The Ecosystem Marketplace's Forest Carbon News
Tracking Terrestrial Carbon
Ecosystem Marketplace is right in the middle of the action in Lima, Peru this week, where thousands of government negotiators, non-profit representatives, indigenous leaders, corporate officials and journalists have gathered for the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is in this strange alternative universe where people speak in acronyms and debate negotiating text over pisco sours that the groundwork for an international climate agreement next year in Paris is being laid.
What role will forests play in this future deal? After the last-minute agreement on the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) Rulebook at last year’s Warsaw COP, market participants were expecting a quiet year in Lima in terms of concrete decisions on forests – and that’s what they’ve mostly gotten so far.
In a roundtable discussion with Ecosystem Marketplace, REDD policy experts discussed the two major forest carbon issues on the table at COP 20: The rules for Safeguards and whether the guidelines for countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (see our COP alphabet soup piece for background) will include REDD.
The technical committee discussions concluded this weekend without a decision on whether the UNFCCC should offer further guidance on REDD social and environmental safeguards, punting the issue to June meetings in Bonn, Germany. Many tropical forest countries were in favor of this ‘no decision’ outcome.
“Many REDD countries said, ‘We're implementing them [the safeguards], figuring out our system, making sure everything is connected,’ and they interpreted the calls for more guidance as additional demands being imposed even before they've been able to see if they have any problems or not,” said Peter Graham of World Wildlife Fund. “They're basically saying, ‘You're asking us to see how we're doing before we do it,’ and they don't see it as fair.”
The rules for INDCs will be discussed this week as the negotiations transition from technical discussions to policy ones and high-level ministers arrive.
“My understanding is that the INDCs to be submitted by March will be a range of numbers coupled with explanations saying, ‘This is how we came up with this number. These are the policies that we expect to use to implement or meet our INDC.’ Basically, numbers with context,” said Gustavo Silva of Forest Trends.
“Also, for some countries like least-developed countries, we're not expecting them to come in with numbers, but more activities,” added Chris Meyers of Environmental Defense Fund. These activities might include forest conservation, climate-friendlier agricultural techniques, or even improved land tenure in indigenous territories, he said.
Over the next week, policy experts are following whether the rules for INDCs will specifically mention forests and land use, since this would send a signal about the potential role of REDD+ in countries’ emissions reductions plans.
More stories from the forest carbon market are summarized below, so keep reading.
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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