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December 12, 2007
December 10, 2007
December 7, 2007
December 6, 2007
December 4, 2007
December 3, 2007
TFG press releases from COP 13

Wednesday December 12, 2007

US Hijacks Climate Talks – Rainforests Used As Hostage All Other Nations Show Compromise and Generosity

The United States again wrought havoc at UN Climate Change talks. In the early morning hours of talks, as diplomats faced exhaustion, the United States pulled the equivalent of a diplomatic nuclear option, scuttling frantic global efforts to save tropical forests.

As the two weeks of talks draw to a dramatic close, the US stood alone and forced the rainforest resolution into a frenzy. India relinquished its demand to seek credits for already having had revered rates of deforestation. Papua New Guinea was able to insert language that could allow billions of dollars to begin flowing to developing countries that move early to stop deforestation. At the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) the US introduced new text to water down the negotiations. All other countries objected to the last minute change, forcing the subject to the higher level negotiations of the Conference of the Parties (COP). Said Jeff Metcalfe, Director of the Tropical Forest Group, “We’ve seen this  before. The US waits for other countries to grow weary and brings in some new confusing tactic at the last hour. Only this time they’ve gone too far – with UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon and other Heads of State scheduled to speak, the US will have no choice but to back down”.

Elsewhere in the Bali talks, most other developed nations came forward with new monies to save rainforests. Norway announced more than $3 billions of dollars to help stop deforestation. Jeff Jackson, a volunteer with Tropical Forest Group who spent the two weeks erecting large inflatable trees, “Norway will go down in history as a great country by this simple act. The people of Norway want a future world with rainforests and they decided to act”.

A few hotels away from the main negotiations, the World Bank announced a $350 partnership to funnel money to rainforests. Governments including Germany ($57 million), the United Kingdom ($30 million), Finland ($5 million) and Japan ($10 million) announced new monies to support the World Bank fund to control deforestation. The US was notably absent from the stage as World Bank president Robert Zoellick chaired the exciting new plans to save rainforests.

Meanwhile in Washington –in what looks like another deliberate slap-in-the-face, a US Treasury Bill would slash US funding for tropical forests.


Monday December 10, 2007

Tropical Forest Group’s Inflatable Tree Disappears –

Symbolize ½ Million Acres of Deforestation during Talks

As the 2nd week of negotiations begins at the UNFCCC in Bali, many questions remain surrounding efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD) in a post-2012 international climate regime.  Negotiators have failed to agree on REDD issues, an essential component to save the world’s tropical forests and combat climate change.
There are three key issues that must be resolved as delegates work out the details of any REDD agreement:yale kids COP 13 Press Releases

  • Parties must define a timeframe for deciding on reference emissions scenarios. Without these deadlines, REDD may never move forward.
  • Negotiators should clarify whether REDD will function through a market mechanism or a fund for tropical forest nations. A market mechanism which relies on a cap-and-trade system is a much more powerful tool for reducing deforestation and carbon emissions.
  • Parties have not yet agreed on whether to include degradation in the draft agreement. Some parties, like Brazil, prefer not to include degradation in REDD, while others like the Coalition for Rainforest Nations want degradation as well as deforestation. Degradation is an essential part of any agreement, because carbon emissions from degraded forests are a large contributor to climate change.

As a symbol of the slow progress on negotiations over deforestation, Tropical Forest Group has removed one of its three trees from the display near the entrance gate.  This lost tree symbolizes the loss of ½ million hectares of tropical forest that occurred during the first week of COP13. Each year an estimated 30 million acres of tropical forest are lost, contributing 20% of global greenhouse gases. Thus far the Kyoto Protocol has done nothing to incentive developing countries to reduce deforestation. If an agreement on REDD does not transpire by the end of COP13, current deforestation rates will persist, driving carbon emissions and forcing global climate change. We will continue to display the remaining two trees as a reminder of what is at stake: our tropical forests and climate. Negotiators must not fail to address the remaining questions surrounding efforts to include deforestation measures in any post-Kyoto agreement.


