Countries prioritise agriculture in climate
plans, but is the funding there?
Sustainable forestry inseparable from
the question of Indigenous rights
9 December 2015
Be PaperSmart: Read Outreach online
pic: Kate Evans for CIFOR www.cifor.org; Aerial view of agricultural land near Halimun Salak National Park, West Java, Indonesia
1 Countries prioritise agriculture in climate plans, but is the funding there?
2 Innovation, communities, food and commercial wood production in
3 Nature-based solutions: An underused toolbox for enhancing
4 Women’s empowerment and climate resilient agriculture
5 Navigating climate change mitigation and sustainable development
in the tropics
6 SOS Mata Atlantica: Protecting the Atlantic Rainforest
7 Carbon farming: To sequester carbon and reverse global warming
8 Sustainable forestry inseparable from the question of Indigenous rights
9 Concrete actions for effective transformation
10 Biomass energy and forests: finding the missing emissions
11 Regenerative strategies for climate justice
12 Feeding China
13 Side events calendar
14 Reflections from COP21, Tuesday 8 December
pic: Kate Evans for CIFOR www.cifor.org; Aerial view of agricultural land near Halimun Salak National Park, West Java, Indonesia
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Bruce Campbell CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture & Food Security
Friends of the Earth Scotland
World Future Council
SOS Mata Atlantica
Claudia Stickler, Maria DiGiano & Charlotta Chan Earth Innovation Institute
Global Ecovillage Network
Countries prioritise agriculture in climate
plans, but is the funding there?
CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
Most countries have now shown their cards on
how they intend to tackle climate change.
Research out this week shows that agriculture is marked as
a priority in the vast majority of national plans (known as
Intended Nationally Determined Commitments or INDCs)
– which should come as no surprise to UN negotiators.
Agriculture and climate experts have been highlighting the
sector’s huge potential to both adapt to and mitigate climate
change since 2009. Greenhouse gas emissions related to our
food systems are estimated to account for up to 29 per cent of
greenhouse gas emissions, and the sector run by the world’s
500 million farmers stands to be one of the worst hit by the
unpredictable weather patterns that a changing climate is
causing. Given that we will need to feed roughly 9.6 billion
people by 2050, this is a situation that demands action.
Yet progress on agriculture at the UN climate talks has been
excruciatingly slow. The Durban agreement in 2011 called for
technical discussions on agriculture to take place to inform
negotiators how agriculture could be brought into the main
climate negotiations, but these will now only be finalised in
2016. As a consequence, the idea that mitigating emissions
from agriculture and improving agricultural productivity are
mutually exclusive has remained. Agriculture is not explicitly
mentioned in the draft text of the new agreement, although
food security is proposed as a key objective.
However, a new concept that is taking root is proving that
many interventions that help farmers adapt to climate
change, can also reduce emissions, resulting in a win-win
for farmers and the planet. ‘Climate-smart agriculture’
seeks to deliver three interconnected goals: improving food
security, improving farmers’ resilience to climate change,
and minimising emissions, where possible. Climate-smart
agriculture also takes into account social goals, for example,
that many farmers in developing countries are women, and
that to advance agriculture means to tackle gender inequality
in access to resources and knowledge.
It seems that although the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) has missed the huge opportunity the
sector presents for taking action on climate change, individual
countries have not. Our analysis of the country level plans
submitted to the UNFCCC has revealed that there is a huge
appetite for technical and financial assistance to adopt this very
type of climate-smart agriculture, that will help them tackle
the challenge of feeding the world in the face of a warming
planet. 80 per cent of countries have included agriculture in
their climate mitigation target, and 64 per cent have noted
agriculture’s importance in climate adaptation strategies.
Perhaps most importantly, 30 per cent of countries, mainly
in the developing world, have included agriculture mitigation
targets that are conditional on international financial support.
This is a clear call to action for UN negotiators in Paris:
developing world nations need funds to support the reduction
of agriculture-related emissions. Costs range from USD 2.5
million for a programme to reduce slash and burn in the Central
pic: Endre Vestvik; Farmer in Zemio, Haut-Mbomou, Central African Republic
African Republic, to USD 1.8 billion to reduce emissions from
rice, implement biodigesters for recycling waste and expand
agroforestry systems in Senegal.
Climate-smart agriculture is already making a difference. Take
the example of dairy famers in Kenya. Currently, livestock
contributes to 47 – 55 per cent of agricultural greenhouse
gas emissions. Responding to this, the International Livestock
Research Institute and the World Agroforestry Center are testing
measures appropriate to smallholders, such as better feed
production and feeding practices, which can boost livestock
productivity levels while also reducing emissions per kilogram
protein of milk produced. In Kenya, researchers believe these
practices can mitigate 1.2 Million tonnes of CO2 by 2018.
Rice production is responsible for up to 10 per cent of global
manmade methane emissions. Southeast Asia is the world’s
largest rice producer, and so there is great potential for
reducing emissions from this sector. Using a technique called
Alternate Wetting and Drying, farmers can maintain or even
increase yields by using less water in rice production. Irrigated
fields are drained for short periods as crops grow, resulting
in up to 30-40 per cent reduction of methane emissions and
reducing water use by up to 30 per cent, helping farmers
cope during periods of water scarcity. The International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI) is working with the government of
Vietnam to map the suitability of these practices for different
regions to assist their scaling up.
The INDCs can serve as a roadmap to guide investment and
technical support from the UNFCCC. Countries have spoken,
and agriculture has featured highly on their agendas. Feeding
the planet in a sustainable way will simply not be possible
unless all nations are empowered to take action towards
climate-smart food systems. We hope this message is well
heeded in Paris.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Bruce Campbell is the Director of the CGIAR Program on
Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.
Innovation, communities, food and
commercial wood production in southern Laos
The people and the government of Laos
face many challenges, but probably none
as great as poverty.
