Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Greenpeace unveils new plan to halt the destruction of rainforests

By: Greenpeace

Bonn, Germany, May 20, 2008 -- New proposals to completely halt the destruction of the world's rainforests by 2015 were unveiled today by Greenpeace at the UN conference on biodiversity in Bonn.

Under the Forests for Climate plan, the rich countries, who have historically been the biggest polluters, would be required to pay into a new global fund as part of their obligation to combat climate change. This money could then be used to reward those countries that stop destroying their rainforests. Greenpeace wants the proposal to form part of the next global climate deal, which will come into full force after 2012.

Greenpeace estimates that between 20-27 billion Euros each year is needed to stop the destruction of the rainforests, save its animals and plants and to guarantee the rights of people living in the forests. The Forests for Climate plan would be able to raise funding of this magnitude.

So urgent is the need to stop deforestation and tackle climate change, Greenpeace is also demanding that the German government, hosts of the UN conference, pledge two billion Euros this year and for the next five years. This would kick start an emergency fund so that financial incentives for developing countries are available right away. Greenpeace wants other G8 members to follow suit.

Roman Czebiniak, Greenpeace political advisor for forests and climate said:

"The destruction of the world's rainforests is not only pushing many species to the brink of extinction but is also driving climate change. That's why we need Forests for Climate to be part of any future global climate deal.

Christoph Thies, Greenpeace forests campaigner added:

"We can't afford to wait until 2012 to put this plan into action. That's why we calling on richer countries to finance an emergency global fund right now.

"The German government has cast itself as a world leader on environmental issues, now they have the perfect platform to prove their true environmental credentials and kick start this fund to help stop rainforest destruction straight away".

Last year in Brazil, Greenpeace and other NGOs put in place a plan and funding to stop deforestation in Brazil by 2015.

Marcelo Marquesini, Greenpeace Amazon Campaigner said: "Brazil has lost more rainforest than any other country in the world - an area larger than France in the Amazon alone. This plan shows that it is possible to achieve zero deforestation in Brazil. Now we need to apply this on a global scale."

The world's rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate. It is estimated that every two seconds an area of rainforest the size of a football pitch is destroyed, releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Deforestation is responsible for one fifth of all emissions – more than the world's entire entire transport sector.

Notes:

1.)A copy of Forests for Climate (FFC) is available at
www.greenpeace.org/forestsforclimate

2.) FFC creates a global fund financed by industrialised countries creating financial incentives and capacities to effectively reduce and finally stop deforestation in all tropical forest countries.

Greenpeace's proposal aims be a central part of the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol (post 2012). It comprises a national approach that prevents the shifting of forest destruction from one country to another and allows countries with both high and low deforestation rates to participate. Importantly, direct trading of credits is prohibited to prevent developed countries stopping making deep cuts in fossil fuel emissions at home. Independent monitoring and verification is also required.

3.) The plans come off the back of a recent report published by the world renowned economist Sir Nicholas Stern who last month estimated that 15 billion dollars is needed every year if emissions from deforestation are to be halved in the next 10 years.

4.) The 9th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is being held in Bonn, Germany, from 19th to 30th May.

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