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Forests Carbon Offsets Endangered by New UN CO2 Credit Plan

UNdeforestationSome forest carbon-dioxide credits under a new UN forestry climate agreement may be worth less after text that protected forests was removed last month, according to an investor’s group, reports Bloomberg News.

This could leave some companies who have bought certain forest carbon offsets feeling taken.

The Carbon Markets & Investors Association (CMIA), an emissions-trading lobby group, said in the article the proposal made during climate talks in Bangkok didn’t include wording to protect natural forests from being used to cultivate managed woodland plantations, which may reduce demand for the credits.

The proposal will be discussed during final climate negotiations in Barcelona before almost 200 countries gather in Copenhagen to reach an agreement on terms for a new climate protection accord, reports Bloomberg News.

Measures to slow deforestation may be included. Carbon credits would be generated from projects tied to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries (REDD), according to Bloomberg News.

It’s generally seen as a cost-effective approach to conserving forests while helping to slow climate change, reports Mongabay.com.

The UN estimates that 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation. The United Nations recently released an online forest health tracker that helps monitor the size and health of forests. The UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) tool is aimed at combating climate change through creating incentives to reverse the trend of deforestation.

Brazil, India, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway and more than a dozen other countries want to include the safeguards but the European Union, backed by Democratic Republic of the Congo and other Congo Basin countries, blocked reinstatement of the conversion safeguard, according to Mongabay.com.

Environmentalists believe the elimination of a key provision from the negotiating text for the REDD mechanism could turn the proposed climate change mitigation scheme into a subsidy for large-scale conversion of natural forests to industrial plantations, reports Mongabay.com

Environmentalists told Mongabay that without the provision, forestry companies could receive REDD payments for logging tropical forests and replacing them with single-species plantations, which are biologically impoverished and store less carbon relative to natural forests.

The provision is expected to be reinstated at the Barcelona talks, according to Mongabay.com.

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