News / Science & Technology

Weak Rules Threaten UN Climate Plan for Forests

FILE - Two protesters from environmental groups protest holding up a banner against the REDD, the UN program to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
FILE - Two protesters from environmental groups protest holding up a banner against the REDD, the UN program to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.
Reuters
Investments in a U.N. plan to halt deforestation could suffer as U.N. climate talks in Warsaw have failed to agree rules to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples and to protect local biodiversity, observers said.
 
The program, called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), help slow climate change since deforestation accounts for nearly a fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Forests soak up carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when they burn or rot.
 
REDD has already attracted significant funds from early movers who have invested in forestry protection schemes, some in the hope of gaining carbon credits that might later be traded in schemes set up to reduce industrial emissions, even though the final rules for the program have not yet been negotiated.
 
The Norwegian government has invested $1.4 billion in countries such as Brazil, Guyana and Indonesia, while multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility and a number of private investors are getting involved.
 
But observer groups in Warsaw, where delegates from 190 nations are negotiating further regulations for REDD, say weak safeguards might damage the scheme's credibility and scare off potential investors.
 
A text stating when host countries must report on how they are safeguarding the livelihoods of indigenous people and biological diversity is unclear and non-binding, they say.
 
Clearer, stronger
 
“The lack of reporting rules creates a situation where a country might benefit from results-based payments without providing assurance that the results being paid for are sustainable,” said Kathleen Rutherford with Pivot Point, one of the green groups tracking the talks.
 
The rules are needed to ensure that well meaning projects do not end up hurting indigenous people, for example by preventing them pursuing legitimate economic interests, or damaging the environment by things such as fast-growing tree plantations that do are not suitable for the local wildlife.
 
The text might be reopened for negotiations next week, but due to the conference's heavy workload this was considered unlikely by several negotiators speaking to Reuters.
 
“Ideally we would have liked the reporting rules to be clearer and stronger, but it is important to achieve some progress [in Warsaw],” Aslak Brun, Norway's chief negotiator at the talks, said.
 
But it would be in countries' own interest to not take advantage of soft reporting rules, he said: “Reporting every four years is too seldom to unlock large investments, but host countries may report more often if they realize it puts them in a situation where they will receive more funds.”
 
“Reporting is ... fundamental because land use projects are long-term in nature and, for finance to continue to flow, investors and funders need to be reassured that project outcomes are sustainable,” said Adrian Rimmer, CEO of the Gold Standard Foundation, a certification standard for carbon projects.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid