“Ma è un altro passo in avanti”

AAA-Corriere Sera

Fondamentale il ruolo delle donne nel vertice sudafricano

«Quella di Durban è stata la più lunga COP di sempre», ha ricordato il portavoce dell’Unfccc John Hay alle 5.30 di domenica mattina, dopo 14 giorni di lavoro, con le ultime 20 ore senza interruzione. Anche questa volta, come a Cancun, è stata una COP delle donne, con il ruolo fondamentale della presidente Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, della segretaria esecutiva dell’Unfccc Christiana Figueres e della commissaria Ue del Clima, Connie Hedegaard.

Ben 36 le decisioni formali. Comprenderne tutte le conseguenze richiederà un’analisi approfondita per i singoli temi in discussione, ma è già possibile evidenziare i principali risultati. Il tavolo negoziale sugli impegni di riduzione delle emissioni a lungo termine, che include tutti i Paesi, è stato prolungato di un anno e dovrà dare risposte sugli impegni vincolanti di riduzione delle emissioni. Nello stesso ambito bisognerà definire il termine in cui raggiungere il picco globale delle emissioni, dopo il quale il pianeta intero dovrà iniziare a ridurre la quantità di gas serra emesse annualmente in atmosfera.

Fondamentale anche la decisione di rendere operativo il Green Climate Fund e il meccanismo per il trasferimento delle tecnologie entro il 2012. Importanti infine delle decisioni tecniche sulle linee guida per i Piani nazionali di adattamento, sul Fondo per i Paesi meno sviluppati, il programma di lavoro sulle perdite e i danni ambientali attribuibili ai cambiamenti climatici nei paesi più vulnerabili e le procedure per i progetti di cattura e stoccaggio di carbonio. Non è stato quindi un fallimento, ma un importante passo in avanti nella lenta azione globale contro i cambiamenti climatici.


EU praised for its effort to save Kyoto

Planetnext“I have to congratulate the EU for the leadership shown here.” It is rare to hear such praise during speeches in the High Level segment of a COP. But the words uttered yesterday by Mohamed Aslam, the Maldives’ Minister of Housing and Environment, are something more than a simple recognition of the effort made by the EU for a II commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP). For all developing countries it is fundamental to save the only legally binding climate instrument, the KP, in order to preserve the hope for a further international deal against climate change. But for Small Island States the EU represents the only real life-vest for their future, considering that water levels in the oceans are already increasing by circa 1 cm every 3 years.

For several years the EU has been showing a strong commitment in the fight against climate change, but now in Durban it has the opportunity to strongly lead the process. And it appears unwilling to accept a secondary role, as had happened in Copenhagen where the main decisions were thrashed out mostly by the US and the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China).
As Connie Hedegard, the EU Commissioner for climate change, underlined in last Monday’s press conference, the EU has been working for the past 14 years within the framework of the KP. “All our legislation is based on the KP principle and you cannot find another country in the world where this happens.” There is thus no desire to go backwards, as many measures are in place and fully operational. The EU CO2 market connected with the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) will probably continue to be implemented in the future regardless of what the Durban Conference will decide for the KP, because it is something already fully integrated in the European market.
Theoretically the EU could adhere to the II commitment of KP without any further political and technical measures, simply by introducing the -20% target by 2020, which has been enshrined in European legislation since 2008. This strengthens significantly the EU position in the negotiations. For this reason a new “Durban Road Map” appears more likely every day and this time the new three-year negotiation process needs to have all major emitters onboard, including the USA and China.
It is possible that China’s new willingness to discuss changes in its approach is the result of internal shifts within the G77 + China group, faced with the need to address new scenarios for the future. Already in 2007, during the Barcelona climate talks, the African countries started to speak with a single voice in order to better defend the interests of a continent strongly affected by climate change and with an economy lightyears behind that of China. Later in Copenhagen and Cancun it was the turn of the Less Developed Countries to ask for more financial assistance than the rest of the emerging economies. Now in Durban the insistent request for change comes from the small oceanic islands.
Tuvalu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour, Apisai Ielemia, remarked during his High Level speech that his islands are suffering not only for the rising sea levels, but also by the worst drought in memory. “We have to act now. Not in 2015 and definitely not in 2020. We have no time to wait!” But Ielemia spent a good part of his three minutes of time, normally dedicated to sound the alarm for the climate change affecting his islands, to ask for the participation of Taiwan in the UNFCCC.
This has to be interpreted as a clear message to China to begin acting as a major contributor to the reduction of the global CO2 emissions. Minister Mohamed Aslam was more blunt: “Not all developing countries are in the same basket. We are different in terms of emissions and we need to differentiate our commitments.
A possible signal of inside movement in the BASIC group comes from Tuesday’s press conference, where the Head of the Chinese Delegation, Minister Xie Zhenhua, decided to open his remarks by denying rumours of internal division within the BASIC countries.
Once more, Durban confirms that the real problem is, as always, that climate change progresses at a much faster pace than political decisions.
For Mohamed Aslam, “to postpone action until after 2020 is not acceptable for us” and probably for this reason he decided to thank the EU more than the G77 + China.

