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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid