Archived press release
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Friends of the Earth is urging governments at the United Nations climate talks in Bali today to reject a new World Bank initiative promoting the inclusion of forests in carbon markets. [1]

The World Bank initiative, known as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) [2] is set to be launched as part of the discussions on 'Reducing Emissions from Deforestation' (RED) [3] on Tuesday 11th December in Bali.

Friends of the Earth said the initiative, which would allow tropical forests to be included in carbon offsetting schemes, fails to combat climate change because it allows industrialised countries and companies to buy their way out of emissions' reductions. 

Deforestation causes between 18-20 percent of annual global carbon emissions, and Indonesia is the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter as a result of deforestation. 

Friends of the Earth is calling on national leaders to implement some of the genuine and urgent measures needed to address the deforestation problem, including:

  1. Redirect the very substantial amounts of public funds, tax exemptions and other forms of subsidies currently provided to the fossil fuel and agrofuels industries, into avoided deforestation assistance funds; the effective promotion of public transport and the development of solar, wind, geothermal, wave and energy efficiency industries.

  2. Address the drivers of deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity; by reducing demand for agricultural and forest products and energy; stopping corruption and removing the trade and liberalisation rules that currently fuel deforestation.

  3. Promote fair and effective forest conservation policies and institutions; encourage bans or moratoria on industrial logging and forest conversion; and address corruption and lack of enforcement.

Environmental groups said the World Bank has a particularly appalling track record in relation to funding forests and carbon projects, not least because it provides substantial funding to oil, gas and mining projects; and as a broker, has a vested interest in promoting carbon trading. Its planned Forest Carbon Partnership Facility would have serious negative social and environmental impacts.

Tom Picken, International Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

"Carbon trading to reduce deforestation in developing countries is a misleading smoke screen, detracting from real efforts to tackle climate change. We need to reduce emissions from industrialised countries and lessen our demand for forest resources in the first place. 

"Carbon finance mechanisms can result in forests being transferred or sold off to large corporations who hope to acquire profitable 'carbon credits'. Wealthy companies and countries are able to buy the right to continue to pollute, while poor communities in developing countries can find themselves locked into unfavourable, long-term commercial contracts over forest management."

"Programmes to reduce deforestation must be effective and fair, protecting both forests and the one billion indigenous and other peoples who depend on forests for their survival. Privatising forests for carbon off-setting is not the solution; we need to reduce global carbon emissions."

Notes

[1] More information on the Bali talks

[2] Forests Carbon Partnership Facility

[3] More information on RED (PDF† )


†To view PDF files you will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader. Visually impaired users can get extra help with these documents from access.adobe.com.

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust