reduce carbon emissions by paying people to not cut down forests

IN THE south-eastern corner of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, in the municipality of Novo Aripuanã, there is thick forest cover—for now. But as new, paved highways are driven into the trees, illegal loggers inevitably follow. At the current rate of deforestation, around one-third of the forest in Amazonas will have been lost by 2050, releasing a colossal 3.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Novo Aripuanã is the site of a novel response to this threat: the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve, an area of 600,000 hectares (1.2m acres) bordered by two highways. This is a nature reserve with an unusual twist: local people will be paid to prevent the trees from being cut down. Each family in the area has been issued with a debit card. Regular inspections will ensure that the trees are still standing: as long as they are, families will have 50 reais ($28) a month credited to their accounts.

These funds come from the rich world, where governments and companies that cannot reduce their own emissions cheaply are prepared to pay others to reduce emissions on their behalf (as “carbon offsets”). Not cutting down trees in endangered areas prevents emissions that would otherwise have occurred, which gives untouched forest huge financial value—and provides people who live in the forest with an incentive to preserve it.

Still Pictures
Still Pictures


This idea is known as “avoided deforestation” or “reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation” (REDD). At the moment REDD is not so much a plan as a collection of proposals and some working schemes, like Juma. The fate of the forests in Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines (pictured above) and elsewhere around the world could hang on the success of this approach. But there will need to be substantial international commitments to reduce global emissions to create demand for the carbon offsets that REDD schemes can provide. This means a lot hangs on a deal being struck in December in Copenhagen, where countries will meet to negotiate a new climate treaty.


Amid concern that progress towards a new treaty is slipping, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, hosted a summit in New York this week to encourage nations to agree to carbon-reducing policies. REDD was high on the agenda, and governments and the private sector were urged to start investing in such schemes. There has also been talk of wrapping up carbon offsets into “forest bonds” to interest pension funds.

Preventing deforestation is potentially one of the simplest ways to reduce global emissions. At the moment, carbon emissions from deforestation account for some 18% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, more than all the world’s trains, cars, lorries, aeroplanes and ships combined. Reducing deforestation and land-degradation will be vital if temperature increases are to be kept to within safe levels (generally assumed to mean no more than about a 2°C increase). Some argue it would be a quicker and cheaper way of reducing emissions than many alternatives, such as weaning the world’s vehicle fleet off fossil fuels, forcing people to cut back on energy use or switching to low-carbon forms of power generation, such as wind farms and nuclear power. All those things will be necessary too, but they will take a long time, will require new technologies and cause controversies of their own.

Paying people to not chop down trees looks easy by comparison. It does not depend on any elaborate or costly new technology and is likely to be able to garner the required political support. Achim Steiner, the head of the UN’s environment programme, thinks avoided deforestation should be an easy thing to sell. As well as reducing carbon emissions, keeping forests standing also protects soil from erosion, improves the quality of water, helps regulate rainfall and ensures biodiversity. “How on earth can we not afford to make this work?” he asks.

Still Pictures
Still Pictures

Learning in the forest


But if it is to work, REDD must address the failings of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which forms part of the Kyoto protocol, the 1997 treaty that aims to curb greenhouse gases. Since 2006, the CDM has allowed developing countries to sell carbon offsets, known as credits, for adopting green technology: switching an entire village to energy-saving light bulbs, for example, or planting lots of trees. The CDM has been criticised, however, for allowing countries to sell credits even for dubious things like building dams. There are also concerns about enforcement. And the Kyoto rules do not allow countries to sell offsets from avoided-deforestation schemes. Planting new trees qualified, but refraining from cutting down existing ones did not.

REDD raises further concerns of its own. One of the main criticisms of it is that some rich countries might, in effect, outsource the tricky business of reducing carbon emissions to the developing world, by buying carbon offsets and continuing with business as usual at home. Some also wonder if the promised amount of carbon reduction could be so large. Gilberto Câmara, head of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (which monitors deforestation from space), thinks that REDD’s capacity to deliver global emissions cuts is being oversold. Based on his analysis of Brazil, which accounts for 40% of the world’s deforestation, he says there is no way the world can cut 18% or so of emissions through avoided deforestation. This figure is based on outdated estimates of the rate of deforestation, which has fallen dramatically in Brazil in recent years, he says.

This highlights another problem with REDD: it is hard to say how much deforestation there would have been anyway. Benchmarking REDD schemes against existing data, which can be out of date with higher rates of attrition, would give an exaggerated impression of their effectiveness, overstating the volume of emissions that had been prevented and causing rich countries to pay too much.

Nicholas Stern, a British economist and author of a report for the British government which put avoided deforestation on the climate agenda in 2007, says the exact amount by which emissions can be reduced is not terribly important. “It actually doesn’t matter whether it is 15% or 20%—the point is that it is big,” he says. What if Dr Câmara is right and avoided deforestation can reduce emissions only by, say, 10%? “I suspect it is not that low, but 10% is still a big slice,” says Lord Stern. “The point is to get the mechanisms going and the funding at a serious level.”

A further difficulty is that countries that have already taken effective action to prevent deforestation, such as Costa Rica, will be unable to benefit from a REDD scheme; it would, paradoxically, end up rewarding the worst offenders, since they would have the greatest scope to mend their ways, and get paid to do so. Various proposals have been put forward to pay retrospective rewards to such well-behaved countries.

Provided these problems can be overcome, what would REDD cost? Again, hard and fast figures are difficult to come by. The cost of setting up and running REDD schemes is unclear, and successful efforts to reduce deforestation would probably drive up timber prices, which might then make it necessary to pay more to prevent deforestation. Estimates for the cost of halving the rate of deforestation (and therefore reducing global emissions by as much as 9%) range from $7 billion to $28 billion a year. These costs do not include the initial set-up process, during which appropriate enforcement mechanisms would need to be put in place in leafy-but-dodgy countries.

If avoided deforestation is to work on a global scale, it will need to involve Indonesia and Congo, countries where corruption and mass deforestation go hand in hand. So REDD projects will require reporting, auditing and monitoring mechanisms. The advent of low-cost satellite imagery will help, but all this will still be expensive.


Assuming world leaders cut emissions by 20-40% relative to 1990 levels, however, the scale of the investments required would be about right, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development. This British think-tank says the global carbon market will be worth $118 billion a year, so if 10% of the reduction in emissions was achieved by purchasing REDD offsets, forest-carbon credits will be worth $11.8 billion a year.

The world has rallied around the idea of REDD with remarkable speed. The UN, the World Bank and governments in several countries, including Australia, Britain and particularly Norway, have already stumped up around $800m over the past two years to get REDD projects going. Benoit Bosquet, head of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, says early funding is important to allow organisers to get started in anticipation of a new global climate agreement.

Even if the world fails to reach a deal in Copenhagen, REDD schemes like the one in Juma will not grind to a halt. Many countries, notably America, are expected to rely heavily on the purchase of forest-carbon credits as part of their efforts to reduce emissions.

One way to do this is for governments and companies in particular countries to fund REDD projects in other countries directly. The drawback of this approach is that instead of bringing into being a truly international market for carbon credits, it looks rather more like traditional bilateral aid. Such projects would also be vulnerable to political manipulation. For example, if America started bilaterally financing REDD projects it is easy to imagine that the State Department would insist on having a say over which countries should receive funds and which should not. The result could be a kind of arboreal Washington consensus, with an approved set of tree-related economic-policy prescriptions

Another disadvantage is that different schemes will end up being subject to different rules, regulations and standards, so it will be difficult to compare them. If private-sector investors are to provide capital for REDD schemes, they would much prefer an international trading scheme where credits are fungible across the entire market. Abyd Karmali, head of carbon emissions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, says such a scheme would set a harmonised standard for forest-carbon credits and might include rules for profit-sharing with indigenous communities or local landowners, monitoring and verifying credits and protecting biodiversity. Without such standards, he says, the result could be “sustainability arbitrage”, where project developers and companies flock towards less sustainable schemes that offer cheaper credits.

There are also concerns about market-based schemes. Even though markets could provide much-needed finance for REDD schemes, many people are uncomfortable that they could also yield big profits for investors and landowners. In China, a market-based scheme to encourage companies to phase out a powerful greenhouse gas, HFC-23, produced such enormous windfall profits for some companies that the government felt it necessary to impose a 65% tax, with the proceeds invested in green development projects.

It seems likely, however, that REDD will start off as a series of funded projects, with a market in forest-carbon credits emerging in a few years’ time, depending on what happens at the Copenhagen meeting. Many people expect that ultimately both approaches will co-exist.

