Ensuring indigenous rights are seen as key to increasing carbon investment in forests
GLASGOW, Nov 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Billions of dollars in rainforest investment promised at the UN climate conference in Glasgow should help support the rights of indigenous peoples, not just help companies reduce emissions greenhouse, carbon market experts said Wednesday.
“Much of the discussion has focused on what (carbon trading) can do for large corporations in the Western world,” said Adriaan Korthuis, co-founder of the Climate Focus think-tank in Rotterdam.
A growing buzz of companies has signed voluntary promises of zero net emissions, which they now have to fulfill by reducing their emissions or buying compensation elsewhere – often through forestry projects.
This is expected to lead to an increase in demand for nature-related compensation.
But “indigenous peoples and local communities so far their position, their rights, their interests have been largely ignored,” Korthuis said at a forestry seminar at the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, via video link.
On Wednesday, banks, insurers and investors with $ 130 trillion available pledged to put climate change at the center of their business.
Earlier Monday, more than 100 global leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030, backed by $ 19 billion in public and private funding to invest in forest protection and restoration.
The announcements are fantastic, said Naomi Swickard of Verra, which helps set standards for carbon credit certification.
However, she said, the planned $ 19 billion was not close enough to harness the full power of nature to help tackle climate change.
LACK OF SUPERVISION
Data from the Forest Trends Ecosystem Marketplace, which tracks nature-related rapidly expanding carbon trading, said the average price paid for a tonne of carbon dioxide absorbed in 2020 was $ 2.51.
So far in 2021, according to the data, 54% more compensations have been issued than in 2020.
But carbon and forest trading experts at COP26 said host governments are doing too little to oversee transactions in expanding voluntary carbon markets (VCMs).
Most governments do not know what is going on in VCMs in their countries, Korthuis said, urging them to start creating a project database before turning to more difficult issues, including how of performing fair and accurate carbon accounting.
Hot potatoes are the way you compare alleged emission reductions through voluntary carbon markets and those in government-run formal carbon markets, he said.
“We really do not know how these two systems can be compared.
Talks are under way at the Glasgow bi-weekly conference to draw up rules to govern carbon markets – one of the final parts of a book of rules governing the Paris Agreement.
Rules for carbon markets can help expand and foster confidence in voluntary markets.
A Task Force to Boost Voluntary Carbon Markets, overseen by former Bank of England chief Mark Carney, is seeking to help set the rules.
Some environmental groups oppose the expansion of carbon markets, saying companies and countries should focus on reducing their emissions, not buying loans to offset emissions by conserving or planting forests.
We are extremely, extremely skeptical of this as a solution, said Greenpeace climate activist Charlie Kronick.
The best way to limit the average rise in global temperatures to the limit of the Paris Agreement’s highest ambitions of “1.5 degrees Celsius” is through emission reductions. This cannot be done with compensation, he said.
Investing in forest protection and “other nature-based solutions” to climate change through voluntary carbon markets “can help bridge the gap” when investors need to cut more carbon than they can in their operations , said Annie Groth, an analyst at Biofilica. a brazilian carbon credit company.
“But it is not a silver bullet,” she said.
She said voluntary carbon markets were often mis-characterized “as a policeman by governments and corporations who did not take action to reduce emissions.”
WWF environmental group Damian Fleming said there have been many failed attempts to stem the still accelerating forest losses worldwide, especially in key tropical forest locations.
They include the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), the United Nations Sustainability Objectives and many objectives set by global household brands.
However, the new efforts launched at COP26 to protect forests should provide “cause for cautious optimism” because of the broad support of governments and the promise of billions of dollars.
But “the goals of the Paris Agreement are impossible without effective participation for indigenous peoples and communities,” he added.
Reporting by Alister Doyle; edited by Laurie Goering: (Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate))
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