One billion tonnes of forest and peatland emissions may go unaccounted
CANCUN – Countries at climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico this week are in closed door meetings on a deal to evade accounting for up to one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution from the destruction of native forests and peatlands. The Ecosystems Climate Alliance (of which Wetlands International is one of the core members) today launched a colourful Truth in Targets campaign highlighting the imminent decision to entrench loopholes in proposed new international emissions rules for land and forests in developed countries.
Campaigners are urging delegates to pressure countries to close the loophole and be honest about the greenhouse pollution from forest and peatland destruction.
The new rules would allow a 500 Megaton increase in greenhouse gas emissions from logging, fails to address, so far, another existing 500 Megatons of emissions from peatland drainage, and contains no option for peatland rewetting to reduce emissions.
Governments will further undermine a global agreement to cut greenhouse pollution levels if they agree to these loopholes and then exploit them to continue forest and peatland destruction. Targets for emissions reductions by developed countries should mean what they say, according to the Ecosystem Alliance.
The loophole represents 10 per cent of the yardstick 1990 global greenhouse gas emissions, substantially undermining targets for reducing emissions being put forward by developed countries.
“It will only add to the climate problem and increase greenhouse pollution levels if this dishonest accounting trickery is agreed,” said Peg Putt of the Wilderniss Society. “This controversial deal is being clinched in secret, all the negotiations to lock in the loopholes have been behind closed doors, and our very real fear is that we will be faced with a fait accompli.”
Under the new rules in the proposed second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, all developed countries would be allowed to increase their emissions from the forest sector without accounting for them, and also to evade accounting for large emissions from drained peatlands – all without any requirement to adjust their overall targets to reflect the situation.
"The ongoing arguments about accounting for emissions from the forest sector is also delaying a decision to allow countries to reduce real and huge emissions by re-wetting drained peatlands", said Susanna Tol representing Wetlands International in Cancun. "It will be a failure if this mitigation opportunity is not created in Cancun.”
Delegates here are being asked to sign up to the Truth in Targets campaign. The campaign has been joined by a team of 70 members of the International Youth Delegation to Cancun.
The Ecosystems Climate Alliance (www.ecocystemsclimate.org) is an alliance of NGOs committed to keeping natural terrestrial ecosystems intact and their carbon out of the atmosphere. We work to ensure this is done in a way which is equitable, transparent, consistent with the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and which takes place alongside deep and urgent cuts in fossil fuel emissions
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