Distracted Driving

The uninitiated ECO reader may think a driver is a less ostentatious term for a chauffeur, but in REDD+ a driver is an underlying cause of deforestation or forest degradation.

This week in Bonn, SBSTA has this on their agenda. ECO thinks it’s vital that all parties explore ways to identify, assess and address drivers. Otherwise we risk wasting REDD+ financing and failing to achieve our goal. Ultimately it is global demand that drives most deforestation and forest degradation. All parties therefore have a responsibility to act on this, as spelt out in the Cancún decision on REDD+.

What does this mean? Drivers should be dealt with at the level they occur, be it local, provincial, regional, national or global. In the forest country itself, issues of governance become significant, as does the need to satisfy the demand of local populations for things like cooking fuel. Marginalised, forest dependent communities should not bear the brunt of blame and retribution for their impact on forest areas when the impact from outsiders is much larger.

You can’t solve problems in a forest for long simply by taking the chainsaw from a logger. You also need to address demand for paper products or luxury furniture that is motivating the logging company. The same issues of deforestation apply to our consumption of products from oil palm, beef or soy production, which are produced mainly for international consumption.

This year, a decision is needed on the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation. One that recognises REDD+ host countries require financial assistance to do this, and identifies the need for all parties, north and south, to take responsibility for their role.

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UNFCCC Presents - Bonn Climate Change Conference - May 2012


The 36th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the fifteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), the seventeenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) will take place concurrently from 14 to 25 May. All sessions will be held at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn.

CAN Submission: How to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, Febuary 2012


CAN-International welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the work of SBSTA by giving our views on the issues identified by SBSTA at its thirty-fifth session, recorded in document FCCC/SBSTA/2011/L.25, paragraph 5. 


For REDD+ to succeed, it must reduce, and ultimately reverse, the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation.  REDD+ policies must address national- and local-scale drivers within REDD+ countries, but they will not significantly reduce deforestation and forest degradation unless they also minimize internationally- driven, demand-side pressures on the world’s forests.  Forest loss is caused by many factors but, according to the latest analyses, international demand for commodities such as agricultural commodities, biofuels, wood products and minerals is the dominant driver of emissions in many countries.  Countries responsible for this international demand need to take steps to reduce those pressures in conjunction with efforts by forested countries to reduce domestic drivers of deforestation and degradation.



CAN International Briefing Paper, Reducing Deforestation Emissions, May 2006

CAN strongly welcomes the initiative to discuss reducing emissions from deforestation as proposed by Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Costa Rica and discussed at CoP-11 in Montreal. Tropical deforestation is responsible for 20 to 25 per cent of present carbon dioxide emissions and has huge negative impacts on biodiversity, local communities and indigenous peoples, sustainable long-term economic growth, air quality and other environmental and socio-economic goods and services.

MRV and the Virtues of Clarity

As we look closely at the current state of the negotiations, the LCA text released over the weekend falls short of the advances we need on both clarification and accounting. Without more progress this week the environmental integrity of the regime will decay if not disappear altogether.

Amidst all the talk of lack of ambition, one would think that the far from sufficient pledges in hand today would at least be solid. But we don’t clearly know what is in the pledges and the foundation on which they supposedly stand – a solid accounting framework – is also at risk.

Here’s why we care about clarification of pledges. Recent workshops showed that countries have not been very forthcoming about their pledges, including underlying methodologies and assumptions. This is a serious problem for tracking progress towards both domestic goals and global temperature targets – and that’s at the heart of the matters before us, right?

We are looking at real challenges to understanding aggregate reductions, a key input into the 2013-2015 review.

And that’s not all. Without more transparency, it will also be difficult to avoid double counting of emissions reductions. So let’s review piece by piece where the text falls short.

Regarding Annex I targets, the text calls for workshops, a technical paper, and a template to be filled out by Parties (Chapter IIA, Para 9).

This is a good start, but the template should also request Parties to be forthcoming about market-based mechanisms accounting methodologies, procedures to avoid double counting, the use of uncovered sectors or gases acting as domestic offsets (if applicable) and related methodologies. And the template should be included in the Durban decision..