Poor people can make desperate decisions – especially in rural
areas when it comes to the use of land. Laos is fortunate to have
a significant natural forest cover and a relatively low population
density. However, there are large areas of underutilised,
degraded lands in Laos, such as former forestlands, which
were cleared for agriculture and areas impacted by war. This
is problematic for poverty alleviation, biodiversity and climate.
roles and provides a range of other social and community
The project is also increasing carbon stocks, assisting objectives
to reduce climate change. Experience demonstrates that the
Stora Enso agroforestry model is attractive and farmers prefer
it to cultivation of crops on distant swidden lands. This reduces
shifting cultivation and pressure on existing forests. Planting
degraded lands will increase carbon stocks in biomass and
soils in the plantations and adjacent natural forests.
The government of Laos is determined to “turn land into
capital” whilst protecting the rights and interests of its citizens.
The aim is to link opportunities for commercial land use with
communities, and contribute to the national goal of poverty
alleviation. But how can this combination of goals be realised?
Stora Enso, the renewable materials company producing
packaging, biomaterials, wood and paper identified
opportunities for tree growing in Laos over 10 years ago. The
company has taken a long-term approach to testing a new model
of plantation investment, acknowledging the distinct social,
political, environmental and historical settings in Lao PDR.
The project area is in some of the poorest districts in the
country, where social and economic conditions are well below
the Millennium Development Goals, with challenges for food
security, nutrition, education and literacy, clean water, health
and limited economic opportunities. The area was also subject
to the most intensive bombing campaign of the American
War in Vietnam and has many unexploded bombs that make
agricultural production and daily life dangerous.
The project starts by working directly with local villagers.
Common practice up until recently in Laos has been to work
with the government to identify land for tree plantations.
However, without the support of the local communities, the
long-term security of planted trees is at risk.
Along with government consultation, permits and approvals, an
intense process of community consultations identifies village
boundaries, intact native forest, areas of spiritual significance,
steep slopes and village agricultural lands. Potential planting
areas agreed by the company and the community are presented
to district officials for approval.
Malnutrition and food security are serious problems. Could a
commercial tree-planting project increase food availability? A
new kind of planting design (9 metre-wide tree spacing) was
tested, allowing the villagers to intercrop rice, cassava or
maize between the trees. In other situations, such agroforestry
systems are widely used. After nearly 10 years of testing this
system, it has been found to be supported by the community,
whilst producing timber and helping with food supply.
Development of new approaches of clearing unexploded
bombs from the farming and tree growing areas is making
the region safer for the community and the company workers.
The company trains and employs local people in a range of
pic: Stora Enso Laos
Responsible companies who see economic opportunities in
Laos seek to engage communities to ensure that they remain
an integral part of commercial investment. This approach can
offer win-win outcomes where communities and companies can
both benefit. For such responsible companies, this requires
balancing commercial realities, community aspirations and
In a part of the world that is experiencing great transition
and economic development, change is inevitable. The
transformation of degraded forests and underutilised lands
into productive assets through new agroforestry models and
long-term private-sector partnerships offers benefits to local
people and to the broader Lao society. Commercial wood
production provides a sustainable land-use option and an
opportunity to improve livelihoods, develop skills and decrease
poverty, all while benefiting the climate.
The complex social and regulatory environment of Laos has
meant that progress has been slow. The government currently
prohibits new plantation establishments, which restricts new
investments. This has created considerable uncertainty for the
private sector. How long it will take for Stora Enso to build
a commercial wood resource in Laos is unclear, but there is
little doubt that their steady and socially inclusive approach
is beginning to bear fruit and provides a model that other
responsible investors might consider.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This article reflects the personal views and experience of the
author who is an independent consultant with over 40 years’
experience in Laos and Southeast Asia and has served a broad
array of clients from industry, NGOs, donor agencies, national
governments and international organisations. Author contact:
Nature-based solutions: An underused
toolbox for enhancing climate resilience
IUCN European Regional Office
Although a positive momentum of action from
governments and stakeholders alike was
created during the past year in the run up
to the UNFCCC negotiations in Paris, the
original expectations for a fully-fledged,
legally binding deal with concrete targets
have turned into a long-term trajectory of
increased flexible action.
The original goal to keep the global average temperature rise
below 2°C from pre-industrial levels is far from being reached,
as the currently tabled Intended Nationally Determined
Contributions (INDCs) from the parties will clearly not get us
there according to the UNFCCC’s own assessment.
These nature-based solutions are ‘no-regret’ measures, and
they also offer concrete and cost effective options for adapting
to the effects of climate change that we have not yet fully
exploited. To push this concept further, IUCN has been working
on promoting the concept of ‘ecosystem-based adaptation’
(EbA), which uses the natural power of ecosystems to
increase resilience against climate change. For example, here
in Belgium, the Eastern Scheldt estuary is prone to erosion
and therefore flooding, particularly from extreme weather
events. To prevent this, oyster reefs were installed to fortify
the protective capacity of the flats, but they also created new
habitats and provided water filtration services.
We have to find new ways of tackling the climate issue, and
one of the answers might be to stop viewing the problem in
isolation, and instead integrate our mitigation and adaptation
approaches into broader sustainable development and nature
Currently, the climate change debate has a strong focus on the
important need to drastically reduce carbon emissions from
energy and transport through technological innovation, while
other complementary and existing options, such as using the
strong mitigation and adaptation potential that nature and
the natural functions of ecosystems can offer are hidden in
the background. Conservation, restoration and sustainable
ecosystem management generate significant and practical
solutions, while also yielding economic and social benefits.
A concrete step in this direction is the accelerated restoration
of forest landscapes. The Bonn Challenge was put forward
by the German Government and IUCN in 2011 and calls for
commitments to restore 150 million hectares of deforested
and degraded land by 2020. On its own, reaching this
commitment would remove 1 billion tons of carbon from the
atmosphere each year. In the context of the recent New York
Declaration on Forests, the target for the Bonn challenge has
ambitiously increased to 350 million hectares by 2030.
pic: Mark Fletcher; Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier, Belgium
At the COP21 negotiations, IUCN is therefore asking the
international community to give the fullest consideration to
the appropriate integration of EbA approaches in the Paris
Agreement and to recognise the role of ecosystems in acting
as natural carbon sinks and alleviating the pressure of GHG
emissions. This includes asking parties to incorporate EbA
mitigation and adaptation measures into their INDCs.
