From: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter, via WWF
Published December 5, 2012 06:31 AM

Doha Climate talks: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Developing and developed countries reached a stalemate over how to verify carbon emissions from forests in Saturday's talks on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation at the annual U.N. climate conference in Doha, Qatar.

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Represented by Brazil and Norway, respectively, poor and wealthy nations were unable to agree on how high to set the standard to verify emissions reductions at the 37th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the group that dispenses scientific advice to the delegates to the conference.

Developing countries argued for handling the verification process domestically, while the donor countries favored independent verification from an international group. The talks are among several in Doha to advance the creation of a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) framework, a system that pays landowners to keep trees standing in countries that are prone to deforestation.

In essence, it reflects the proverbial chicken-and-egg dilemma: A wealthy donor country like Norway is reluctant to fund projects under the REDD+ mechanism if the verified carbon emissions are not completed to high standards. And poor, forested countries like many in the Group of 77 -- a U.N. coalition of less-developed countries -- are unwilling to take steps to verify to a high standard if they don't have any funding from donors or markets.

"We can't discuss money until we agree on verification; we can't discuss verification if there's no money on table," said Bruce Cabarle, leader of the forest and climate initiative for the World Wildlife Fund.

Clearing forests to make way for agriculture and other uses is responsible for about 20 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuel-rich Norway has committed $1 billion to curb deforestation in the Amazon and $1 billion for Indonesia. Although improvements have been seen in the Amazon -- Brazil recently announced a 27 percent drop in the rate of deforestation in just one year -- advancement in Indonesia has been rocky.

Clear cutting in Ecuador photo via Shutterstock.

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