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Protecting forests in the Copenhagen climate deal will help save climate

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The Wilderness Society is attending the last week of UN climate talks before Copenhagen, in Barcelona this week, to urge countries and NGOs to support the inclusion of forests in the global climate solution.Forests help halt climate change by sucking in and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide. Approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from clearing, logging and degradation of the world's intact forests.

The Wilderness Society is attending the last week of UN climate talks before Copenhagen, in Barcelona this week, to urge countries and NGOs to support the inclusion of forests in the global climate solution.

Forests help halt climate change by sucking in and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide. Approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from clearing, logging and degradation of the world's intact forests.

The good news is that if we protect the world's forests we will quickly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Protecting natural forests is a simple, fast, and cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions and help protect the world from dangerous climate change.

At the UN climate talks in Bali in 2006 it was agreed that the role of natural forests in storing carbon; and the need to reduce emissions from deforestation (permanent landclearing) and forest degradation (including logging) should be a key part of the next global climate agreement. A mechanism, called Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). REDD was developed to reduce forest related greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.

Since its conception, protecting and restoring intact natural forest has been widely believed to be a key intention of the REDD. Imagine our alarm when we discovered that the draft REDD climate deal has left this out. Instead the language of industrial logging dominates. The short negotiating time frame between now and the Copenhagen Climate talks means that unless this core objective for REDD is included during, or as an outcome of Bangkok negotiations, that are taking place from 29 September - 9 October, it is increasingly unlikely to be added later. Learn more about the Bangkok Climate Change Talks 2009 >>

This would mean that the fundamental aim of a REDD mechanism, to reduce emissions by keeping intact natural forests safe from highly emissive activities such as clearing and industrial logging, would be absent from the final agreement and the opportunity to gain the most effective emissions reductions in the forests sector would be missed. This cannot be allowed to happen.

The Wilderness Society have initiated a REDD forest pledge. (View the Forest Pledge PDF)

By signing this pledge, countries and Non-Government Organisations have promised to support inclusion of text for protecting intact natural forest and restoring degraded natural forest as a core objective of a REDD mechanism. This includes protecting the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and forest communities in such forests. A REDD mechanism will only be effective at reducing emissions if helps indigenous peoples to protect their local forests and recognises that such forests have historically been cared for by them.

 

Take Action

The Wilderness Society's International Climate Team is working hard at the UN climate talks and we urgently need your help. The protection of the world's forests needs to be part of the global solution to avoid dangerous climate change. Sign the forest pledge today and ask Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to secure a safe climate for our future, by making sure the next global climate deal protects the world's forests >>


Oxfam Australia and A Climate for Change are urging Australians to write to Prime Minister Rudd - to ask him to ensure the Copenhagen climate deal helps developing countries protect their forests. Check out their website or take action online >>


Make Forests Count! 
Add your name to the growing list of global citizens who are asking their governments to include emissions caused by cutting forests and draining wetlands in the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December.
 
Forest and wetland destruction account for 20% of the world’s carbon emissions.  It’s time to take this threat more seriously and Make Forests Count in Copenhagen. Take action and make forests count in the global climate agreement >>

 

Further Reading

Bangkok at a turning point for forests and climate
Joint Media Release - 1 October 2009
Leading observer group urges delegates to return to original intent to protect forests and indigenous rights. More >>

 

Follow Margaret Swink's (Rainforest Action Network) Blog
Bangkok, Day 5: Breaking News: Forests do not naturally grow in straight lines. More >>