However they end up working, REDD schemes will still face the question of how to distribute the money they produce. Governments could launch national initiatives to prevent deforestation, selling credits and directing the proceeds to the activities it believes are effective. One advantage of this country-level approach is that any “leakage” of deforestation (where a forest protected in one area shifts deforestation to another) would be easier to control. But governments will need to distribute some of the money on the ground—especially if the locals feel they have every right to cut down their trees.

In Juma, in addition to the payments made directly to local people, proceeds from the scheme also support investment in schools, hospitals, transport, communications and helping people find new, sustainable sources of income. All of this makes REDD look very much like traditional development aid. But Mr Karmali says he would not want to get involved with any REDD project that did not involve local communities and environmental groups. “We can’t make the mistake of thinking we have all the answers,” he says.


Preventing deforestation does not simply involve close monitoring of forests themselves. Mr Bosquet of the World Bank thinks the forces driving deforestation “are mostly outside the forest sector and are the big challenge for REDD.” Dr Câmara points out that in Brazil 90% of deforestation is illegal encroachment driven by the desire to make money from timber and agricultural products grown on cleared land, such as soyabeans. Rather than paying money to criminals, he says, international traders should refuse to buy timber, soyabeans and beef from deforested land. A number of schemes try to certify that products such as timber or palm oil have been produced without causing deforestation. But so far the results have been disappointing: European consumers are reluctant to pay premium prices for goods made from certified timber, for example.

Palm oil, much of which is produced on land that was once virgin rainforest in Indonesia, is a particular problem. According to a report by McKinsey, a consultancy, if the present rate of deforestation continues, Indonesia will lose 1.1m hectares of forest every year until 2030. A plan to certify palm oil seems unlikely to help. The idea that air travel has environmental consequences is now widely understood, but the environmental consequences of palm-oil-based toiletries are not. Even a big multinational such as Unilever says it can do little to insist that its suppliers do not use palm oil from deforested land, since the power in the market rests with the sellers.

Deforestation is an integrated and multidisciplinary problem, says Mr Bosquet. That means preventing it may involve adopting different strategies in different countries. In some parts of the world, such as Indonesia, this might mean launching efforts to increase agricultural productivity and the use of marginal land in order to reduce the pressure for forest conversion. In other parts of the world it might involve certification or helping people find alternative ways to earn a living.

AFP
AFP

Last one standing

Land tenure is another big flashpoint for REDD. There are fears that putting a value on forests will lead to land-grabs in areas where property rights are poorly defined and not well protected. In Africa, for example, governments claim ownership of 98% of the forest, but making REDD work will involve recognising the rights of those who live in the forest too. If that does not happen, there is every reason to fear large-scale corruption and human-rights abuses, because it will be far cheaper and quicker to clear people from the forests than to work out a sustainable way for them to stay.

Even though governments have yet to introduce legislation to govern the trade in forest-carbon credits, some private-sector investors have not been content to wait. This impatience brings risks. In Papua New Guinea, landowners have been hoodwinked into paying to get involved in non-existent deals that promised huge returns from “sky money”. The local World Wildlife Fund office has even been asked by landowners how the carbon from burning trees will be captured and transported to the capital. International negotiators decry the behaviour of “carbon cowboys”, but they have to recognise that private capital can move a lot faster than plodding national and international legislation.

Overshadowing all these discussions is the spectre of the CDM, which has been bedevilled by its lack of transparency and the difficulty of proving that its carbon offsets are genuine. REDD is a big idea that will work only if all these smaller problems are sorted out. It probably will help to prevent deforestation and to reduce carbon emissions, though perhaps by less than some people hope. But it has the potential to tackle such a big chunk of global emissions, and deliver so many other environmental benefits, that it is worth trying.


There are risks for forest dwellers, who must rely on outsiders both to ensure that their rights are protected and to provide an alternative path for economic development. But although REDD poses risks, the alternative—in which deforestation continues as usual—presents even greater long-term environmental and economic dangers, because the world’s poor will bear the brunt of climate change.

Doing nothing, in short, would be more dangerous than giving REDD a try. Kevin Conrad, Papua New Guinea’s climate ambassador, says financial systems must begin to take account of environmental values “if our economies are to survive”. Given that the basic principle of REDD is to establish a financial link between those who will benefit from preserving forests and those who must ensure the forests’ survival, it is an economically sound idea. The question is whether the world has the determination to create a system that will work. Some, like the UN’s Mr Steiner, say that it isn’t rocket science. Others, though, wish it were that simple.

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