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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

organised by ODI

Seeing the forest for the carbon?

Source: Bank Information Centre

December 3 marked the opening of the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP-13) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – the international agreement under which the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions was established in 1997. As the leaders of more than 180 countries gather in Bali, Indonesia to discuss what kind of climate regulation regime will replace Kyoto when it expires in 2012, one of the hottest topics on their global warming agenda is tropical forests. Tropical deforestation is now widely recognized to be among the major causes of global warming.

The meetings, which are scheduled to run through December 15, are expected to be particularly important in charting the course for a post-Kyoto global agreement on carbon emission reductions.

Campaigners have been fighting to protect rainforests for years, citing their importance to forest-dependent peoples, their unparalleled biodiversity, and their medical, aesthetic and spiritual value for the planet, but it is their recently recognized significance to the world’s climate that has made forests an international priority today. While there is agreement on the need to stop destruction of the world’s rainforests, there is no consensus on how to provide the incentives necessary to do so, nor concurrence on how to calculate the value of not cutting them for the growing (though contested) trade in emissions reductions.

Even as the debate over whether and how to incorporate “avoided deforestation” into an international agreement on climate change mitigation continues, the World Bank has already proposed one solution. On December 11th in Bali, World Bank President, Robert Zoellick will launch its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, formally setting in motion the first initiative to include emissions reductions from avoided deforestation into the global carbon market. This latest foray by the Bank into carbon ‘market-making’ only heightens concerns among environmentalists opposed to emissions trading mechanisms in general, on the grounds that they will only perpetuate excessive pollution in the North.

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Adapting climate to change: What’s needed in poor countries, and who should pay

Source: Oxfam

Climate change is forcing vulnerable communities in poor countries to adapt to unprecedented climate stress. Rich countries, primarily responsible for creating the problem, must stop harming, by fast cutting their greenhouse-gas emissions, and start helping, by providing finance for adaptation. In developing countries Oxfam estimates that adaptation will cost at least $50bn each year, and far more if global emissions are not cut rapidly. Urgent work is necessary to gain a more accurate picture of the costs to the poor. According to Oxfam’s new Adaptation Financing Index, the USA, European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia should contribute over 95 per cent of the finance needed. This finance must not be counted towards meeting the UN-agreed target of 0.7 per cent for aid. Rich countries are planning multi-billion dollar adaptation measures at home, but to date they have delivered just $48m to international funds for least-developed country adaptation, and have counted it as aid: an unacceptable inequity in global responses to climate change.

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UK parliament says support for Bank fossil fuel investments is unacceptable

Author: Bretton Woods Project

A cross-party parliamentary enquiry into the role of the IMF produced a hard-hitting report calling for substantial reform, while another parliamentary group has criticised the Department for International Development over its energy and climate change policy.

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