Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"The Eliasch report": Rich to pay to stop deforestation?

This is an old story with a new spin.

This is a post from 25th September this year:

Rich to pay the poor to preserve forests?

Now we get a new UK based report that effectively says the same thing. The economics of this idea, where rich countries pay poor countries not to chop down tries is logically consistent. The problem comes with enforcement and ensuring that the money does not fall into the wrong hands. When the country of Congo is likely to be one of the largest recipients of the money you can appreciate why this scheme is close to being dead in the water.

The only new element to this report is the suggestion that carbon markets are the source of the cash. This is all well and good but one also has to wonder whether this act of "transferring cash" in this way will make the citizens and indeed governments of developed countries less likely to make an effort domestically (insulation, recycling etc.) as their guilt is already being mitigated by the existence of these carbon trading transfers.

Rich Countries Must Pay for Rainforests - UK Report [Planet Ark]

Rich countries should pay tropical nations billions of dollars a year to save their forests, using donor money and global carbon markets to foot the bill, said a UK-commissioned report on Tuesday.

In the longer-term, by 2030, developing countries should also start paying to help create "carbon neutral" global forests through binding targets to slow deforestation and plant trees.


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The report, "Climate Change: Financing Global Forests", firmly pinned hopes on the notion of carbon trading, where rich countries pay poor ones to cut carbon emissions, so that they can carry on polluting as normal.

"Deforestation will continue as long as cutting down and burning trees is more economic than preserving them," said Johan Eliasch, author of the report and Prime Minister Gordon Brown's special representative on deforestation.


There is no doubting the ambition of the report and the costings are useful.

Some critics said that the report's cost estimate of US$33 billion a year to halve deforestation by 2030 was too small.

Offsets would have to compensate farmers for not planting valuable crops such as palm oil.

That implied high prices, which made one expert doubt the report's claim that forestry offsets could halve costs for rich nations to fight climate change.


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The Eliasch report skirted the problem of corruption and illegal logging, said Simon Counsell, executive director at the green group the Rainforest Foundation.

The report recommended that rich country donors spend US$4 billion over five years for research, to fund local bodies, and resolve local land disputes.

"It really fails to appreciate just how serious and long-term these problems of corruption and governance actually are," said Counsell, adding they would take 10 years to address.

"In DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) there's fewer than 10 people in the forestry department managing an area of forest twice the size of France. That's the reality on the ground."


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1 comment:

high blood pressure prevention said...

well this is really weird. when few years back they were paying for deforestation