Green Governors Declaration

December 7, 2007

Governors Lead Global Efforts To Combat Deforestation & Climate Change

Three governors – two from Indonesia and one from Brazil – jumped ahead of the carbon global market this evening in Bali, Indonesia. At an exclusive gala dinner in the gardens of the Conrad Hotel, Governor Yusuf Irwandi (Aceh, Indonesia), Governor Barnabas Suebu (Papua, Indonesia), Governor Abraham O. Atururi (Papua Barat, Indonesia), Governor Eduardo Braga and Secretary of Environment Virgilio Viana (Amazonas, Brazil), revealed a historic joint declaration supporting exploration of carbon revenues from reducing emissions from deforestation in developing declaration COP 13 Press Releases countries (REDD).

Dorjee Sun of Carbon Conservation, the host and organizer of the dinner, started the event by welcoming the Governors, the press and explaining that the dinner was an incredible opportunity to merge financial, good governance, and environmental principles.

Governor Suebu said that rather than wait for the diplomatic standoff between Developed and Developing Countries who are bickering about responsibility to reduce emissions, he and his green governor colleagues were moving forward. Governor Suebu hoped the collective actions of the governors would spark deeper cuts and more countries would become engaged in emission reductions.

Governor Irwandi stated that as governor of Aceh, he would continue to pursue a policy where no logging would occur under his watch, legal or illegal. He also discussed his “Green Aceh” program, which would begin a massive effort to plant new trees, operate sustainable community forestry, welcome sustainable industries and maximize potential revenues from REDD credits.

Finally, Governor Braga said his State would pursue a vision of developing livelihoods of people, reducing poverty and preserving forests. He suggested that as a collaborative partnership, each Province/State would learn from the others’ experiences.

The governors then signed a declaration, affirming their commitment to work together.


December 6, 2007

US Slashes Funding to Save Rainforest During UN Talks

MEDIA ALERT- Uncle Sam To Knock Down Towering Trees at 1:30pm local time.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bali, Indonesia. December 6, 2007, 9:00 am local time

UN diplomats in Bali Indonesia have begun negotiations on a new aggressive climate change policy framework. One key topic being discussed is how to create incentives for developing countries to conserve their tropical forests. As 20% of global greenhouse gases, tropical deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change and the leading cause of species extinctions.
Most countries have come to the UN talks to declare new financial support for tropical forests. The World Bank at the request of the G8, is creating a new fund to help developing countries reduce emissions by saving forests. Australia, which a few days agouncle sam COP 13 Press Releases ratified the Kyoto Protocol, has committed $200 million Australian in new monies for tropical forests. Meanwhile, the United States is poised to dramatically decrease money for tropical forests.

The US Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) is the largest US pot of money exclusively for helping developing countries conserve threatened tropical forests. The Treasury Department, which administers the TFCA, implausibly cannot find enough trees to help, even though 30 million acres are destroyed each year. The TFCA, which expires at the end of 2007, is due to be re-authorized in the next few weeks. At the behest of the Treasury Department, US House of Representatives passed HR 2185 in October to expand the TFCA’s mandate to conserve coral reefs. Which would be great, except the bill contains the smallest congressional authorization ($20 million) for saving tropical forests in the entire history of the TFCA. In previous years, congress authorized up to $100 million per year. The amount of environmental finance is smaller, and now tropical forests and coral reefs will “compete” for limited funds, suggesting tropical forest funding could be as low as $10 million. That equals just $0.03 (3 US pennies) per American to combat our planet’s most serious ecological crisis.
“Saving tropical forests is the most important and immediate solution to combat climate change. The rest of the world gets it. The US, already sidelined by its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, continues its slide into obscurity” said Jeff Metcalfe, director of the Tropical Forest Group. “Saving rainforests is something nearly every American supports. If the Senate passes this bill (Senate Bill 2020) –scheduled for a vote any day – it will turn America’s back to international diplomacy, climate change, and the environment”. .