It is almost certain now that 2015 will be (yet again!) the hottest
year on record, eclipsing 2014. The international community
clearly knows that there is no time for complacency, and
there certainly is considerable momentum for a meaningful
international climate agreement in Paris – but will this be
enough to reach the 2°C target?
Twenty years of international negotiations have not brought
about the urgent change we need if we are to avert the worst
consequences of climate change. It is imperative that we start
thinking outside of the box and deploy all the tools we have
at hand. Only then can we transition to genuine sustainable
development globally, striking a much-needed balance
between environmental, social and economic health. Naturebased
solutions are a key tool in our toolbox, and they are
pic: European Environment Agency/John McConnico; England's Forest of Dean
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luc Bas is the Director of the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) European Regional Office.
Women’s empowerment and climate
There is a growing recognition of the
disproportionate impact that climate change
will have on women, as well as, conversely,
of the significant social, economic, and
climate resilient benefits that gender
equality and women’s empowerment can bring.
In agriculture, climate change will exacerbate the existing
barriers faced by women farmers. Women comprise 43 per
cent of the agricultural workforce, and play a critical role in
supporting household and community food security. However,
women farmers have less access than men to secure land
tenure, agricultural inputs, technologies, financing, and
information. An international comparison of agricultural
census data by the Food and Agriculture Organisation shows
that less than 20 per cent of landholders worldwide are
women. Similarly, across 97 countries, women farmers receive
only 5 per cent of agricultural extension services, only 15 per
cent of the world’s extension services are women, and only 10
per cent of total aid for agriculture, forestry and fisheries goes
to women. Perhaps the greatest stumbling block for women
farmers to pursue climate-resilient agriculture is the gender
gap in access to long-term affordable financing. Only 22 per
cent of women in low-income countries hold bank accounts in
rural areas, and commercial banks tend to work only with large
farmers who are already well positioned in value chains.
The pervasive gaps that women face in agriculture are due to
structural barriers that women farmers face in all parts of the
world. These include discriminatory statutory and customary
laws; harmful social norms; and the disproportionate burden
of domestic and care work. For example, of the 161 countries
examined in OECD’s 2014 Social Institutions and Gender Index
(SIGI), women and men have equal rights to land ownership,
use and control in only 37 of the assessed countries. Even
when their land rights are secured, their plots tend to be
insufficient in size and quality to qualify as collateral for a
bank loan or credit. The lack of appropriate financial products
and low financial literacy further constrain women’s ability to
Most agricultural policies and investments still fail to consider
discrimination against women in agriculture, and how genderspecific
barriers are relevant to the proposed interventions.
It is often assumed that interventions to facilitate access to
finance, technology or markets will have the same impacts on
men and women; however, evidence indicates that this is not
Yet, gender-responsive investments and interventions in
agriculture that remove structural barriers represent a
huge opportunity for women’s empowerment, economic
development and societal resilience to climate change. It
has been estimated that such interventions could increase
agricultural outputs by up to 20 per cent in Africa.
At the same time, a changing climate means that the window
of opportunity to close these gender-based differences
pic: Asian Development Bank; Sumiyah, a farmer from Bojong
village near Yogyakarta, Indonesiawinnows newly threshed rice
in agriculture is closing. Climate change will require
greater upfront capital for investments in climate resilient
infrastructure, assets, and the adoption of new farming
practices. It will also require access to critical information to
anticipate variations in temperature and precipitation, choose
appropriate seeds and make informed decisions about when
and what to plant. Women’s full and equal participation and
leadership and access to opportunities is more urgent than
ever in this changing environment.
UN Women’s experience in this field has shown that
strengthening climate resilience requires integrated actions
from a coalition of partners in the following four priority
areas: increasing women’s land tenure security by eliminating
discriminatory legal, social and customary norms; improving
women’s productivity by ensuring equal access to information,
technologies, and inputs and reducing their unpaid care work;
removing financing barriers and eliminating discriminatory
lending practices of public and private financial institutions to
enable women farmers to invest in climate-resilient agriculture;
and increasing access of women farmers to higher-added
Concerted efforts are therefore needed to ensure that
women farmers everywhere can contribute their expertise
and knowledge to solving the challenges in agriculture of a
Navigating climate change mitigation and
sustainable development in the tropics
Claudia Stickler, Maria DiGiano and Charlotta Chan
Earth Innovation Institute
Whatever the final outcome of the Paris
climate conference may be, it is clear that
forests and land-use need to be part of the
transition to a low-emission future.
Deforestation and land-use change in the tropics are among
the most significant global drivers of climate change. At the
same time, conversion of native vegetation to pasture and
cropland is a way for millions of people to secure and improve
their livelihoods, across the tropics.
In a vicious cycle, deforestation and land use changes lead to
degradation of ecosystem services that communities depend
on, such as water, fish, game and soil resources, ultimately
undermining human wellbeing.
As studies show, tropical forests are crucial in tackling climate
change. Achieving a low-emission future predicates changing
the development patterns that drive climate change and
forest destruction in a way that also meets rural development
needs. It is challenging, but the Sustainable Tropics Alliance is
showing how it can be done.
The Alliance is a strategic partnership of independent, nongovernmental
organisations that draw on research, multistakeholder
engagement, and local knowledge to develop new
approaches to low-emission rural development (LED-R) in
A transformational framework for large-scale, bottom-up
Low-emission rural development (LED-R) is one form of lowemission
development, with the added “R” denoting that its
emphasis is rural. LED-R can be described as sustainable
development focused on land-related activities, with an
emphasis on climate mitigation and adaptation. Hallmarks of
• Bottom-up: top-down strategies for slowing deforestation
and reducing emissions are failing to penetrate regional
development strategies and improve human wellbeing.
