Is it possible to solve climate change, reduce poverty and save biodiversity at a single stroke" It might seem like a dream, but this is exactly the issue that is being discussed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Bali 3-14 December 2007. The key is to include reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in the Kyoto Protocol so that developing countries can be compensated for saving their forests and woodlands.
A recent paper in the African Journal of Ecology points out that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that 20-25% of current annual carbon emissions result from loss of tropical forest. This has prompted efforts to renegotiate climate change policy to include REDD so that tropical forest nations can claim compensation for sustainable management of their natural forest resources. But not all tropical countries are pushing for an agreement and many African countries do not appear to be participating in the discussion. Eliakimu Zahabu from the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and lead author on the paper suggests that The lack of African action might be partly because estimation of carbon emission from the forest sector has been based on forest areas cleared entirely, i.e. deforestation, but excludes the small-scale degradation processes common in African dry forests. This means that the concepts for lowering carbon emissions from developing countries that have been worked out under the climate change agreements need rethinking. Dr Margaret Skutsch, from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, has been studying the problem for five years Degradation is often a different process with different drivers and needs a different instrument in Kyoto she says, and adds for African countries to benefit from the new policy, they need to support the idea of reduced emissions from controlling degradation in a way that reflects African realities, and to do this they need to enga
|Contact: Davina Quarterman|