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Decisions needed as leaders arrive in Durban for COP’s second week


The Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 enters its the last week of negotiations with the High Level session starting tomorrow afternoon and might be  useful to identify which are the most important topics under discussion.


Some positive results are expected  regarding technology transfer, a crucial issue in facilitating a more sustainable development path for developing countries.


Copenhagen and Cancun had outlined a financing mechanism, the Green Climate Fund, capable of supporting adaptation and mitigation to help in particular the less developed countries. It foresaw a three-year period (2010-2012) of fast tracking  $10 billion per year, to be increased up to $100 billion by 2020.


Christiana Figueres,  the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underlined last Friday during a press conference that  there has so far been no decision on how that figure will be reached. She also pointed out that already last year the High Level financing panel set up by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had highlighted the need for “a combination of traditional and innovative sources of finances.”


Financing is needed as well to support the REDD mechanism (Reduction Emission from Deforestation and Degradation). In this field some problems have been raised by Brazil, which does not appear willing to accept a regime of international reporting of how safeguards in REDD will be addressed and respected.


But mitigation remains the main point for which a political solution must be found by the 12 Chiefs of State and 130 Ministers starting to arrive in Durban already this afternoon..


It is no longer possible to postpone a decision about the future of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) because its first commitment period expires at the end of 2012. Linked with the destiny of the KP is the decision on how to forge a new broader international pact, to include the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of all major emitters actually under discussion in the Long Cooperative Action (LCA).


The most concrete proposal submitted up to  now is the one prepared by the EU. With the public refusal on the part of Japan, Russia and Canada to be part of the II commitment period, the EU becomes the main mover in favour of the KP survival.


This allows the EU to lay down its own conditions to save the only existing, legally binding accord, i.e., the KP, still crucial for all developing countries. Figueres is aware that the EU will accept to support the KP’s renewal “only under certain conditions,” spelled out last Friday by Thomasz Chrusczow, representing the Polish EU Presidency: “it is necessary that the new pact include 100% of the global emissions.”


He asked for a kind of “Durban Road map,” a three-year negotiating process in order to finalize a full and global agreement by 2015 which should then become operative before 2020. Chrusczow’s request to base this new process on the same principles as the Bali Road map and the Cancun agreement indirectly confirms the failure of the COP 15 in Copenhagen and the entirely unsuccessful Rasmussen COP 15 Presidency. The evidence is that it is now necessary to restart the process for a new legally binding agreement.


But the international situation has radically changed from that prevailing at the time of the 2007 Bali conference and even more with respect to 1992, when the UNFCCC was signed. For Artur Runge Metzer, of the EU Commission, it is therefore no longer possible to base a future agreement only on historical responsibility. “We are aware of our historical responsibility, but this is not enough. If we shut down the EU tomorrow or next Saturday as result of the COP 17, we don’t save the climate. Others have to come on board”.


The message is clearly directed at the USA, increasingly absent from the negotiation process, as shown by the vague answer of the Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change,


Jonathan Pershing, during last week’s press conference and by the US attempt to postpone the new negotiation process until after 2020. The indirect answer comes from Keya Chatterjee, representative of WWF US. She urged her national delegation to keep  in mind this year’s  climatic events in the U.S., where for the first time 47 States had to declare a state of emergency because of  weather-related disasters.


But the EU message is meant also for the emerging economies, considering their increasing contribution to total GHG emissions. Chrusczow did however specify that it is necessary to differentiate between various national conditions because China, the main global emitter, has a value per habitant of 6 tons of CO2, while India’s is well below 2.


Srinivas Krishnaswamy, of the NGO CAN South Asia, is asking for a more leading role of the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China). They are already part of the G77+China group, but Krishnaswamy notes that they are increasingly behaving as an official negotiating group. This could be interpreted as a natural evolution of the developing countries’ block characterized by growing differences among them in terms of interest in the oil economy, level of development and direct hardship due to climate change-related consequences. To the group belong countries as different as Saudi Arabia, China, Tuvalu and Bangladesh.


There is finally another important point that may be on the discussion table in the days to come. It is the proposal presented by Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Mexico at the beginning of last week and already introduced in a less strong way by PNG at the Copenhagen conference. The proposal is to move the current consensus-based decision-making process towards a qualified majority approach. According to informal rumors, there is growing sympathy for this proposal, despite the opposition of some important parties. If nothing else this would force clarification of the meaning of “consensus,” often left to the interpretation of the COP Presidency, and speed up the decision process, considering that climate change will not wait for the conclusion of the long political debate.

EU showing leadership in Durban


“The time to act is now!” For Artur Runge Metzer, the EU Commission representative, postponing a decision in Durban only means deferring inevitable costs and climate-related consequences, and probably missing the chance to maintain the growth of the global temperature below the important 2°C mark.

Runge Metzer indicated yesterday, during the daily press conference, that the EU is willing to take on the leadership in the current negotiation process and outlined which points need to be solved in order to achieve a positive outcome at the Conference of the Parties (COP) 17.

The most critical issue is the one related to mitigation, actually on the table in the double track of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA).

Specifying that “it is still under discussion if the second commitment period of the KP will be of 5 or 8 years,” Runge Metzer confirmed that the EU is in favor of a second commitment period. This is essential both to maintain the internal carbon market and to build a legally binding bridge in direction of a future global agreement by 2015. What he asked other developed countries is to show more ambition in terms of their respective national reduction targets in order to close the large existing gap between the pledges declared in Copenhagen and Cancun and the requirements of the scientific community.

Secondly, said Runge Metzer, it is necessary to agree on the global peak of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to be achieved before 2020, with the consequent commitment by all countries to reduce the overall quantity of emissions after that date.

Thirdly, there is the need to build up a renewed market mechanism, capable of capturing the big emissions reduction potential of the developing countries.

Finally, it is necessary to address the aircraft and marine emissions and to launch a new program for the agricultural sector.

The recent United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report confirms the possibility of meeting the existing cap with the reduction targets requested by scientist before 2020 using existing technology, working with energy efficiency, renewable energy and at the sectorial level.


That is what is possible. Now politicians have to show the will to do it.

The role of forest in the international negotiation process of UNFCCC

AAA-ENEAForests are crucial for climate change. The deforestation process is one of the main greenhouse gases emission sources in developing countries and it is also greatly important at the global level. New mechanisms to fight this process are under development and implementation at the national and international level. At the same time, the UNFCCC negotiation process seems to go through one of the main crises ever seen before. The real risk is that the Kyoto Protocol and maybe the entire UNFCCC process may collapse. In this context, forests may find a new role to move from one of the main causes of climate change to one of the most important potential solutions. In the view of the Rainforest Coalition, REDD+ could be the right key for this change


The forest sector is one of the main causes of climate change and also one of the main driving forces towards the solution path.