• Regional: based on sub-national jurisdictions, embedding
climate goals in regional development strategies.
• Politically viable, empowering marginalised actors:
achieving LED-R requires genuine participation of diverse
stakeholders; securing rights to resources and increasing
governance capacity of local institutions.
• Compatibility with existing frameworks, including REDD+,
the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and major private
sector initiatives. LED-R harnesses climate mitigation and
adaptation strategies to work in concert with development
policies and alternative livelihood strategies.
The approach is tailored to local contexts: current development
paradigms are products of specific histories, and interacting
cultural, political, economic and biophysical processes.
The Sustainable Tropics Alliance has identified five
elements for defining progress towards low-emission rural
development: sustainable economic development, healthy
ecosystems, manageable climate, equitable social systems,
and human wellbeing.
Helping to implement international commitments
Countries are expected to implement increasingly complicated
international commitments related to climate change and
sustainable development. These include the SDGs and also
sub-national commitments, for example, in relation to benefit
sharing with forest-dependent communities, smallholders and
indigenous peoples, as in the Rio Branco Declaration.
LED-R approaches can help countries – through both
governmental and non-governmental stakeholders – to respond
in an integrated way to international expectations related
to climate change mitigation, social equity and sustainable
development, including sustainable sourcing of commodities.
REDD+ is one of the tools for achieving LED-R, but it should
not be treated in isolation. REDD+ needs to be part of a
transition to low-emission rural development, which works for
rural people and takes account of local development needs,
agricultural practices, cultural and political circumstances
and global economic drivers such a commodity prices.
Not easy, but the Sustainable Tropics Alliance is identifying
steps towards success
The role of tropical forests in climate stability is clear, and
the past decade has brought about important advances
through corporate and government commitments to reduce
deforestation, as well as a degree of political will and
institutional architecture for climate finance and benefitsharing.
However, many of these commitments are extremely
difficult to implement on the ground, and few rural communities
are receiving benefits.
Tropical regions face an increasingly complex and increasingly
urgent challenge: how can they advance rural development in
a way that improves local and regional well-being, while also
fulfilling an expanding global role in terms of climate change
and food security?
There are no ‘silver bullets’ – but empowering local stakeholders
is crucial. Governments, businesses, farmers, communities
and civil society must all be at the table to drive the transition
to low-emission rural development.
The Sustainable Tropics Alliance is helping to identify potential
solutions to these complex challenges, finding synergies
between climate mitigation, sustainable economic growth and
The supporting research and evidence are downloadable at
earthinnovation.org and sustainabletropics.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Joy Hyvarinen is Adviser to VERTIC. Claudia Stickler and
Maria DiGiano are Scientists with Earth Innovation Institute.
Charlotta Chan is Research Associate with Earth Innovation
SOS Mata Atlantica: Protecting the Atlantic
SOS Mata Atlantica
The Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest is located
alongside the Brazilian Atlantic coast. It
covers 17 of the 27 Brazilian States and
3429 of the 5500 Brazilian cities, but does
not have any connection with the Amazon
Rainforest. The Atlantic Rainforest has
suffered for a long time, as it has been
deforested by various economic cycles.
pic: Stora Enso Brazil
among other things, the creation of municipal reforestation
plans. These projects are structured in a non-punitive way.
Until recently, the deforestation laws focused only on what was
prohibited. Now they are structured to involve the whole society
in a dialogue on how to avoid deforestation and preserve the
pic: Stora Enso Brazil
Since the arrival of the Portuguese in the year 1500, the
Brazilian economy has been linked to its natural resources
(native tree logging, cattle, coffee, sugarcane, minerals),
causing severe deforestation, land degradation and
suppression of vegetation alongside riverbanks. Government
incentives supported deforestation until the 1980s. Intense
urbanisation – currently almost 90 per cent of the Brazilian
population lives in cities – has created additional pressure on
the forests. Overall, deforestation has caused notable microand
macroclimate changes in Brazil.
One important step in the process is the certification of tree
plantations. Brazilian companies such as Veracel – a joint
venture between Stora Enso and Fibria – as well as Klabin are
benchmarks in this area. As a unique example, Veracel has
extended certification to all its tree farmers.
What Veracel is doing as a company sets a good example on
how to proceed: transparency in its actions, dialogue with
stakeholders, public hearings, helping local small farmers
with new agricultural technologies – and last but not least,
rainforest restoration and landscape planning. This kind of
action is a good example – even on a global level – of what
can be achieved in a large country with a long history of
Currently the forests near the cities continue to be in peril
due to the expansion of the urban population. On the other
hand, various agricultural activities – plantations in particular
– are helping to restore the forests by complying with
SOS Mata Atlantica is a non-governmental organisation (NGO)
that is active in the conservation of Brazil’s most threatened
forests and associated coastal and marine environments. The
organisation’s objectives are linked to the restoration and
renovation of the Atlantic Rainforest. The goal is to reforest 12
million hectares of forests, including plantations. SOS Mata
Atlantica operates without government incentives, surviving
with the help of private donations and specific programmes
linked to reforestation.
SOS Mata Atlantica collaborates in the development of federal
and local programmes. The organisation is intensely active in
the Brazilian Congress by lobbying and discussing new laws and
projects to avoid deforestation. Just recently it has influenced,
pic: Stora Enso Brazil
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Mantovanni is the Director of Public Affairs of SOS Mata
Atlantica, a NGO dedicated to the recovery and restoration
of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest (www.sosma.org.br and
www.facebook.com/SOSMataAtlantica/). Mario is active in the
environmental movement in Brazil and member of the Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) Environmental Chamber.
Carbon farming: To sequester carbon and
reverse global warming
Global Ecovillage Network
Many ecovillage communities have been
experimenting with different means of
carbon farming and have gone well beyond
carbon neutral to become net negative
carbon communities. These villages
provide many examples and best practices
for sequestering billions of tons of
carbon and reversing global warming.
