Reacting to the government commissioned Eliasch review entitled "Climate Change: Financing Global Forests" Greenpeace head of biodiversity Andy Tait said:
"This report shows a dangerous lack of ambition and vastly underestimates the scale of the action needed to tackle climate change. If Gordon Brown accepts these proposals he will give a green light to companies to use forest protection abroad as a cheap alternative to making the dramatic cuts in the industrial and energy sectors that we need here in the UK.
"We must do both, and allowing forests to become a get out of jail free card for the big polluters would be extremely bad news for the fight against climate change."
Other key points:
- Including forest credits in the EU emissions trading scheme will keep the price of carbon below the level that is needed to drive investments in clean technologies for the industrial and transport sectors. It is not enough to say that it won't lower the price any further, what is now needed is a price that is far higher to drive clean investment in the UK and around the world.
- There is lack of clarity regarding what happens to countries that aren't able to participate in the scheme at an early stage. The danger is that we will simply shift deforestation to these countries, pushing the problem to another part of the world.
- The review talks of the need for further funding being needed to meet climate change objectives for forests, but does not specify where this money would come from or who would administer it.
- The review assumes a target of 50% emissions cuts by 2050. This is simply inadequate. There is a strong possibility that the UK will be legally obliged to make an 80% reduction over this period, and all developed countries will need to hit and possibly exceed this target to effectively tackle climate change.
- Eliasch suggests that deforestation could be reduced by 75% by 2030. Considering the fact that reducing emissions from deforestation is one of the cheapest and easiest ways of meeting our climate change goals, this figure is not ambitious enough.
- The report allows 'net' forest reduction within the scheme, instead of considering 'gross' reductions in forest cover. This means that a country can allow an area of ancient forest to be cut down and replaced with a new plantation, and still be eligible for international funding.
- The report implies that 'sustainable forest management' should attract funding from the scheme, which essentially means paying the timber industry to log forests in the name of preventing emissions from deforestation. This is deeply problematic, as timber extraction causes emissions and opens up the forest to further logging.
For more information, contact the Greenpeace press office on 0207 865 8255.