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Climate Change Policy Position

Climate Change Policy Position

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Published by: api-25924309 on Sep 29, 2009
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10/20/2012

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climate change
policy position
 
Climate change poses a profound threat to the naturalecosystems, biodiversity and ecological processes whichsustain humanity and all life on earth.
Changes in weatherpatterns, ocean temperatures, sea level and numerous otherfactors caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in theatmosphere are threatening many species and ecosystems andaffecting the lives of millions of people, particularly the poor incoastal and other vulnerable areas.
9/09
 
deforestation
 
the world must recognize the importantrole of forests + ecosystems inpreventing climate change
We cannot prevent dangerous levels of climate change ifwe don’t reduce emissions from deforestation, no matterwhat other mitigation measures are taken in othersectors. Deforestation is responsible for about 20percent of the world’s annual carbon emissions
1
. Toeffectively address climate change, all nations must alsocommit to the preservation of forests and other naturalecosystems that regulate climate and store carbon.Forests provide crucial global services by absorbingatmospheric CO
2
and storing it in plant biomass. Thismeans that reducing the amount of forest cover reducesthe planet’s ability to absorb CO
2
emissions. Also, whenforests are cut and burned they release stored carbon inlarge quantities, exacerbating climate change.
CI’sposition is that any global initiative to combat climatechange must recognize the fundamental role ofecosystems—particularly forests—in regulating theclimate. Without this, we are ignoring not only themost ready and urgent solutions, but the very basis oflife on Earth.
Protecting forests is an essential element of the battleagainst climate change, but it is not—and must never beseen as—a substitute for cutting emissions from othersources of greenhouse gases. In order to keep globalmean temperature increase as far below 2ºC as possible,we will need to reduce global GHG emissions by at least85 percent below 2000 levels by 2050
2
.Reducing emissions to the necessary levels will requireaggressive measures in ALL sectors. Reducing energy
use, increasing energy efciency and adopting new
technologies can help us achieve our climate goals.Forest conservation offers the opportunity to bridge thetransition to a low-carbon global economy by providingreductions at a scale and cost-point that are feasible whilesafeguarding the critical social, economic and biodiversity
benets that forests provide.
Other ecosystems also absorb and store CO
2
. Peat-lands, grasslands and other terrestrial ecosystemsrelease greenhouse gases when converted and burnedand, in their natural state, perform a critical carbon-capture-and-storage service. This natural regulatoryfunction must be protected by preserving intact naturalecosystems as part of international efforts to effectivelyaddress the threat posed by climate change. Preservingnatural ecosystems and their ability to adapt to climatechange is an immediate and essential part of long-termefforts to reduce the vulnerability and increase theresilience of human communities from the local to globalscale. Eventually, efforts should be made to include otherecosystems in the international climate agreements.
the time to act
 
deep e
missions cuts + nancing for climate
mitigation and adaptation are needed
 Most of the nations of the world (192) have madea commitment to stabilize climate change by signingthe United Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC), which was adopted in 1992. In 1997,the Kyoto Protocol was created to establish a mechanismto achieve that goal by setting limits on greenhousegas (GHG) emissions through legally binding targetsfor industrialized nations (the “Annex I” countries).Unfortunately, subsequent emission reductioncommitments have been less aggressive than hoped,and the impacts of climate change have been evenmore severe than anticipated.In December, the nations of the world will meet again inCopenhagen to consider extending the internationalclimate agreement. At this meeting
the global community needs to agree to make deep and immediate cuts inCO
2
and other greenhouse gas emissions in order toavoid dangerous levels of climate change. Nationsmust also agree to enhanced action on adaptation inorder to help countries, particularly vulnerable ones,cope with the impacts of climate change that arealready inevitable.
 
The agreement must also include
adequate, predictable and sustained nancial and
technical support for both mitigation and adaptation.
Scientists dene “dangerous” climate change as an
increase in the average global temperature of morethan 2º Celsius (C). For this to be avoided, aggressiveGHG emission-reduction measures must be taken in allsectors, by all nations, now. Developed countries mustlead this effort with bold commitments, urgent action and
adequate nancial support for developing nations.
the road tocopenhagen
 
funding is vital
 
to counter market forces, we must ensureadequate compensation for climate changemitigation efforts
Efforts by peoples and nations to preserve the world’sforests and mitigate climate change should be dulycompensated to guarantee the long-term provision ofthese services and their related climate, social and
biodiversity benets. Forests store vast amounts of
carbon, but the local communities and governments thateffectively protect forests often get nothing in return forthe vital service that they provide to the international
community. Financial benets only materialize when they
exploit their forests for timber or minerals or convertforestlands for the production of agricultural commodities
or other uses with signicant market value. If we are to
achieve our climate goals, then the developmentparadigm that values dead forests over living forests hasto change.
Protection of forests and other ecosystemsthat provide climate regulation and other servicesrequires immediate, equitable and adequatecompensation for the nations and communities whomaintain them as the basis of low carbon developmentpaths.
REDD+
 
to be effective, a climate agreement must includethis suite of policy reforms and incentives
If the world is to effectively address climate change,it is essential that REDD+ is included in future UNFCCCagreements—and that funding for REDD+ begins immediately.
REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation andForest Degradation “plus” conservation, thesustainable management of forests and enhancementof forest carbon) requires a suite of policy reforms andincentive structures aimed at providing compensationto halt the deforestation and degradation of naturalforests and increase their recovery and permanentconservation.
REDD+ strategies and activities have greatpotential to contribute to environmental, economic andsocial goals beyond carbon storage. The UNFCCC shouldaim to realize that potential. This approach is consistentwith the UNFCCC goal of achieving climate goals whilecontributing to sustainable development as well as otherMillennium Development Goals that countries haveadopted. A REDD+ mechanism must provide incentivesfor all forested developing nations, including those thathave historically maintained a high level of forest coverand low deforestation (HFLD countries), and fund thosecountries appropriately.

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