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31 March 2008 - Talks underway to progress Bali Mandate      

Talks underway to progress Bali Mandate

Sydney, 31 March 2008                                    

The crucial start of two years of negotiations towards a post-2012 international agreement on climate change begin today in Bangkok, where countries are expected to progress the outcomes of the UN climate meetings in Bali last December, notably the Bali Mandate.

To guide Party negotiations between now and the 2009 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen, the Bali Mandate includes four key areas or building blocks upon which countries will develop a future climate agreement for when the current Kyoto Protocol period expires in 2012. These include adaptation, mitigation, technology development and transfer, and financing.

“Today marks the start of 2 years of very important negotiations as countries begin the process of developing a new international agreement to tackle climate change,” said Humane Society International’s Program Manager Rebecca Keeble. “HSI wants to see the agreement include a mechanism to address emissions from developing countries as a result of deforestation and forest degradation.

The contribution that emissions resulting from deforestation of the world’s tropical rainforests are having on global greenhouse gas emissions was recognised during the Bali climate meetings, and resulted in Parties reaching consensus on a Decision to develop a REDD mechanism – to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation (and Forest Degradation) in Developing Countries.

“HSI is calling on Parties to the negotiations to ensure that REDD is included in a future 2012 agreement and that degradation of forests is a key part the mechanism,” said Ms Keeble. “We are also keen to see both developed and developing countries given new obligations to protect other non-forest sources of greenhouse gases such as the clearance and degradation of wetlands, grasslands and tundra, which can also contribute significantly to global emissions.

Closer to home, HSI is advocating the Australian Government fulfil its election commitment to ban the importation of illegally sourced timber and is suggesting the enactment of a Tropical Forest Conservation Act as one means by which the Government could implement such a ban. This should also extend to the importation of palm oil from unsustainable sources – a key contributor to the destruction of Asia’s tropical forests and resulting carbon emissions. The Australian Government is still subsidising the importation of palm oil to Australia despite the fact that vast swathes of rainforest are being cleared in South East Asia to plant the crop; a practice Minister Garrett described as a ‘policy train wreck’ when in opposition.

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