Saturday, December 19, 2009

Forestry In; Agriculture Still Out

Its something of a challenge to make sense of the outcome of COP15. The official negotiation process was following the Bali Roadmap (agreed at COP13 in Bali), while the backroom process that led to the Copenhagen Accord seemed to be following the whims of a few rich countries. When the dust settled, however, we see that the Copenhagen Accord does address many of the same issues as the Bali Roadmap and shows agreement on some of the key sticking points. The Accord commits countries to rapid progress over the next year. First up: by January 31, 2010, countries are expected to declare their 2020 emission targets.

REDD+ (Reduced Emissions for Deforestation and forest Degradation plus enhancement of forest carbon stocks) emerges from Copenhagen as a relative winner. The SBSTA (Scientific Advisory Body) provides methodological advice; COP15 produced a detailed agreement on how developing countries should prepare for REDD+; and the Copenhagen Accord explicitly mentions the need to mobilize resources from developed countries to provide provide positive incentives for REDD+. REDD+ is listed as a priority for the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, with its $30 billion of kickstart funds.

Agriculture did not come up as a winner. It is not mentioned in the Copenhagen Accord or in any of the decisions of COP15 of the UNFCCC or the decisions of the COP/MOP 5 of the Kyoto Protocol. Proponents of agriculture will need to make their case quickly; over the next year the Copenhagen Accord is to be refined into a binding international convention.

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