Through photosynthesis the flora removes the carbon present in the atmosphere as CO2 and fixes it as organic carbon in its vegetal tissues. With crops this process takes a year cycle, consequently carbon may still be available as CO2 for the next cycle, after biomass is burned or used as energy in biological systems. A tree lives for several years and this implies that the atmospheric CO2 is fixed for a longer period, introducing the important aspect of carbon storage in the forest biomass.

The quantity of stored carbon is very important in the carbon cycle’s dynamics. The European forests are per se able to remove around 870 million t of CO2 annually, a quantity approximately correspondent to 10% of the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions in 2008[6].

With deforestation this capacity is lost and the result is an indirect increase of CO2 in the atmosphere: for this reason deforestation could be formally considered as a source of CO2.


Not only may the forest cause a reduction in the net capacity to fix CO2, but also the whole change in land use (i.e., from forest to graze or from graze to agriculture) These situations are considered as LULUCF (Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestation) in the UNFCCC context, the United Nations negotiation process on climate change. At the global level the emission generated by LULUCF is almost 20%[1] of the global GHG emissions.

Therefore, it should not surprise to know that LULUCF played and is still playing a key role for an international climate treaty, but probably it is not as much known that it was very important for the first Kyoto Protocol process too.

The opposition of the USA to the Kyoto Protocol started before the negative vote of the Senate that blocked the ratification of the document. During the process of development of the Protocol, the USA negotiators clearly demonstrated their disagreement about the way it was decided to account the biomass carbon stock in developed countries, the so called Activity Based approach. The USA preferred the Land Based approach, asking all developed countries to consider their entire national area, in order to have a reliable description of the reality.

The Activity Based approach allows developed countries to decide which area to initially take into consideration during the definition of the baseline for LULUCF. The area under activities shall be monitored during the years in order to track any increase or decrease in stored amount of CO2. On the one side, this approach could be helpful in a first phase of implementation due to the lack of data that can make hard a complete account of all emissions and removals from the whole territory of the country.

On the other side, the risk is that each country applies a sort of selection on the areas where they may obtain benefits. As a consequence, when a country accounts areas where the forest has grown but it doesn’t consider where the situation has worsen it will describe a better situation than it actually is. The creation of a benefit in the total GHG amount of a country that does not correspond to the real situation is called “hot air”.

The decision to apply the Land Based or the Activity Based approach was very crucial during the development of the Kyoto Protocol but Kevin Conrad, the chief negotiator for the Papua New Guinea delegation in UNFCCC, believes this problem is not yet solved in the actual critical phase of the negotiation for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In an interview of June 2010 he declares: “LULUCF is the biggest escape clause in the entire UNFCCC. It is a very serious issue. You can call it fraud or you can call it whatever you want, but the fact is that the rich countries are allowed to pick the area of forest they want to account and ignore the area of the forest where they are cutting trees. This has such significant impacts that Russia has said: “If you make me honest on the forest we have to cut our target from 30% reduction to 15%”, so they have to make a 50% change. We say they are cheating in the forest area. We, as developing countries, have to pledge to be far more honest than the rich countries. We agreed already on the international accounting, whereas the rich countries have not”[16].


In developing countries the context is different because in their case the risk is not to hide the real situation in order to have a benefit in the reduction target as it is for developed countries. Here the problem is normally the high deforestation rate and the need to establish an economic tool able to stop or reverse the deforestation process. The financial support from developed countries is fundamental because it is not enough to spread out the idea that forests have an international value for climate change if this idea is not economically supported in order to help populations living in those areas in view of poverty eradication.

It is important to introduce a new and more effective system to financially support developing countries to preserve their forest.

In the past, often the financial support was directed to reforest areas previously interested by deforestation activities. As usual, working on the outcomes of a problem is not so effective as acting on its cause and this approach was not really able to reduce the international deforestation dynamics.