While there’s no question that we need to reduce greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions, over the last 25 years emissions have
actually accelerated. In 2013, there was roughly 50 parts per
million (ppm) more carbon pollution in the atmosphere than
in 1988. While we have to replace fossil fuels with renewables,
other measures are needed as well.
The alternative we propose is to net sequester – go beyond
zero – at the home, village and regional scale. We have many
tools for accomplishing this – carbon farming, agroforestry,
ecosystem restoration, and biochar, in everything from clothing
Humanity has actually released far more carbon to the
atmosphere from soil disruption, desertification, and
deforestation since the beginning of agriculture than from fossil
fuels. So now we have the opportunity to reverse the process
and rebuild and sequester megatons of carbon in our soils.
The safest and most effective approach is to capture it with
millions of species of green plants, animals, insects, fungi
and micro-organisms, burying it deep in soils in carbon-rich
molecules that are stable for centuries or longer. And because
complex organic carbon molecules retain many times their
weight in water, we can also restore vibrant life to billions of
acres of parched, desertified areas that were once healthy
forests or grasslands.
Unfortunately most of these carbon farming practices and
techniques are not yet a part of the mainstream climate
discussion. It is unspeakably ironic that the most effective,
most beneficial, least risky and least expensive approach to
reversing global warming is not yet on the table.
As years pass without strong global action on climate, the
threat of the Earth’s temperatures rising by more than 2 o C
has become increasingly likely and alarming. The ‘emissions
gap’ between what our governments are willing to do and what
is required is estimated to reach 8 to 10 billion tons of CO 2 in
2020 and 14 to 17 billion tons in 2030.
An article on the Global Ecovillage Network COP21 website
by Hans-Peter Schmidt entitled Humus or Famine states
that deforestation and degradation release an estimated 4.3
to 5.5 Gigatons of CO 2 equivalent (Gt CO 2eq) per year, with
agriculture producing 5.0 to 5.8 billion metric tons more. We
have lost between 55 and 320 billion tons of carbon or roughly
25 per cent to 75 per cent of the original humus content.
pic: Neil Palmer/CIAT for CIFOR www.cifor.org;
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest and river, near Manaus, Brazil
Healthy soil has humus levels between 3.5 per cent and 6 per
cent. Our more intensively used soils are 2 per cent or below.
But when the Europeans arrived in the Amazon River basin
centuries ago, the native peoples had built the Terra Preta
soils to 10-15 per cent –resulting in incredibly rich farming
communities, in a region with naturally low carbon soils.
We can achieve the same by closing organic cycles, applying
organic matter (composts, green manure and mulch), mixed
cropping, continuous soil cover, minimising tillage, and
applying biochar to our fields.
By increasing the carbon content of the soil to just 10 per
cent worldwide over the next 100 years we could sequester the
equivalent of 900 billion tons of CO 2, reducing it by 110 ppm
in the atmosphere, thus returning to pre-industrial levels.
In another article on the GEN COP21 website, Albert Bates
states, “We could sequester 1 gigaton of carbon annually by
switching to carbon farming. And with biochar, increase this
to 4 to 10 GtC per year using biomass-to-energy pyrolysis
reactors.” And then add tree planting, wetland restoration
and bamboo stands. Reforestation, particularly at the edges
of deserts, provides the largest available wedge to combat
climate change, potentially contributing 80 GtC per year.
These things are not only do-able, but are already being
done in ecovillages around the world. We can sequester
more greenhouse gases than we emit. We can go back to
pre-industrial carbon levels while restoring ecosystem health
and replenishing our depleted soils. All we have to do is plant
trees, build terra preta soils, and organically store carbon in
our planet’s terrasphere as did indigenous peoples of South
America centuries ago.
You can read about Global Ecovillage Network success stories
Sustainable forestry inseparable from the
question of Indigenous rights
While there is a tendency in climate
negotiations to talk about forests as
pawns to be traded for emissions caused
elsewhere or as mere ‘carbon sinks’ –
they are far more than this.
A forest’s value is hard to quantify. It goes over and above the
simple capacity to fix carbon, although this too is important.
Forests contribute to clean drinking water and air, provide
nutrition and medication, act as important habitats that
support an abundance of life, and contribute to key nutrient
cycles, in addition to their aesthetic and spiritual value. These
and a range of other ecosystem services are not only important
on a global context, they form the basis for the livelihoods of
many Indigenous Peoples, whose cultures and identities are
inseparable from their forest homelands. Who better, then, to
act as stewards of this precious resource than then those who
call it home?
In today’s world though, this would require legal recognition
of Indigenous territories, for how can one protect an area
that is not legally recognised as one’s own? Without such
legal recognition, these swaths of forest remain dangerously
vulnerable to deforestation by infrastructure projects, largescale
agriculture and extractive industries. This is a problem.
In the example of the Amazon Basin, some 1 million of the
total 2.4 million km2 of Indigenous rainforest territories, an
area almost eight times the size of Italy, have yet to be officially
recognised. An estimated 20 per cent is at risk of being lost
due to pressures including oil exploitation, infrastructure
projects and large-scale industrial farming. These territories
are not only home to entire populations, they are also of
disproportional importance in the fight against climate
change. A 2014 study entitled ‘Forest carbon in Amazonia’,
points to the fact that over half of all carbon stored in the
9-nation area of the Amazon Basin is found in Indigenous and
protected areas, more than that stored in all the forests of the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia combined.
While Prince Charles, in his opening speech for the Lima-
Paris Action Agenda Focus Event on Forests during this year’s
Climate Summit, emphasised the importance of Indigenous
Peoples and Indigenous rights for forest protection, it is the
UN Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
and Forest Degradation (REDD+) that is getting the bulk of
the attention. The initiative, though, will not necessarily give
Indigenous Peoples the legal recognition they need to protect
their territories. Should the REDD+ mechanisms be built into
emissions trading schemes in the form of carbon offsets, there
could also be a real danger that governments of the Global
North will water down their emissions reductions at home and
buy offsets instead. This won’t bring us any further in the global
climate agenda, since offsets essentially amount to a license
to emit and could lead to a reduced emphasis on local climate
action in areas such as transport and buildings, among others.
