Deforestation agreement

Consensus on a draft deforestation text closes another controversial item on the Bali agenda. Parties reached agreement late last night, announced Greenpeace representative Marcelo Furtado on Friday morning.

EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas confirmed the deal in his morning statement to the press, calling it a “good balance”.

Deforestation has been a key issue for several major developing countries here, including hosts Indonesia, India, and Brazil. It accounts for a fifth of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Like the technology transfer agreement, this deal moves the UN one step closer to a comprehensive road map for a post-2012 climate treaty.

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The agreement removes reference to considering deforestation and forest conservation under the wider theme of “land use”, said Mr Furtado. This term, pushed by the US, is very broad and would have introduced a host of fresh complexities . The text also introduces a clear separation between reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation (REDD) on the one hand and promoting sustainable forest management and conservation on the other, he added.

The text recommends introducing specific policies and incentives to tackle the former, while subjecting the latter to further investigation. These incentives could include issuing carbon credits for REDD.

Carbon finance manager at the World Bank Joelle Chassard told ENDS she welcomed the agreement. Earlier this week the World Bank launched a forest carbon fund that will pilot financial incentive mechanisms to reduce deforestation and land degradation.

Ms Chassard said the World Bank recognises forest conservation may be something that should be rewarded. “It’s something we want to look at,” she said. She also said it makes sense to first focus on deforestation and degradation, since the accounting methodology for conservation-type activities is much more complicated.

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