Friday, December 12, 2008

Hostel not Hostile

While negotiations continued at COP 14, TFG continued the diplomacy after hours. Upholding its commitment to leaving a small footprint in Poznan included forgoing the use of towels. TFG directors shared a room with rivals of REDD without incident. Run by our new friend Tsari, Hostel8 provided a good, clean and often entertaining place to stay.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

TFG Attends Forest Day 2 in Poznan

The Tropical Forest Group attended Forest Day 2 ,a COP 14 side event in Poznan today. The talk, US Government Perspectives on Climate Change and Forests was moderated by Brian Murray and Lydia Olander from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University.
William Hohenstein from the Department of Agriculture was asked how the US should be involved in the financing of REDD. He said that viewing developing countries as a block is unfortunate and that expectations should not be the same for all countries. He also expressed concern that developing countries that are not currently deforesting would be left out. Misty McGowan, legislative aid for US Senator Crapo acknowledged that 2008 was a busy year for the 110th Congress and that although s3036, a cap and trade bill did not pass, it provided the push for a serious debate on climate change legislation. She also said that although there is excitement about the incoming administration, there will still be big challenges given the current financial crisis. It is likely that the focus will be on renewable energy, although forestry offsets may be a way to keep mitigation costs down. She also said the US was likely to want to ensure domestic offsets before entering into the international debate. Anthony Brunello, Assistant Secretary for Climate and Energy at California Resources Agency facilitated an uplifting discussion based on California’s leadership in climate change policy, including their current work on developing cap and trade legislation. Although it will not be included in the legislation, forestry is seen as a key offset for California, whose target is to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The Governors Global Climate Summit held in California provided an action plan that included calling attention to REDD.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tropical Forest Group met with COP14 President, Maciej Nowicki, Environment Minister, Poland. In a meeting between the COP 14 President and the RINGO constituency, TFG's Director John-O Niles raised the issue of how REDD appears to have broad support by Parties, but is suffering from a tension between different UNFCCC bodies. John-O asked the President to see if there was a way for the SBSTA meetings (which cover science and technical information) and the AWG-LCA (which addresses the broad topic of a future agreement) to be reconciled. COP14 President Nowicki said he would look into the issue and agreed it was important to make sure the various UNFCCC bodies coordinate so a strong REDD decision can be reached.