REDD+ mechanisms are also hard to monitor and – by placing
a narrow focus on emissions – fail to address deforestation via
pic: Neil Palmer/CIAT for CIFOR www.cifor.org; Paddling on the Amazon river, Brazil.
mega-projects. While REDD+ is often hailed as an instrument
for forest protection, this is not necessarily the main focus;
forest plantations and monocultures, both destructive in their
own right, are also very much part of the REDD+ strategy.
Despite all this, it seems that many governments with tropical
rainforests are looking to fulfil a large part of their carbon
reduction duties via such mechanisms.
A socially acceptable alternative that would unite both climate
action and sustainable development goals goes by the name of
the Indigenous REDD+ or RIA, the REDD Indigena Amazónico.
Originally conceived by COICA , the Coordinator of the
Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin, for their area
of influence but very much applicable to other forested areas,
RIA is an approach to climate action based on the sustainable
maintenance of Indigenous territories. The idea is as simple
as it is cost effective: grant legal recognition to Indigenous
territories and support the inhabitants of the land in doing
what they have been doing for millennia – taking care of their
forests. The plan not only averts greenhouse gas emissions, it
brings widespread social and ecological benefits, safeguarding
both Indigenous livelihoods and complex forest ecosystems.
For more than 25 years, Climate Alliance member
municipalities have been acting in partnership with indigenous
rainforest peoples for the benefit of the global climate. With
over 1,700 members spread across 26 European countries,
Climate Alliance is the world’s largest city network dedicated
to climate action. climatealliance.org
Concrete actions for effective transformation
Christino Áureo da Silva
State Government of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Paris is the centre of discussions in
2015 about global efforts to tackle
climate change. The Cities and Regions
Pavilion of the United Nations Conference
of Parties – COP 21 – brings together
subnational governments committed to
dealing with the climate change.
On the top of the agenda is the importance of local engagement
to increase the effectiveness of the global climate treaties
signed and revised each year by Heads of State. This year the
State of Rio de Janeiro was selected to present its experience,
which focused on farmers’ leadership in transitioning to a
rural development model based on low carbon agriculture
integrated with sustainable management of natural resources
For a decade, sustainable development has been a core
principle of the State Secretariat of Agriculture of Rio de
Janeiro. Through the Rio Rural Programme, smallholders of the
state have been stimulated to adopt more efficient production
techniques, reconciling income generation and environmental
preservation and improving living conditions in the countryside.
pic: JPBR-1512-3-B World Bank
As well as being a significant source of greenhouse gases
emissions, agriculture is also a sector that is extremely
vulnerable to effects of climate change, like extended droughts,
floods and disruption of production cycles. Rio Rural breaks
the logic of degradation in order to foster environmental and
economic sustainability, and consequently lead to better
practices being adopted by farmers.
By 2018 USD 233 million will be invested in sustainable
development activities, with financial support from the World
Bank. It is expected that 48,000 farmers will benefit from
such intervention programmes, improving land management
over 2 million hectares, conserving 45 thousand kilometres of
watercourses and putting in place 6 thousand kilometers of
rural roads upgrades.
Furthermore, positive impacts of sustainable agriculture can
also be seen from a qualitative perspective: along with water
preservation and the systemic neutralisation of greenhouse
gases, changing behaviours and priorities of rural actors is
a significant achievement. In this regard, the United Nations
have already acknowledged the concrete results of Rio Rural
as a successful experience of water resources management
and sustainable development, as the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) reported in March, 2015.
What would be the basic premise for achieving the climate
goals, if not individual and group behavioural transformation?
It is not a coincidence that Rio Rural’s approach, focused on
awareness raising and participation, was chosen to feature in
the climate conference.
pic: Icaro Cooke Vieira for CIFOR www.cifor.org
In order to achieve this, Rio Rural carries out a strategy aligned
with COP21’s objectives including: promoting technological
transfer and capacity building, adaptation of production
systems for mitigation of environmental impacts, financing
mechanisms for sustainable projects, and transparency and
The programme’s activities are also consistent with the recently
adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those
on water and sanitation, agriculture and soil protection, gender
equality, eradication of poverty, and infrastructure enhancement.
In addition to strong political commitment at the global level,
the support of regional leaders in building and implementing
technical solutions for a sustainable model of development
is also critical to foster transformation of common practices
to face climate challenges. In Paris, the State of Rio de
Janeiro reinforces its engagement to cooperate with other
governments, enhancing partnerships with multilateral
development agencies in order to integrate resources and
strengthen a vision of global sustainability.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christino Áureo da Silva is the Secretary of Agriculture and
Livestock of the State Government of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Biomass energy and forests: finding the
Many countries are currently expanding
their use of biomass for electricity
and heat as part of their efforts to
reduce carbon emissions. But the current
greenhouse gas accounting framework fails
to account for a significant quantity of
the real emissions from biomass use.
In 2011, biomass accounted for about eight per cent of total
renewable electricity generation; International Energy Agency
projections suggest this could triple over the next twenty
years. Wood, and particularly wood pellets, is the biomass fuel
of choice. EU member states are the main source of demand,
and their consumption exceeds EU production; in recent years
imports have grown substantially, mainly from the US and also
from Canada and Russia.
Policy frameworks generally treat biomass energy as zerocarbon,
in the same way as other renewables like solar or wind.
This is thanks to the greenhouse gas inventory and reporting
guidance developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change. In order to avoid double counting emissions
from forest biomass – within both the energy sector, when the
biomass is burned, and the land-use sector, when the biomass
is harvested – the rules provide that emissions should be
reported within the land-use sector only. This was a rational
decision, but problems arise because of the different ways in
which emissions are counted in the land-use sector. In practice,
accounting of biomass emissions in the energy sector are not
being fully balanced by accounting in the land-use sector.
