Asunción, Paraguay—The Global Forest Coalition, a worldwide coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations, has welcomed the recommendation of the European Commission (EC) to exclude forest carbon credits from the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) until at least after 2020.
The Commission points out that monitoring, reporting, verification and liability questions should be resolved first. According to the Commission, “Inclusion of forestry credits in the EU ETS should only be considered after a thorough review of the experience of using deforestation credits for government compliance and for the period after 2020”.
“As the definition of ‘forests’ under the climate regime includes large-scale monoculture plantations of exotic trees, the inclusion of forest carbon credits in the European Trading Scheme would lead to massive financial support for the expansion of such plantations, which have created a whole array of serious environmental and social problems in countries like South Africa”, stated Wally Menne of Timberwatch Coalition in South Africa, the African NGO focal point for GFC.
Sandy Gauntlett, Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition and GFC focal point for Oceania added, “Considering the lack of social safeguards in the international climate regime, the inclusion of forest carbon credits in the ETS would lead to serious violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest peoples, as it would trigger the take-over of forest lands by large conservation groups and corporations.
Before any further decisions on forest and climate change policies are taken, it should be ensured that Indigenous Peoples and other forest dependent peoples are able to participate fully and effectively in the development of such policies and that their rights over their forests are recognized”.
The Global Forest Coalition stated that it shares some of the concerns of other environmental groups about the lack of strong measures to tackle the direct and underlying causes of deforestation like the European imports of soy, palm oil, and illegal timber in the Commission’s forest plan. Nevertheless, it welcomes the recognition that the inclusion of forest credits in the ETS would undermine the climate regime.
“Climate change is rapidly becoming the number one cause of forest loss, due to increased droughts, fires and pests”, said Simone Lovera, managing coordinator of Global Forest Coalition. “Instead of offsetting carbon emissions, we need both a rapid and profound shift to reduced energy consumption and sustainable transport AND an immediate halt to deforestation and forest degradation”.
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