Wetlands and climate change emissions

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Progress Towards Our CGI Commitment to Action: Protecting and Restoring Carbon-rich Wetlands for People and Planet

23-Sep-2012

New York - In September 2011 Wetlands International announced its Commitment to Action under the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which is ‘Securing Wetland Carbon Stores for Climate’. The aim of this global NGO is to achieve emission reductions in the order of at least 100 megatons by 2015 through the conservation and rehabilitation of carbon-rich wetlands. Now, one year later, they are well on the way to achieving their commitment.

Wetlands include many high carbon ecosystems such as peatlands and mangroves, which when being degraded through deforestation and drainage release disproportionately large amounts of greenhouse gasses. Wetlands International’s science work has revealed that 6% of all global emissions are related to peatland degradation.

Engaging the private sector

To achieve the reduction of these disproportionately high emissions at the global scale, Wetlands International has established a partnership with Permian Global, a private company. Together they share the concern about global climate change and biodiversity loss, and the threat that these pose to economies, livelihoods and ecosystems worldwide. Wetlands International recognizes that private enterprise and carbon markets provide a unique opportunity for addressing these issues and for creating sustainable financing and results. Together they work to develop a portfolio of peatland and wetland forest carbon projects in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, in accordance with the highest scientific, social and biodiversity conservation standards. Wetlands International is currently pursuing options in Indonesia, Sabah (Malaysia), Brunei and evaluating other opportunities in Africa and Latin America.

Rewetting degraded peatlands in Russia

Wetlands International has also made major progress in Russia, where under the German-Russian bilateral cooperation it have been trusted the task of coordinating a major peatland rehabilitation project in and around Moscow province. This project involves rewetting of 65,000 ha of peatlands and involves both German and Russian expert organisations, NGOs and relevant government agencies.

Positive policy change in Indonesia

Wetlands International believes that most emissions reductions will be achieved if policy and decision makers are aware of the issues and have access to information and expertise on how to address these. The organisation is very excited about the positive policy changes in Indonesia, and has engaged with the development of the Indonesian National REDD+ Strategy by providing detailed inputs through the open national consultation process.

This may in the longer term impact millions of hectares of tropical peatlands and the people who depend on them for their ecosystem services. Improved peatland management can also help address the major peat fires and related smog issue which constitutes the main cross border environmental issue in South-east Asia and affects public health, key economic sectors such as transport, agriculture, forestry and tourism and the daily lives of millions of people.  

Reducing emissions from biofuels

The rapid development of oil palm plantations has been a major driver of peatland conversion, in Southeast Asia. Wetlands International has actively engaged with the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to enable the sector to reduce its carbon footprint by avoiding expansion on peat. The global NGO has contributed to the current review of the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria by providing the science base and guidance on best management practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This includes criteria that will require full GHG accounting of oil palm plantations and the requirement to avoid peatlands for oil palm plantation expansion. The adoption of this will help reduce emissions from over 1.5 million hectares of tropical peatlands.

Key milestones

These results so far, represent key milestones. Wetlands International invites corporate sector agencies and other interested organisations to support their work towards achieving their commitment, be it as donor or partner. For more information, visit their website www.wetlands.org.

Download the leaflet: Wetlands International and the Clinton Global Initiative

For more information

At the Clinton Global Initiative:

Jane Madgwick
CEO Wetlands International
Jane.madgwick @ wetlands.org
1-202-340-6080

At Wetlands International Head Office:

Marcel Silvius
Marcel.silvius @ wetlands.org
Tel. 0031-318-660924
Website: www.wetlands.org

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit  clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/ clintonglobalinitiative.

Watch the video

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Press contact

Press can contact:

Ms. Ytha Kempkes
Communications and Advocacy Manager
Tel. +31 (0)318 660933
Email: ytha.kempkes@wetlands.org

Press kit

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