Therefore, a new approach was suggested in Bali during COP 13, the annual Conference of Parties in the UNFCCC. During this meeting, in 2007, it was decided to reduce the deforestation activities through a proactive approach. The basic idea is that forests have a worldwide value and that developed countries shall help developing countries to avoid any deforestation activity that may reduce the capacity of our “planet’s lungs”.

This mechanism is called REDD+ (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)[5] and will be applied in developing countries. In Bali COP 13, Norway was very active and gave a big contribution to mould the REDD. In order to better show their intention and push the international context towards the creation of REDD+, the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg launched the NICFI, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative[8], during the UNFCCC Conference. Through this initiative, Norway offered 500 million dollars per year in bilateral agreements with some developing countries which have a very important coverage of forests like Mexico, Brazil, Guyana, Tanzania and Indonesia, through a multilateral cooperation with the UN-REDD Programme, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF), Forest Investment Programme (FIP), Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), as well as with scientific institutions and NGOs, such as ITTO REDDES and the Civil Society Support Fund[9].

This project turns out to be crucial in order to actively fight deforestation activities in developing countries and move the international negotiation context, although it doesn’t seem to be so effective at the moment.

This is also the thought of Carlos Ritti, Responsible for WWF Brazil of the Climate Change and Energy Programme: “Until now the international cooperation is still moving slowly because the system is still very bureaucratic and the Brazilian banks lost time to give their approval to the projects”[18].


In June 2011, Norway hosted two important meetings in Oslo that confirmed the strong commitment of the Scandinavian country on the forest sector[17]. The first meeting was the European Ministerial Conference on Forests that achieved a very important result. In fact, during this meeting it was agreed to launch a negotiation process for the creation of a legally binding accord level and to adopt European target for 2020 in this sector[5]. The second one was an international meeting to update on the REDD+[10] progress.

Nevertheless, all these initiatives lose an important part of their effectiveness if they are not part of a larger international agreement and the only potential context for them at the moment is the UNFCCC. But times are not so healthy for the Convention and in the last few years it seems to have been rather a sick patient on the deathbed. In this situation the forest may play a very interesting role to assure a future to the Kyoto Protocol (KP)[7]. To better describe this potentiality it is, therefore, necessary to draw an overview of the negotiation process during the last five years.

The definition of the new reduction targets for developed countries in the second commitment period of the KP is a crucial item and it has been planned to start in 2006[11]. But during the COP 12 in Nairobi it was not possible to start any discussion on this matter, because positions of the parties were too distant. The only significant decision during COP 12 was to put the oxygen mask to the sick patient, postponing any decision on the KP at the next COP. In 2007, at the Conference in Bali, the situation started in the same way than in Nairobi, but at the end a decision arrived: to create a two-year period of specific negotiation, the Bali Road map. The two-year track should permit the definition of new reduction targets for developed countries, creating, at the same time, a new context, called LCA, where to define commitments also for developed countries that didn’t ratify the KP (USA) and some adequate actions for the main developing countries. Another positive output was, indeed, launching the idea of financing the fight against deforestation through the REDD and the NICFI of Norway.

In Autumn 2008 G.W. Bush, probably the main opponent to a new legally binding agreement, lost the elections, but the new President Barack Obama was not yet in charge in December during the COP14. The USA went to Poznan with a delegation that followed the old USA Presidency’s instructions and the real consequence was that a progress was not possible and another year was lost.

Later on, in 2009, the COP 15 took place in Copenhagen with very high expectations, if considering that it was the conclusion of the Bali Road Map[12]. The entire world was waiting for a new international agreement but the Conference was able to produce only an enormous failure[13]. The only positive thing was the attention that all the media and citizens paid to climate change and the attendance at the COP of almost the totality of Prime Ministers and Chiefs of State of the world. At same time, this was part of the reason why the Conference failed. In fact, all expectations were addressed to the actions of Prime Ministers but some of them started a parallel negotiation process and discussed the solution in very small groups, without taking into consideration all the work done in the past by the official delegations.

