Speaking at a conference organised by The Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, John Mason of the Nature Conservation Research Centre said that the Durban climate conference has given the green light to private sector finance for REDD projects in Africa. Many NGOs may not share this interpretation.
The decision by President Yoweri Museveni to convert one quarter of Uganda’s Mabira Forest into a sugarcane plantation will bolster those environmentalists who argue that UN plans for protecting the world’s forests are fundamentally flawed.
Negotiations to save the world’s rainforests conducted within the UN climate change framework are failing and should be replaced with separate high level government dialogue, according to the group chief executive of Kingfisher plc, the UK’s largest home improvement retailer.
Last Wednesday’s UN launch of the International Year of Forests has been tempered by disagreement over global plans for their protection. The flames of criticism have been fanned by reports of irregularities in pilot projects to reduce deforestation in Guyana and Indonesia.
Pressure builds on Indonesia to sign up to a moratorium on deforestation. Meanwhile, both US and UK governments refuse pleas for a moratorium on deepwater drilling for oil. Is this a contradiction?
There are good grounds for pessimism on prospects for saving the rainforests. But the link with climate change creates new hope that two environmental calamities can be addressed together.