Frustrated by UN inaction on reducing emissions from deforestation, some countries refuse to stand by and watch our tropical forests disappear. Leading the way is Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg who announced his commitment to tropical forests, creating a $560 million fund dedicated to forest conservation.

Norway, a small country with no tropical forests, realizes that reducing emissions from deforestation is critical to any efforts to halt climate change and protect tropical forests. Its own efforts to curb emissions must extend beyond its borders and address the source of approximately 20% of global emissions. Norway has a GDP of $46,000 per person; its sizable commitment to tropical forest conservation amounts to $12 per person.

In contrast, the US Senate is sitting on a bill expected to face a…

Al Gore one said that “the outer edge of the politically possible falls short of the inner edge of the necessary.” It is certainly an apt quote for the negotiations so far at Bali, where there seems to be a growing disconnect between the rhetoric of preventing dangerous anthropogenic climate change, usually defined as more than 2 degrees C relative to pre-industrial levels, and the discussions over what steps to actually take. With the Bali conference lowering expectations by the day and putting more substantive decisions off to 2009 and beyond, it raises the question of how viable the 2 degrees target really is, and if it is time to undergo a fundamental reassessment of what type of targets may be viable. This is not to suggest that we should…

Finally, parties have reached an agreement on the general administration of the adaptation fund. On an interim basis, the World Bank and GEF take on the role of trustee and secretariat respectively while a 16 member board will be charged with the overall management. Annex 1, Non Annex 1, Least Developed Countries, Small Island States and the UN bodies are all represented in this arrangement. Whether this calls for celebration or not is debatable. The World Bank estimates that between US$ 10-40 billion is needed per year to ‘climate proof’ development in low-income countries compared to the 2% levy on CDM transactions (source of the adaptation fund) which is expected to generate only US$ 100-500 million through to 2012. Hmmmm…?…

As the 2nd week of negotiations begins at UNFCCC in Bali, many questions remain surrounding efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD) in a post-2012 international climate regime. Negotiators have failed to agree on REDD issues, frustrating an essential component to save the world’s tropical forests and combat climate change.

There are three key issues that must be resolved as delegates work out the details of any REDD agreement:

  • Parties must define a timeframe for deciding on reference emissions scenarios. Without these deadlines, REDD may never move forward.
  • Negotiators should clarify whether REDD will function through a market mechanism or a fund for tropical forest nations. A market mechanism which relies on a cap-and-trade system is a

Every year, the International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) hosts its conference at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies on new and important ideas in natural resource management in the Tropics. In 2008 (February 28-March 1) we will host a conference focused on the potential impacts of bioenergy and avoided deforestation on tropical landscapes.

We will be accepting abstracts for the papers until December 31, 2007. Abstracts can be sent to YaleISTF@gmail.com. Please see attachment for the official Call for Papers (http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcdjj3ds_0hjrnsdg9). Feel free to distribute to colleagues and other organizations that you feel might be interested in contributing…

After handing out a towering stack of press releases on the Tropical Forest Group’s REDD update, I ran into Mr. Rezaul Kabir, the Under Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, at the conference compound map. After admitting that we were both rather lost, I asked him his thoughts and hopes for the conference so far. Mr. Rezaul Kabir’s thoughts:

- that working toward climate change solutions “is not only the wirk of the most affected nations (such as Bangladesh). Success depends on a willingness to share (the weight) of the damage suffered from climate change”

- “for the sake of humanity, we must work to together to take a global stance”

- he stated that the US and other developed nations must remember that they are not…

My experience at COP so far has been phenomenal. The heat, which at first seemed unbearable, is a reminder of how far away from New Haven we are. I have been attending several different kinds of events – including official “contact group” meetings as well as side events which include presentations by NGO’s, IGO’s, and the private sector on both case studies on projects and new approaches to addressing climate change, especially post 2012.

The issues that I am more interested in are climate change and development as well as reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). A couple days ago, I attended forest day as well, which was put on by the CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research). There is a lot of talk…

Yesterday evening Yale students met with members of the Indonesian Delegation to discuss their perspective on climate change governance and hear first hand of the impacts of climate change on their country.

Our discussion opened with the delegates telling a somber tale of the affects of El Nino, an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is likely increasing in intensity and frequency due to global warming. The 1997 El Nino caused severe forest fires in Indonesia. El Ninos, in general, have significant consequences for two groups of Indonesians: farmers and fishermen. Farmers, especially those in Java, face water scarcity in the dry season and flooding in the wet season. Recently, these agricultural areas have been hit with cyclones, a phenomenon new to Indonesia. El Nino also increases the height of ocean waves…