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Forestry group lobbies for carbon credits

| Sourced From Times of India |

LONDON: Farmers and forest managers should be allowed to earn carbon offsets from planting and looking after trees in tropical countries, the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Center said on Wednesday.

“If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly and effectively as possible, we need to do everything we can to encourage the people living in and around the world’s tropical forests to adopt carbon-saving… approaches,” said Dennis Garrity, director general of the World Agroforestry Center.

“One crucial way to do that is to give them the same opportunities to sell their carbon as a commodity in the global market as is encouraged in other sectors.”

Global carbon markets worth about $64 billion last year allow heavy polluters in the chemicals, metal and power sectors to earn offsets from making emissions reductions.

Allowing tropical countries to generate offsets from preserving forests, and sell these to industrialized countries struggling to meet their caps on greenhouse gas emissions, could be a key makeweight in U.N. climate talks which resume next week in Poznan, Poland.

The talks to agree a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol from 2013 have stuttered as countries squabble over who is most responsible for global warming.

Many countries favor forestry offsets, both to direct billions of dollars of carbon finance into developing countries and to make it cheaper for rich countries to meet their greenhouse gas emissions caps.

However, some development groups say that the first priority must be to help tropical countries stamp out illegal logging and corruption and develop tenure rights and environment agencies.

They say funneling billions of dollars into such countries now could exacerbate land grabs from subsistence farmers and forest dwellers, and even spark community conflict.

“Influential non-governmental organizations are generally favorable to the inclusion of forestry in future climate regimes, but raise valid concerns about their potential to undermine efforts to devolve rights to forest-dependent people,” the World Agroforestry Center said in a statement on Wednesday.

The European Union’s executive Commission last month rejected the idea of allowing its heavy polluting industry to use forestry offsets to meet caps on carbon emissions.

The EU’s carbon market also allows companies to buy carbon offsets from developing countries up to a certain limit, but excludes forestry. Allowing them to buy offsets from curbing deforestation would swamp the scheme, the Commission argued.

The World Agroforestry Center said that argument was unfair and “should not be used as an excuse to exclude low-cost opportunities for emissions reduction and emissions offsets that would benefit the poor.” It said that carbon offset sales would comfortably exceed any profits from slash and burn forest clearances, for example, and so could help stamp that out.


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