Trees Before Poverty; The World Bank’s Approach to Forestry and Climate Change

November 2011 – A World Growth Report

At the United Nations climate change conference in December 2009 in Copenhagen, the World Bank tabled a report recommending a global strategy to reduce the 17 per cent of global greenhouse emissions caused by deforestation and land use. The strategy consisted of curbing the forestry and agricultural sectors, and then substituting them with other industries. In other words, it presented a restructuring of the forestry and agricultural sectors. The Bank sought pledges to fund that strategy throughout and following UN conference based on the 17 per cent number, Continue reading

Grappling with Inordinate Uncertainty; Measuring the Carbon Footprint of Tropical Land-Use Change

June 2011 – A Study by World Growth

It is fashionable to consider the ‘carbon footprint’ that day-to-day activities of humans have on planet earth. The rationale for this concept is that it will give us a readily understood indication of the emissions of certain gases – especially carbon dioxide and methane – that are implicated in raising the earth’s temperature and the level of the sea which has become the focus of much contemporary concern in the community. The published research has concentrated on primary forest and permanent grassland. Little has been published on secondary forest or degraded forestland. Continue reading

How REDD Will Impoverish the Developing World and Reduce Biodiversity; An Indonesian Case Study

March 2011 – A Study by World Growth

A number of developing countries have committed to reduce greenhouse gases and to participate in international REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs to cease deforestation and reshape their economies as “low carbon” economies. Environmental nongovernment organisations (NGOs) and Western donors argue this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity. The REDD programs will have the opposite effect. It will impoverish those economies. Continue reading

REDD and Conservation: Avoiding The New Road To Serfdom

December 2010 – A World Growth Study

As negotiations for a new global approach to climate change remain stalled and there is no expectation of progress at the negotiations in Cancun in December 2010, donors have instead made the cessation of deforestation an interim target. A staggering USD 4 billion has been pledged to support this goal. This supposes two things about deforestation, or as we prefer to describe it, conversion of forest land to other uses. First, this will reduce emissions significantly. And, second, the conversion of vast areas of forest to conservation parks will benefit the people of those countries Continue reading

The RSPO and a Carbon Intensity Standard — Issues, Facts and Necessity

October 2010 – Green Papers: Issue VI

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has come under significant scrutiny and criticism recently from environmental NGOs. This criticism has centred on a claimed failure of the RSPO to uphold and improve sustainability criteria for palm oil. Pressure from NGOs to tighten sustainability requirements and adopt criteria and principles to demonstrate compliance with a carbon footprint is growing. There is, however, no reason to adopt one. The latest proposals before the RSPO to introduce a carbon standard lack the necessary scientific or social impact analysis to Continue reading

Collateral Damage: How the Bogus Campaign Against Palm Oil Harms the Poor

December 2009 – A study by World Growth
The world’s governments have convened in Copenhagen to determine a global strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is every indication the issue is so thorny that no clear agreement can be reached at Copenhagen. It is likely the parties to the Copenhagen conference will try to identify the areas which can be the basis of a new global strategy and lay down a fresh mandate and program to meet it. Palm oil has been made the ‘poster child’ in this campaign to ensure that any global strategy to reduce greenhouse gases must also cease conversion of forest land to any other purpose. The campaign rests on Continue reading

Conversion – The Immutable Link between Forestry and Development

December 2009 – A Study by World Growth
Leading European Union (EU) members are pressing either for agreement to a ‘No Conversion’ principle, or for endorsement of the idea that no financial assistance should be provided to developing countries unless they apply a ‘No Conversion’ policy. These are policies that would increase, not reduce, poverty (nor have a meaningful environmental impact – most developing countries have already reserved large areas of forest to protect biodiversity). Furthermore, based on the same erroneous assumption about what drives deforestation, the EU is introducing trade measures to enable it to coerce Continue reading

The New Face of European Environmental Protectionism: Forestry and Climate Change

December 2009 – A World Growth Briefing
The European Union (EU) is seeking to impose environmental trade restrictions on food and forestry products which serve to protect European producers and harm viable sources of growth in developing countries. This action is not new. It is reflective of a longer term trend in the rise environmental trade protectionism. The last few years have seen the growth of regulation in the EU to address environmental concerns affecting trade in food and agriculture as governments have sought to manage the impacts of climate change and ensure environmental sustainability. This approach is being extended to Continue reading

Building a Pro-Development Global Strategy on Climate Change

Global interest in tackling climate change has intensified. Awareness that the commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases set out in the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change expire in 2012, and given general acceptance that the Kyoto Protocol has not been a success, new global approaches to climate change are being considered.

Global warming is a complicated subject. The science is complex and the economics challenging. It is not common in either discipline to try to specify with certainty what will happen over 10-20 year periods, let alone to look ahead 100 or 200 years. While much attention has been focused on the science and economics, not enough has been devoted to what can practicably be achieved in intergovernmental arrangements to handle climate change. This report illustrates one such approach.