Kyoto Protocol parties were given a choice of baselines for
forest management. Three chose to use historic baselines
(as in other sectors, e.g. energy), and 34 business-as-usual
baselines, where only changes in emissions compared to what
was expected to occur are accounted for. And the problem is
that a number of countries included significant increases in
biomass energy use in their projections, which will therefore
not be counted against their national emissions targets. And
they won’t be counted against the emissions targets of the
country in which the biomass is used for energy. Effectively,
they are ‘missing’ emissions.
Another problem arises if the source of the biomass lies
outside the control framework – as is now the case with the US,
a Kyoto non-party; EU emissions from US-sourced biomass
are currently completely unaccounted for. Hopefully this won’t
be a problem with any new agreement.
What is the volume of missing emissions? Unfortunately it is
not possible to tell, because national data isn’t complete. We
do know, however, that in 2012 Annex I countries in aggregate
emitted almost 900 MtCO2 from biomass combustion, about
five per cent of total Annex I greenhouse gas emissions. Some
of that will have been accounted for in the land-use sector; a
significant proportion of it won’t.
pic: Marcus Kauffman; A newly cut hybrid poplar stump, the cut base will sprout many new
shoots – known as coppicing, this increases the amount of biomass. hardwoodbiofuels.org
Under the right conditions, biomass energy has a future in
efforts to combat climate change. But at the moment a quirk
of the accounting rules has created a perverse incentive for
countries to invest in biomass energy, counting it as a carbonneutral
source even when a proportion of the associated
emissions in the land-use sector are going unaccounted for.
The focus of the arguments in Paris this week is whether to
include land-use and forest emissions in reporting at all. There
are clearly good arguments to include it – but if that is the
decision made, parties need to fix the loophole that can allow
biomass energy emissions to go unreported. We need more
detail on the type, source and country of origin of the biomass
used, full reporting of emissions from the land-use sector, and
consistency in national reporting from the land-use and from
the energy sectors. In this way we can move towards a system
that accurately reflects the atmospheric impacts of forestbased
For more detail on this issue, including a series of national
case studies, see the paper ‘Forest-based biomass energy
accounting under the UNFCCC: finding the “missing”
carbon emissions’, from Chatham House (Royal Institute of
International Affairs, UK). For a copy, please email Jens Hein
(email@example.com). The paper will be published as
part of a broader study on the impacts of biomass energy on
forests and the climate in 2016.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Duncan Brack is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.
Regenerative strategies for climate justice
Rice has been cultivated in the East
Indian state of Odisha since ancient
times, its fertile land and running
rivers supporting paddy cultivation
as the mainstay of its people. Odisha
is similar to the Latin word for rice
(Oryza) and some believe the name of the
State derives from the crop known as
Oryza Sativa, also known as Asian rice.
Koraput is a district of Odisha known for its abundance of
paddy fields as well as many varieties of millets, yam, and tuber
crops, which are gradually vanishing due to the introduction
of cash crops and genetically modified (GM) seeds, and the
increasing impact of climate change.
pic: May East; Sabitri Sawnta
In Odisha, 70 per cent of the population is dependent on
agriculture. Although endowed with rich natural resources,
66.2 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line,
earning just 28,400 Rupees per capita a year, the fourth
lowest income of the 17 major Indian states according to the
Economic Report Survey 2014-2015.
In partnership with the NGO THREAD and the women’s
federation Orissa Nari Samaj, and funded by the Scottish
Government, we have been supporting tribal communities
from the Koraput District to strengthen their agro-ecological
production, whilst attempting to address the deeper structural
changes needed to tackle the root causes of poverty and
The project aims to break the cycle of food insecurity,
strengthen social linkages and improve the status of women.
Through permaculture and sustainable farming practices, the
project is improving the health of the soils, diversifying the
crops, enhancing the villagers’ livelihoods and wellbeing. This
is exemplified by Sabitri Sawnta from Dangapaiguda Village
who sustains 33 types of vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and
flowers in her kitchen garden of 45 m 2 .
Tragically it is those who have contributed the least to
greenhouse gas emissions that are suffering the worst
effects of climate change. We are constantly developing new
climate resilient agriculture approaches which are very close
to the traditional ways of food growing. Drought tolerant
plants combined with mulching, fortified composting, vermicomposting
vermiculture, herbal pesticides, green manures
have so far significantly improved the productivity of their soils
and the nutrition of their meals.
The heart of the project is the campaign ‘Grow your own
Food’ to counteract so called ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’
(CSA) techniques. CSA encourages the use of modified seeds,
chemical pesticides, and synthetic fertilisers, as well as highrisk
technologies, such as synthetic biology, nano-technology
and geo-engineering. This imposition of new biotechnology
has been particularly damaging for farmers in India. As one
leading expert put it: “For the world’s small farmers, there
is nothing smart about this. It is just another way to push
pic: May East; Seedlings distribution
corporate controlled technologies into their fields and rob
them of their land”.
The Grow your Own Food campaign has two key components:
a community learning element incorporating ecovillage and
permaculture approaches, combined with seed preservation
and distribution of seedlings of various fruits and vegetables.
The monsoon is the real Minister of Agriculture of India as it
controls the course of farming. This year, a late and insufficient
monsoon has created difficulties for the kitchen gardens of the
villagers. Instead of the usual two and half months of rain,
the region received only 15 days. The women still managed
to plant their saplings but the harvest was small. New wateruse
efficiency techniques for vegetable cultivation have been
introduced through our training programmes and next year,
biochar techniques will also be taught to keep up the moisture
in the soil when there is no rain.
The constant change in the environment of our partners in
the Global South creates an imperative for constant learning.
However, learning is an organic, internal process and ultimately
our role can only be to support the emergence of locally
adapted learning responses.
