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.