At the end, the mountain roared and brought forth a mouse in the Copenhagen Accord[14], somehow more an obstacle rather than an improvement for the negotiation work in the following years.

During 2010 not only the KP, but the entire process of UNFCCC could have, in some way, collapsed because it seemed unable to produce any effective results[15].

Probably this situation helped reach a partial agreement[2] in Cancun, during the COP 16, where a positive output arrived for technology transfer and financing, with some progress for the REDD+ too, but still nothing for the future of the KP.

The next step is the COP 17 in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011, and it should be the final stop for the KP. The first commitment period expires in 2012 and if a decision for the second commitment period for the KP doesn’t come, our patient will not survive. The actual perspective seems not to be so positive for the strong opposition of Canada, Russia and Japan. What seems possible is that some Parties, probably the EU and maybe Australia, can offer some extra time to the KP. A new oxygen mask of two or three years to our patient, expecting some more positive changes in the USA, where now the Senate doesn’t show any intention to come to any kind of legally binding agreement, or the result of the V IPCC Assessment Report, where it is highly probable to find a strongest message of urgency.


The “extra time” option is not so attractive for developing countries interested in having a full agreement for the second commitment period of the KP, the only internationally legally binding document on climate change, and they are trying to find some other solutions to revitalize the KP.

In such context, space was given to the proposal of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations[3], a worldwide group of countries inside the UNFCC particularly interested in forests.

Federica Bietta, Deputy Director of the Coalition, thinks that their proposal may be the bridge between who is in and who is out of the KP. “In Mexico started Phase 1 of countries’ preparation for REDD+, now we are in the implementation phase, but it is with Phase 3 of full application that forest may play a strategic role for the future of KP. It is now important to move forward to the idea to have formal commitments only from developed countries, but there is no doubt that developing countries should be helped with financial support. Our idea is to introduce in the second period of KP the commitment to fight deforestation adopted at national level. In this way it is possible to obtain the double result to have more transparency in the developing countries commitment and more ambitious emission targets from the rich countries.

Actually we have several positive feedbacks and we are looking with optimism to the next COP in South Africa”[19].

Ms. Bietta does not meet the requests of the most problematic countries in the direction of this proposal, but it is possible to imagine that the emerging economies, as China, could in some way be worried that a big flow of money may move from the existing projects like CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) to the forest sector.


Whilst negotiations on this issue is frenetic and may open a new door for a successful future to the KP, some troubles are involving other emerging economies, like Brazil.

A new proposal of law, the Forest Code, has passed by the Low Chamber and it is now stopped before being voted by the Senate. A big movement of associations, including the 10 previous Environmental Ministers, is fighting in order to obtain the withdrawal or a strong modification of the law, because otherwise there is the serious risk that deforestation, after the minimum level achieved in 2010[4], starts growing again.

And what is on the table is something really critical to the planet. “The destruction of the Amazon forest could cause a strong consequence for the fight on climate change”, says Carlos Ritti, “with the risk to nullify the strongest commitment of developed countries”[18].

The option for President Dilma Roussef to use the veto power for this law is supported from 79% of the Brazilians, but everyone hopes that in the end she won’t have to use it, the law having been changed in advance.

At the end of 2011, it seems that forests are playing a crucial role in tackling climate change as they have never done before. The last months of the International Year of Forests will show if this will happen in a positive way, giving forests the role they deserve.

“Salvare gli alberi per salvare anche il Protocollo di Kyoto”

AAA-UnitaA colloquio con Federica Bietta

La lotta per la difesa delle zone verdi tramite fondi ai Paesi che proteggono le foreste può mettere d’accordo Paesi emergenti e non.

