Bali still dawdles on forests
The December 2007 two-week long meeting of the UN Climate Conference in Bali made a commitment to include emissions from forests as part of the Kyoto Protocol.
But for the next four years, there can only be $ rewards in storing carbon in regrowth forest, not forest protection.
Think about that! Yes – rewarded for cutting them down to grow again!
That’s despite worldwide acceptance that clearing forests accounts for 20% of the planet’s human-made greenhouse emissions. This doesn’t include the impact of logging and regrowth, which reduces the carbon stocks in mature forests by about 40%.
Throwing “avoided deforestation” into the mix after 2012 could meanwhile see a global acceleration of logging; a chainsaw frenzy like never before. We saw this sort of frenzy in Queensland some years back when news eked out that the government was going to introduce limits on clearing.
When the Kyoto Protocol was drawn up, forest destruction was missing from the calculations because vested interests were arguing about its impacts or how to measure the carbon loss. Now there is no argument.
But how does a global system actually watch and regulate deforestation? Despite some countries’ best efforts, much illegal logging continues – and even occurs in National Parks. In cases where best intentions are absent and the ruling authority is in bed with the forest pillagers, how would this be reliably enforced or monitored?
With the increasing demand for palm oil offering extremely high returns on investment costs, clearing forests would be more economical than being paid to protect them. And if they were protected, who would be paid? The government and its officials or the local people?
Sadly – while these bumps are ironed out, the earth’s forest mantel is disappearing daily.
The one thing to look forward to though is that our own governments will soon be forced to recognise the massive carbon pollution from our own logging and put a decent price on it or just stop it altogether.