This week has seen the countries of the world back around the negotiating table, trying to drum out some of the details of what the next global agreement on climate change should look like. The RSPB has been there, reminding negotiators of their responsibilities to the world - humans and wildlife!
Here's a note from Mel Coath, our expert on greenhouse gas emissions from the land use change and forestry sector -
"Sitting in the closing plenary of the latest UN climate change talks, it is hard to pick out glimmers of light in a process that repeatedly gets bogged down in a political quagmire. Perhaps one, though, is a much better recognition this week of some of the barriers to progress.
One such barrier that needs to be overcome is the treatment of loopholes on the table which allow countries to hide or ignore emissions. Of course in a climate deal designed to reduce greenhouse gases, such loopholes undermine what that deal is ultimately designed to achieve.
For example, forests in rich countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia, Russia could be a big part of the solution to climate change. But the rules to measure how forests suck up or release carbon are being designed to hide emissions from the accounting systems of countries that will nevertheless make it into the atmosphere.
A major workshop this week has thrown further light on the gap between low targets plus loopholes and the emissions reductions required to address dangerous climate change. This gap can be measured in Gigatonnes of carbon, a vast amount indeed, around 12 Gigatonnes in fact, according to the latest analysis presented at the workshop.
But the response from those who have the job of negotiating rules on developed country forests is to dig their heels in. And their bosses appear to be deciding it’s all too politically difficult. Even some developing countries, frustrated with the lack of progress in the talks overall are suggesting that it should be given up as a bad deal in order to move forward with other parts of the negotiations.
But surely this is an opportunity missed! Forests should be given the chance to deliver for the climate without undermining what is on the table. Negotiators have a choice now – to fix the loopholes or ignore them and move on. The RSPB calls on them to fix them before it’s too late!