La mancata adesione al Protocollo di Kyoto degli Usa è anche legata a come era stato deciso di quantifica-re, nel 1997, le emissioni di anidride carbonica del settore forestale dei paesi sviluppati. Da allora si è aperta una crisi negoziale attorno al documento che non sembra in grado di trovare soluzione. Si è ormai creato un enorme divario tra chi vede nel Protocollo di Kyoto la base irrinunciabile di ogni possibile accordo futuro sul clima e chi lo ritiene solo un documento superato, da far morire a fine del 2012. I paesi in via di sviluppo non sono disposti a spazzare via come se niente fosse l’unico strumento vincolante che, in ormai vent’anni di negoziato, si è riusciti a produrre per la riduzione delle emissioni dei paesi ricchi. Per contro vi è chi, come Usa, Canada e Russia, non ritiene accettabile l’esistenza di un documento che non contenga nessun vincolo per le economie emergenti, tra cui la Cina ormai saldamente al primo posto nella classifica delle emissioni annuali di gas serra. Sta però prendendo forma una proposta che ha l’ambizione di superare questa impasse e di salvare il Protocollo di Kyoto, proprio agendo sul settore forestale inizialmente tra le cause maggiori della sua falsa partenza. Si tratta del programma chiamato Redd+, che sta per riduzione delle emissioni da deforestazione e degrado forestale, in pratica si tratta di incentivi a tutela delle biodiversità con un’ottica interdipendente. «Può rappresentare il ponte di collega-mento tra chi è nel Protocollo di Kyoto e chi non vi partecipa» è la convinzione di Federica Bietta, vice direttore della Coalition for Rainforest Nations e negoziatrice esperta di cambiamento climatico di uno degli stati più esposti: Papua Nuova Guinea.


Si tratta del meccanismo di lotta alla deforestazione, attuato attraverso il finanziamento dei Paesi che proteggono le proprie foreste. Su questo strumento si è lavorato da diversi anni all’interno dell’Unfccc, il tavolo negoziale delle Nazioni Unite per il clima, e finalmente lo scorso dicembre a Cancun è stato lanciato ufficialmente. «In Messico è stata avviata la Fase 1 di preparazione dei paesi e ora siamo nella seconda di implementazione a scala sempre maggiore – continua Bietta – ma è con la Fase 3 di piena applicazione del Redd+ che le foreste potrebbero giocare un ruolo strategico per il futuro del Protocollo di Kyoto». Per i Paesi che possiedono grandi foreste l’esigenza è chiara.

«Un capo di stato intenzionato a bloccare il loro taglio deve avere la certezza di ricevere aiuti per un lungo periodo, almeno 60 anni. È evidente che pretendere impegni formali dai soli paesi sviluppati è ormai una logica da superare, ma deve essere chiaro che i Paesi in via di sviluppo devono essere aiutati attraverso il supporto finanziario». Le risorse economiche per queste attività iniziano ad essere disponi-bili, sia attraverso programmi multilaterali, come Fcfp e Unredd, e sia di tipo bilaterale, come quelli realizzati con diversi Paesi dalla Norvegia. Bisogna però far ricadere il tutto in un sistema solido di garanzie. «Nasce così l’idea della Coalition di introdurre gli impegni di lotta alla deforestazione, adottati a livello nazionale dai diversi paesi in via di sviluppo, all’interno della seconda fase del Protocollo di Kyoto», dice Bietta che vede così possibile avere «più trasparenza negli impegni dei Paesi che possiedono delle foreste in cam- bio di obiettivi più ambiziosi dei i paesi ricchi nel riduzione le proprie emissioni».

La proposta della Coalition, lanciata qualche mese fa, è oggetto di una fitta rete di incontri, per cercare di consolidare attorno ad essa un consenso nell’incontro di Panama di inizio ottobre e arrivare quindi all’approvazione nella Cop di Durban a dicembre. «Al momento i feed-back che abbiamo sono assolutamente positivi e guardiamo con fiducia all’incontro del Sudafrica». Nessun commento ovviamente su quali potrebbero essere i Paesi più difficili da convincere o sui rischi di compravendita dei suoli. Ma riusci- re a differenziare le esigenze nei Paesi in via di sviluppo da quelli dell’economie emergenti potrebbe forse essere l’elemento necessario per riuscire a Durban a fondere assieme le esigenze del Redd+ e del Protocollo di Kyoto.

