View From the Plenary

The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) met today for the 1st Plenary II meeting.  (There are two major plenary, the other by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).)  The SBSTA’s agenda for the day included issues surrounding the development and transfer of technologies, research and systematic observations, and how to reduce emissions from developing countries.

One of the largest programs potentially coming out of COP-15 is the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD).  I will be focusing most of my personal research on this program during my time in Copenhagen.  The REDD programme reports that “[d]eforestation and forest degradation, through agricultural expansion, conversion to pastureland, infrastructure development, destructive logging, fires etc., account for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector.”

With this in mind, many organizations and countries are eager to see an agreement about how best to implement and fund this program.  Today, the representative from the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) gave a call to action but reminded delegates that “Forests are more than carbon.”  He stressed the spiritual and cultural connection that indigenous peoples share with the forests, as well as their reliance on these ecosystems for their own livelihood.