More News



December 4, 2007

Coalition for Rainforest Nations: Safeguarding Our Planet’s Ecological Security

Are the rainforests quivering with optimism? Maybe, maybe not? Remember 25 years ago, during the Rio Earth Summit, everyone had a “Save the Rainforest!” T-Shirt? The idea of saving tropical forests was so popular, no one bothered to follow through on it. A little noticed 1999 UN report said that even 7 years after the Earth Summit, deforestation was steady and not declining. The report suggested $30 billion per year was needed to significantly dent global tropical deforestation rates. The ensuing years of the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism and the World Bank’s GEF never mustered much financial muscle. While estimates still vary, global spending on tropical forest conservation by wealthy countries is less than $1 billion per year.
There has been some incredible on-the-ground conservation, often led by true Earth heroes, albeit ones with very shallow bank accounts. But globally, at the macro-ecological level, anyone with a calculator would have to conclude the international community has not done its job. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent and the situation remains where it was fifteen or twenty years ago. Kindness/official development assistance (ODA) has done some good things, but not enough.
Which is why today, the Coalition for Rainforest Nations is one of the most important diplomatic collections of countries for our planet’s ecological security. A few years ago, if you said saving tropical forest should be part of the carbon market, you would have found yourself with very few friends here at a COP. By advocating that real measurable reduction in national deforestation should be financially compensated by carbon markets, the Coalition has allowed the possibility to exist, that serious new funds could be allocated to save tropical forests.
The Coalition’s diplomacy and novel approach is to reward national reductions in deforestation rates with access to carbon markets in the post-2012 regime.  With the Coalition’s work – the world is again revisiting the stark reality that if we want our grandchildren to experience rainforests – we must change the economic paradigm. The world needs palm oil, soy beans, and coffee (mmmm, espresso!). And the global marketplace pays for these commodities. Like it or not, soy, coffee, palm oil, timber and pulp mean forests must fall before communities – anywhere in the world – can make a serious livelihood from their forests. The global economy rewards deforestation.
The Coalition for Rainforest Nations has a credible plan to change this paradigm. Delegates at Cop13 should follow the Coalition’s arguments that REDD must be a part of the post-2012 carbon regime. Anything short of that is failure.

United Nations. 1999. Matters left pending on the need for financial resources: Secretary General’s Report, United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, Intergovernmental Forum on Forests. Third Session, May 3-14, 1999. Document E/CN.17/IFF/1999/4.



December 3, 2007

Day 1 of COP13/ CMP3/SB27/AWG4COP 13: A Historic Opportunity to Save Tropical Forests

Welcome Cop13 delegates! The Tropical Forest Group welcomes you to Nusa Dua – a resort founded on the Balinese principle of Tri Hata Karana, the cosmological harmony between Humans, Nature and God. With all that positive karma, we’re confident you’ll leave the “Island of the Gods” in two weeks able to tell your families you did something historic: help save millions of acres of tropical forests and the plants, animals and people they support. [Unless of course, you don’t].
Tropical deforestation has been burning at the fiery pace of 30 million acres per year. [Over the course of twelve days of negotiations, the world will forever lose almost a million acres]. In the time that plenary statements are read, contact groups formed and informals informulated behind closed doors, hundreds of thousands of acres of forests, plants, animals, and livelihoods will be destroyed. The positive carbon karma stored in tropical forests will be oxidized into negative carbon dioxide karma. Not the carbonic karmic baggage-you want to take home.
The Tropical Forest Group is here to put reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) into the spotlight, with our trio of 20 foot inflatable silk trees. These trees will greet you as you enter the conference and their appearance will change daily to reflect the negotiations that determine their fate. Today, you’ll notice the trees encapsulated by sets of large brackets. These brackets represent the 21 sets of brackets that currently surround bits of text in the FCCC/SBSTA/2007L.10 document [otherwise known as the “Draft Text for a Decision on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries”].
The Tropical Forest Group urges delegates to remove the brackets and pass a powerful decision to save forests. A good COP13 REDD decision will do three things:
1) It will clarify the REDD process with specific dates for future actions;
2) It will encourage “early action”, including fungible carbon credits for the post-2012 period. [A COP13 decision that does not include early action language = five years of continued rampant deforestation] and [Five years = 150 million acres of deforestation = 110 billion tons of CO2 emissions, assuming 200 tC/ha]
3) It will provide a clear mandate to have SBSTA or IPCC develop reference emission scenarios, not just decide on methodological issues for developing reference emission scenarios.
Please delegates, tear down the brackets so we can stop tearing down our forests!