After Copenhagen: Time to 'Redouble Efforts' on U.S. Forest and Climate Policy FrontDecember 21, 2009
"If anything, Copenhagen illustrated that we need to redouble efforts here at home to advance climate legislation with strong provisions for conservation of forests and their climate benefits." -- PFT President Laurie Wayburn
The Copenhagen climate summit might have ended without a legally binding agreement -- and no small amount of resulting disappointment -- but progress toward an agreement for forests provided some bright spots in the negotiations.
The New York Times, Time Magazine and Washington Post have reported delegates were close to agreement on a climate plan for forests created through a program called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries).
Agreement on an international plan for forests would be a major milestone, says PFT Board Secretary Andrea Tuttle, an international forestry consultant who tracked the talks from Copenhagen with PFT Policy Project Manager Emily Russell-Roy. "Reducing carbon emissions from tropical deforestation is one of the most simple and effective ways to make headway on total emissions reductions, so there is strong focus on kick-starting a REDD program," Tuttle says.
The U.N. plan for forests is stalled without an overarching, binding climate treaty. But growing consensus on international REDD is a hopeful sign and should spur domestic lawmakers to action, said PFT President Laurie Wayburn.
"If anything, Copenhagen illustrated that we need to redouble efforts here at home to advance climate legislation with strong provisions for conservation of forests and their climate benefits," Wayburn says. "The United States can model how REDD works by walking the talk at home as well as abroad, by reducing forest loss, restoring forests and managing forests adaptively in the face of climate change."
Once Tuttle and Russell-Roy return home they will be providing more details on the outcome of talks and where negotiations go from here. To read more of their on-the-ground observations from Denmark, visit http://www.forestsworkwonders.org/ and search for posts tagged "Copenhagen."