Business and Environmental Leaders agree to fight deforestation



A number of groups representing business and environmental groups have released a joint declaration addressing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+).

The Climate Markets and Investors Association (CMIA), Code REDD, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Global Canopy Programme (GCP), and International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) jointly have stated the need for a balanced approach to financing and implementing REDD+ at a sufficient scale. It is a combination of market and non-market approaches, and private, public and philanthropic funding, that is needed.

The United Nations (UN) Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries UN REDD) states that overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that we need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 13 billion tonnes by 2020 in order to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.

Focussing on deforestation is central to this challenge, as deforestation and forest degradation currently contribute approximately 15 per cent of global GHG emissions – more than the entire global transportation sector.

“By some estimates, the world will need to invest US 40 billion a year to halve the rate of global deforestation–and in doing so play a pivotal role in tackling poverty, combating climate change and catalyzing a transition to an inclusive Green Economy,” says Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In contrast to previous attempts to save forests, REDD+ aims to create financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to protect forests, reduce emissions from deforestation and invest in low-carbon pathways to sustainable development.

“Any realistic plan to reduce global warming pollution sufficiently — and in time — to avoid dangerous consequences must rely in part on preserving tropical forests,” said Stephan Schwartzman, Director of Tropical Forest Policy at Environmental Defense Fund. He added, “This will require a diverse set of funding sources, including market-based, non-market and other private and public finance, in order to sustainably cut emissions, protect ecosystems, and provide economic development at large scale.”

The extent and rate of change to a country’s forest cover provides a useful guide for designing context-specific and effective REDD+ policies, according to researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

“Experience has shown that if REDD+ policies are to be effective, they must be tailored to the specific circumstances in a country,” said Arild Angelsen, senior associate at CIFOR and professor of economics at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

“The recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report makes clear the critical role REDD+ can make to keep the world below 2 degrees. The value of supply chains causing deforestation exceeds US$100 billion per year, yet Governments have so far committed just US$ 1 billion per year to finance REDD+. This Declaration calls for a significant upgrade in action by Governments and the private sector to combat deforestation as the most cost effective and viable means of mitigating climate change in the next decade,” said Andrew Mitchell, Executive Director of the Global Canopy Programme (GCP).

The declaration just signed by business and environmental groups making the business case for a balanced approach to funding REDD+ urges Parties at COP 19 (The nineteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) held from 11 to 22 November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland) advance REDD+ in a way that allows the public and private sector to engage together to leverage each others capabilities and achieve the greatest cost impact effectively.

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