Ministers advocate conservation of forests to curb climate changeJapan
The Japan Times
Nagoya - Ministers from dozens of countries reaffirmed their commitment Tuesday to a partnership to create a mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation to curb climate change.
The move came at their meeting in Nagoya aimed at building momentum for U.N. talks in Cancun, Mexico, from late November to negotiate a deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding emissions cut framework that expires in 2012.
Delegates from most of the countries involved in the 69-nation effort, including Japan, the United States, Brazil and Indonesia, attended the one-day event, which is being held on the sidelines of the ongoing U.N. biodiversity talks.
The efforts, called REDD-plus partnership, "could become a watershed for humanity. For the first time, the world's forests may have a fighting chance to survive," said Samuel Tei Abal, Papua New Guinea's foreign, trade and immigration minister, at the outset of the meeting.
"We are confident that sufficient political momentum has been generated at this ministerial (meeting) to catalyze a positive result on Cancun," said Abal, who cochairs the meeting. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.
The participants have reviewed projects carried out to date under the partnership, which was launched in May to promote efforts to create the emissions reduction mechanism through forest conservation, and are also expected to endorse the outlines of projects for 2011 and 2012, a Japanese official said.
Projects undertaken through the REDD-plus will be reported to the key U.N. climate change meeting in Cancun.
Forest conservation is seen as a promising way to reduce greenhouse gases because carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, in such forms as conversion to pastureland and fires, are said to account for roughly 10 to 20 percent of the emissions blamed for global warming.
REDD-plus is not just aimed at controlling deforestation and forest degradation but also seeks forest conservation, sustainable forest management and the improvement of carbon stocks in forests.
Specifically, it would enable credits for the carbon stored in forests in developing countries to be traded internationally so that countries can spend more on forest conservation. Benefits likely to arise from such a mechanism include the conservation of forest biodiversity.
The proposed mechanism, which is expected to be included in a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction regime that would succeed the 1997 Kyoto accord, offers both developing and developed nations incentives for cooperation because it is likely to benefit both, according to the official.
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