According to NASA, the Amazon is drier at the start of this year’s dry season than any year since 2002. The reason is reduced rainfall during the wet season because of El Niño. The result could be intense fires in the Amazon later this year.
A paper published this week in Nature concludes that the Amazon is losing its capacity to absorb carbon. In the past decade, the carbon absorbed by the Amazon each year has decreased by about one-third.
“We are deeply disappointed at the lack of meaningful progress on REDD+ here in Peru, one of the countries with the most forests in the world, with many Indigenous Peoples. We expected at least SOME progress, but there has been no substantial outcome on REDD+.”
The REDD negotiations in Doha have stalled. After a week of discussions in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice parts of the REDD text remain in brackets. The negotiations are now pushed back to the next SBSTA meeting, which will take place in June 2013.
In August 2012, the Bolivian government presented a proposal to the UNFCCC titled “Proposal for the Development of the Joint Mitigation and Adaptation Mechanism for the Integral and Sustainable Management of Forests”.
Last year, emissions of carbon dioxide increased by 3.2% to 31.6 billion tonnes, according to figures released by the International Energy Agency. Fatih Birol, IEA’s chief economist told Reuters that, “[T]he trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (towards the end of this century), which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”
Two pieces of depressing news from the Amazon. First, the price of gold has increased, leading to increased mining and increased deforestation. Second, Brazil is planning to invest US$120 billion in large-scale infrastructure projects in the Amazon region.
In the past few years, the Amazon has faced two “one in a century” droughts. Last year’s drought covered a larger area of the Amazon and was even more severe than the 2005 drought. In both years huge amounts of carbon was released to the atmosphere as trees died. During these severe droughts, the Amazon turned from a carbon sink to a major carbon source.
At the end of the two week-long UN climate change negotiations in Cancun, the Conference of the Parties adopted the Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (pdf file, (351 kB), which includes (among other things) an outline agreement on REDD.
So far, the REDD negotiations in the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) in Cancun seem to have little to do with either cooperation or action. Yesterday, Bolivia’s Ambassador Pablo Solón said that the latest text “is imbalanced, and excludes the proposals of Bolivia and many other developing nations”.
At a meeting last week with NGOs in New York, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia said, “It’s up to us. If we want the Cochabamba Accord, it will be up to the power of the people.” He called for a “an alliance of social movements and progressive governments to find solutions, otherwise the planet is going to cook.”
As the UN’s climate negotiations resumed yesterday in Bonn, Germany, the Ecosystems Climate Alliance released a statement calling for a new UN forest definition – one that makes clear the difference between native forests and monoculture plantations. A second Ecosystems Climate Alliance press statement released today outlines “outstanding REDD issues” to be addressed in Bonn.
Yesterday was the last day of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, organised by the Bolivian government in Cochabamba. REDD, CDM, carbon trading and ecological debt were among the hottest issues discussed in Cochabamba. The final declaration on forests rejects REDD.
Greenpeace recently released a report which illustrates clearly why REDD offset projects will neither address climate change nor stop deforestation. The report, “Carbon Scam: Noel Kempff Climate Action Project and the Push for Sub-national Forest Offsets”, looks in detail at the Noel Kempff Climate Action Project in Bolivia.