Forests are key to this negotiation – both how forest sinks, land use and land use change (LULUCF) are treated in the agreement for the next period, and the mechanisms for protecting 0ld growth forests in developing countries from logging. Estimates are that 15-20% of global emissions are n0w from deforestation. Along with the carbon, of course we lose thousands of species. The poster child is the orangutan from the forests of Indonesia – slaughtered at the rate of 50 a week in one area – but there are thousands of species never documented by science in old growth forests around the world.
I talked yesterday with a Norwegian NGO negotiator who says the text providing protection for biodiversity and for forest indigenous peoples, of whom there are some 60 million, has been moved from the body of the draft to the preamble, so that it would not form a set of conditions for qualifying projects, but a non-enforceable intention.
There are also arguments about whether the financing of forest protection should be by a fund to which developed countries donate agreed amounts, or through a market n forest credits, where any money spent on saving third world forests just buys the right for developed countries to increase their emissions. A new form of carbon colonialism.
A very good workshop by a US forests NGO produced figures showing that in most developing countries more than half of the logging is illegal and carried out by foreign multinationals against the law of the host country and with no payments to it. Their conclusion was that there is no hope of stopping deforestation unless import is outlawed in the market countries.
This is, of course exactly what Catherine’s Bill would have achieved except that the Government voted it down few weeks ago. The US passed such a law – the Lacey Act – in 2008 but it seems that is too hard for NZ, despite the support of our own forest industry