E’ l’anno mondiale delle foreste ma non c’è accordo per salvarle


Ospitano 1 miliardo e mezzo di abitanti della Terra, tra i più poveri. Un polmone di biodiversità che potrebbe ridurre riscaldamento climatico e gas serra. La deforestazione non si arresta.

Il 2011 è stato indetto dalle Nazioni Unite come l’anno internazionale delle foreste. La ricorrenza è l’occasione per ricordare il ruolo centrale che questi ecosistemi hanno per il cambiamento climatico, visto che la loro gestione può incidere sia sulle cause che sugli effetti del problema. Da una parte, infatti, il mancato assorbimento di CO2 delle foreste abbattute contribuisce per circa il 20% dell’effetto serra complessivo di origine umana ed è pertanto evidente come in questo settore vi siano ampi margini per agire sulla riduzione complessiva delle emissioni. Allo stesso tempo queste grandi aree verdi hanno una funzione essenziale per ridurre gli impatti sul territorio generati dal riscaldamento globale del pianeta oltre che un immenso valore sociale ed economico per le generazioni attuali e future.

Non si sta tratta solo delle foreste tropicali, perché anche nelle zone continentali vi sono grandi aree destinate a questo utilizzo. Nella sola Europa, includendo anche la Russia, è presente il 25% della copertura mondiale di foreste, pari a circa un miliardo di ettari. Per cercare di sviluppare una strategia comune sulla gestione di questi territori a metà giugno a Oslo si è tenuta una Conferenza ministeriale sulle foreste a cui hanno partecipato alti rappresentanti di 46 paesi. Il principe ereditario Haakon di Norvegia riba- dendo l’importanza dell’incontro, ricordava che «le foreste forniscono significativi benefici sociali, ambientali ed economici. Sono importanti per la biodiversità, il bilancio idrico, il ciclo del carbonio e il suo assorbimento dall’atmosfera. La Banca Mondiale indica che 1,6 miliardi degli abitanti più poveri del pianeta vivono delle e nelle foreste».

Secondo il rapporto «Stato delle foreste del 2011», presentato in oc- casione dell’evento di Oslo, le foreste europee ricoprono un ruolo es- senziale per il cambiamento climatico, visto che rimuovono annual- mente dall’atmosfera circa 870 milioni di tonnellate di CO2, valore che corrisponde, ad esempio, al 10% delle emissioni europee di gas serra nel 2008.

La conclusione della conferenza è stata la storica decisione di lan- ciare un negoziato per la creazione in Europa di un accordo legalmente vincolante sulle foreste e l’adozione di target per il 2020. A una sola settimana di distanza dall’incontro ministeriale, la Norvegia ha ospitato anche un meeting internazionale sul «Redd», strumento di protezione delle foreste che da diversi anni è al centro del negoziato internazionale sul clima dell’Unfccc, l’ambito delle Nazioni Unite dedicato al cambiamento climatico.

È un meccanismo di aiuto finanziario dei paesi ricchi a favore di quelli in via di sviluppo, con cui si vuole superare la logica del supporto alla riforestazione per passare a quella di sostegno di chi impedisce la deforestazione. Attraverso il Redd si apre così una sorta di interessante cambio di prospettiva, in quanto è come se il singolo paese non sia più solo il semplice proprietario delle foreste presenti sul suo territorio, ma diventi il custode di un pezzo di patrimonio dell’intera umanità. Il finanzia- mento che riceverà attraverso il Redd assume i contorni del ricono- scimento internazionale proprio per la sua attività di protezione di un bene essenziale, ad esempio, per la lotta globale al cambiamento climatico. Questo strumento di compensazione lanciato lo scorso dicembre a Cancun, non è però ancora stato reso operativo. Per avere ulteriori progressi bisognerà ora attendere la prossima Conferenza Unfccc in programma a Durban a fine novembre.