In 1994 the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change came into force and has been ratified by 192 countries. It sets
the overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle climate change.
Most UNFCCC parties have also approved an addition to the treaty, the Kyoto
Protocol, which came into force in 2005 and has more powerful and legally
binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a commitment period
between 2007 and 2012.
UNFCCC parties are currently negotiating a new Agreement with commitments to
take effect from 2012. The negotiations began in Bali in December 2007 where
the UNFCCC parties agreed the ‘Bali Road Map’ to set the parameters for the
negotiations, which were intended to conclude in Copenhagen in December 2009. Thanks
to the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, negotiating a mechanism to Reduce
Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) were included in the Bali
At the 2009 Copenhagen meeting governments failed
to conclude a new binding Agreement but some countries did sign on to a
Copenhagen Accord where they pledged their onward commitments to reduce
emissions. In 2011 the negotiations are ongoing for a new binding Agreement.
HSI is engaging with the negotiations to ensure that the Agreement will include
forest protection as part of the global strategy to mitigate greenhouse gases
from 2012. Deforestation and degradation is responsible for an estimated 18-25%
of global greenhouse gas emissions and so it was extremely regrettable that
forest protection was omitted from the Kyoto Protocol.
HSI supports REDD being included in an international emission-trading scheme.
Dangerous climate change can only be avoided if the world’s remaining forests
are protected and the carbon market offers an unprecedented opportunity to
secure that protection.
However, it is important that the REDD mechanism is
well designed to be successful at reducing greenhouse emissions, to avoid
perverse outcomes and to maximise the co-benefits for biodiversity protection.
HSI is seeking to ensure that the UNFCCC negotiates
a REDD mechanism that will prioritize protection for the world's remaining
intact forests and restoration of degraded forests, while including safeguards
for biodiversity conservation and the rights of indigenous peoples and local
communities. To that end we are working with a coalition of organisations
called the Ecosystems Climate Alliance
To help maximise biodiversity co-benefits from REDD
initiatives, HSI has been proud to have given a financial contribution to a
project to map biodiversity and carbon hotspots by the United Nations
Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). The maps
will be helpful for countries wanting to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions
through avoided deforestation and to maximise biodiversity protection at the
same time. Carbon & Biodiversity PDF
Read more about HSI work on climate change.
Click here to view current statements and activities