By Stephen Leahy
Paying the poor to conserve forests through a market scheme is the new star among initiatives in climate talks.
But there are many who warn that the gold will flow only to corporate interests.
One of the most effective ways to combat climate change, caused by gases like carbon dioxide that trap heat in the atmosphere, is through biological sequestration of carbon in plants, trees and soils. That means reducing deforestation, increasing reforestation, and utilizing sustainable agriculture and grazing practices that conserve soil and water.
If these activities become part of a multi-billion-dollar global carbon finance regime, under a new 2009 climate treaty, there could be extraordinary benefits for the rural poor and the environment, according to Olav Kjørven, the former director of the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Energy and Environment Group.
“Enabling the poor to tap that new potential income, however, implies providing the legal tools and protection to reap the benefits of their good stewardship,” Kjørven states in the report “Opportunities in Environmental Stewardship: Climate Change and Legal Empowerment of the Rural Poor,” coauthored with Estelle Fach.
Delegates from more than 190 countries met Dec. 1-12 in Poznan to hammer out some of the final details for a new climate treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Targeted for completion in Copenhagen late next year, the new climate treaty will be the successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which has been in force since 2005 and expires in 2012.
A new Copenhagen treaty will require substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from all countries and create an adaptation fund to help poor countries implement sustainable economies and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
“It is essential to ensure that future, market-based financing mechanisms under the Climate Change Convention will not exclude the rural poor, but work for their benefit,” Kjørven told Tierramérica.
For complete story see: Carbon Markets – What’s In It for the Poor?