UN climate emission strategy will Harm ASEAN economies


Proposals before the UN to restrict land and forest access areas in developing countries in the name of climate change will have a detrimental effect upon economic growth in the region and do little to reduce emissions, according to Washington-based NGO World Growth.

The pro-development NGO highlighted the release of new research that further halves emissions from deforestation, conclusively showing tropical forested developing countries are not a major source of global emissions. It also questioned the current strategy of UN negotiators to back programs that will pour billions of dollars of 'climate aid' into developing countries -- rather than focus on economic growth in the world's most populous region.

Speaking at the climate negotiations in Cancun, World Growth Chairman and former chairman of the GATT (the predecessor to the World Trade Organization), Alan Oxley said: 'Wealthy country negotiators, donors and environmental groups are claiming that an agreement on REDD (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) will help the poor and magically reduce emissions. This is disingenuous at best.

'New research from Winrock International released at the conference has halved estimates of deforestation emissions from 17% to around 8% and forecasts it will fall further when absorption of carbon by plantations is counted. 'Experts at the conference have also made it clear that agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation in poor countries. The REDD proposals to restrict access to land and forest are essentially a mandate for poor countries curb forestry and agricultural production.

'These measures ignore the need for continued economic development, in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand as well as the Congo Basin and South America, to expand agricultural land to create jobs, food and reduce poverty. 'Donor agencies and the UN have promised as much as USD 4 billion for these programs and will promise more. Yet REDD is a strategy that will promote not eradicate poverty.'

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