Bali conference close to deal on saving forests
Wednesday 12 December 2007
A breakthrough on deforestation is set to be the first success of the UN climate talks in Bali. Diplomats were confident last night that the "road map" to a new climate-change treaty would contain a crucial reference to forests.
That would be an important first for a sector omitted from the Kyoto treaty the world's only previous attempt to deal with the build-up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Deforestation is recognised as the second leading cause of climate change and is responsible for a third of carbon emissions from the developing world.
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, who joined the negotiations yesterday, said Bali could make history by giving countries with tropical forests incentives to stop cutting them down. "It looks like we can get something on deforestation," said Mr Benn. A deal, which would be finalised on Friday, "would signal that the world is getting serious about the cause of deforestation", he said.
The breakthrough emerged as the World Bank announced an initiative to fund pilot projects in rainforest nations that could become the building blocks for a much larger scheme when, and if, the road map leads to a successor to Kyoto. Wealthy countries yesterday made pledges to the 150m Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, with the UK contributing one-tenth of that budget.
"[It] signals that the world cares about the global value of forests and is ready to pay for it," said Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president. "There is a fast-emerging consensus that if we don't do something about forests we drastically reduce the options for combating climate change."
Last year's Stern Review on the economics of climate change put the cost of halting global deforestation which accounts for one fifth of carbon emissions at 2.5bn. Mr Zoellick said yesterday's announcement was a "modest" step in that direction and a much larger system of incentives would have to follow.
There is no incentive for poorer countries to halt deforestation and the developing world has pointed out that rich nations chopped down their trees during industrialisation.
Climatologist describe tropical forests as a cooling band that helps regulate temperatures, generates rainfall and acts as a thermostat for the planet. Yet 30 million hectares of tropical forest, an area the size of Greece, is being destroyed every year. The fund aims to create financial incentives for poorer nations so forests are worth more standing than felled.
Delegates admit in private that methods for deterring deforestation are not yet clear and that they will emerge by trial and error. "This is about doing something," said Mr Benn, "about getting it going."
Critics of the World Bank, including Friends of the Earth, accuse it of tokenism, pointing out that 90 per cent of its energy funding, 4.4bn since 2000, has gone to fossil-fuel projects which contribute to global warming. Poorer nations, led by China, India and Brazil, say greenhouse gases were put there by rich countries and emissions cuts must come from them. But a forests deal would be the first agreement by developing countries seriously to reduce emissions.
The "avoided deforestation" projects being considered would fund sustainable development.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Negotiable: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are currently recru...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN English Teacher required to sta...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education has been asked e...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: English Teacher needed for a Januar...