On non-Annex I actions, the text invites Parties to submit information on their actions (Chapter IIB, Para 23).

However, an invitation alone will not necessarily result in the information necessary for tracking performance. The COP should also create a mandate for non-Annex I Parties to provide information through the completion of templates or questionnaires, with capacity support as needed. These should be specific to various pledge types, given the diversity of actions.

Lastly, SBSTA should establish a process on how these details should be reported in biennial reports, and define adjustment procedures so Parties don’t just change assumptions and methodologies willy nilly with no real justification.

Now here’s why we care about accounting. Accounting for emission reductions is at the heart of environmental integrity of the climate regime. If done in a transparent, consistent, comparable, complete, and accurate manner, accounting ensures comparability, the ability to add up and assess global emissions reductions, and quality in the carbon market.

And here’s where the text falls short. On Annex I, while the text acknowledges the need for a common system for measuring progress (Chapter IIA, Para 14), the text does not refer to the word “accounting”, leaving the text fuzzy and vulnerable to co-opting. 

The text further calls for a work programme to establish such a system but fails to mention “common” and “accounting”.

And a work programme is not necessary for Annex I targets, considering the experience we have gained through the Kyoto Protocol. There is no date by which the work programme is completed, so clearly these elements are just tactics for delay.

So to recap, If we are to preserve any environmental integrity of this regime, provisions for clarification of pledges and proper accounting needs to be strengthened this week.

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Dear friends and colleagues,

During this African COP we honor the life and share great sadness in the passing of Mama Konate. He served as Director-General of the Mali Meteorological Service, permanent representative of Mali with WMO, former Chair of the LDC Group and the Expert Group on Technology Transfer, Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and UNFCCC Focal point for Mali.

He was widely known for his constructive and engaging approach to the problems of his country and our world.

There is a saying in South Africa, when an activist has passed, that we must pick up the spear that has fallen.

Mama’s spear was the most powerful of all weapons - his voice, his wisdom and his great humanity. Mama’s spear will be as sorely missed as it will be difficult for any of us to pick up and carry. We must do good in Durban.

May his beautiful soul rest in love and peace.

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CAN Submission: Methodological guidance for activities relating to REDD+, September 2011

The Climate Action Network International (CAN-International) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations, with 700 member organisations in over 90 countries, working together to address the climate crisis.
The Climate Action Network (CAN) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the work of SBSTA by giving our
views on the issues identified by SBSTA at its thirty-fourth session, recorded in document FCCC/SBSTA/2011/L.14.
This submission is in three main parts, corresponding to the issues identified by SBSTA:
1. Guidance on a system for providing information on how safeguards referred to in appendix I to decision
1/CP.16 are addressed and respected;
2. Guidance on modalities relating to forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels;
3. Guidance on modalities for measuring, reporting and verifying as referred to in appendix II to decision
In addition, there is a short section on forest definitions which might be considered as part of either the first or
third sections...


CAN Intervention - SBSTA: methodological guidance on REDD+ - June 2011

We are encouraged by progress in SBSTA on methodological guidance on REDD+.

The safeguards information system discussion identified commonality between parties concerning:
•    the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders including indigenous peoples and local       communities;
•    the need to build on existing systems;
•    regular international reporting, including biennial reports; and
•    participation of observers in Submissions and Expert Meetings and Workshops.

We support the establishment of ‘Principles’ including Transparency, Regularity, Simplicity, Accuracy, Reliability, Participation, and Completeness.

Unfortunately, the continued failure to differentiate ‘natural forests’ from ‘plantations’ means further attention is required to properly address the safeguard against conversion.

We emphasise the urgent need for recourse mechanisms for affected people, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities.

Reference levels should be set to contribute to mitigation of climate change, encourage broad participation of countries, and we support the use of historical baselines for reference emissions levels.

We encourage further discussion on international baselines to address international leakage and the potential to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.

Finally, modalities for forest carbon monitoring and MRV will be important to address this year, in particular full and independent review and addressing gaps in COP and IPCC Guidance.




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