Gaia Education is one voice amongst thousands calling and
acting for climate justice. As world leaders consider their next
steps, we join in solidarity with the women of Odisha who, in
the face of looming crisis, are tackling climate change in their
own dignified manner.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
May East is Chief International Officer of Gaia Education.
INTASAVE Asia-Pacific INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE Group
Climate change is likely to impact food
security at multiple dimensions of the
global, national and local food chains.
Food production, processing, distribution,
purchasing, consumption and disposal are
vulnerable in an uncertain climate. At the
same time, all stages of the food chain
contribute towards global warming. Policies
and actions are needed to synergise
adaptation and mitigation in food chains.
How China adapts to these shifts will have broad impacts –
not only on the livelihoods and business ventures of farmers,
but also far beyond China’s borders in terms of its influence
on regional and global agricultural markets and international
water negotiations. To date, China is not a net importer of
grain. Any significant reductions in China’s grain yields will
have important implications for global food prices and
commodity markets, as well as regional food security.
The solutions to building resilience and reducing emissions
in food production do not just rest with a Paris treaty at
COP but closer to home. Climate change is not the only
stressor on China’s agriculture. Rather, it enhances the
existing issues already in play. Socio-economic, environmental
and political change processes – a growing population;
increasing demand for meat, dairy and wheat; pollution;
urbanisation – all act synergistically with climate change to
negatively impact agriculture.
The challenges are significant. Building agricultural resilience
to climate change and other socioeconomic shocks and
shifts will require a range of policies, as well as shifts in
cropping practices and natural resource management, better
coordination between policy making and implementing bodies,
and a stronger integration of science and policy. Behavioural
and socio-economic shifts on a national and local level are just
as key to adapting to the new challenges facing China’s sector.
pic: UN Photo/John Isaac www.unmultimedia.org/photo/
A woman works in a rice field near Chengdu, Sichuan
In China, climate change is projected to have largely negative
effects on farming and presents real risks for China’s ability
to feed its population. Extreme weather events are becoming
more frequent, intense and varied throughout the country.
Droughts are covering increasing expanses of Northern
China and exacerbating rates of desertification and soil loss;
by contrast, in southern and south-western areas, extreme
precipitation events have contributed to more intense floods,
mudslides and significant crop losses. These shifts, combined
with significant warming across most of China in recent
decades, have generated a number of impacts on crops and
The main impacts posed by these changes are a possible
decline in crop yield, as well as increased risk of crop loss
from extreme weather events, and a growth in pests, plant
diseases and weeds. Take rice for example. It is estimated
that 35 per cent of the world’s rice is grown in China; rice
crops cover a quarter of all the country’s cultivated land.
However, if no adaptation measures are taken, the country’s
total rice output may see strong declines by 2050, of greater
than 40 per cent.
The government of China has been undertaking reforms in
a few key areas. Since the 1970s, it has been investing in
agricultural research and productivity-enhancing techniques
and technologies, such as high-yield seeds and agricultural
equipment. These activities have been key drivers in increasing
agricultural yields, as well as large-scale investments to improve
water efficiency and limit arable land conversion. Important
steps are also being taken to integrate and coordinate water
resource management with agricultural policy.
Tackling climate-related food insecurity also requires
reframing that to link adaptation and mitigation, and look at
areas of synergy between the two distinctions. Adaptation
and mitigation measures within the food systems can reduce
climate risk and increase resilience. China is prepared to
share its knowledge and experience in various sustainable
agricultural management practices through the growing
South-South Cooperation initiatives. The adaptation choices
and decisions China makes will also bring valuable insights to
climate change adaptation in other parts of the world.
The above was adapted for use in Outreach magazine from
‘Climate Risk and Resilience in China’, a detailed study in how
China has been working to understand and respond to climatic
risk. For more information, see: http://www.intasave.org/Who-
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Rebecca Nadin is Regional Director of INTASAVE Asia-Pacific.
Sarah Opitz-Stapleton is a Senior Scientist and Head of
Climate Resilience with the INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE Group.
Side events calendar
DATE TIME VENUE TITLE ORGANISERS
WEDNESDAY 9th DECEMBER
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 04
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 12
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 03
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 01
12.30 - 13.15
Workshop Forum, La Galerie
des Solutions, Musée de l'Air
et de l'Espace - Le Bourget
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 03
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 04
Risks of Irreversible Climate Impacts from Cryosphere:
Permanent Changes to the Earth System
The IPCC at a Crossroads: Enhancing the Usefulness of IPCC to
the UNFCCC Process
Low carbon/emission development and growth: Towards New
Regime from Paris
Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground: the International Movement
to Ban Fracking
Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative: The cost of inaction -
recognising the value at risk from climate change.
Succeeding INDCs implementation in the Maghreb region –
identifying opportunities and challenges
National and Regional Adaptation to Mediterranean Climate
Change: Forests, Landscape and Beyond
International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), Climate Policy Center
(CPC), The Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC)
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Stanford University
Keidanren, Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute
(GISPRI), Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), New Energy and
Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Franciscans International (FI), Mercy
International Association (MIA), Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 12 Levering co-benefits: the role of markets and trade United Nations (UN)
15:00—16:30 Observer rm 08
15:00—16:30 Observer rm 04
Multi-Level Climate Governance: An integrated analysis of
National, Regional and Local Policies
Meat: the big omission from the talks on emissions. Public
understanding and policy options
15:00—16:30 Observer rm 10 Pathways to a low-carbon economy
15:00—16:30 Observer rm 03
16:45—18:15 Observer rm 01
16:45—18:15 Observer rm 04
Planet at the Crossroads: Advancing Nature Based Solutions to
Climate Change after Paris
Building a resilient Pacific through effective weather climate
and early warning systems
The Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan (GABAR)
Programme: A new green growth initiative
16:45—18:15 Observer rm 12 Scaling-up investment in clean energy in developing countries
16:45—18:15 Observer rm 02
18:30—20:00 Observer rm 01
How Can the 2015 Agreement Drive Energy Sector
Transformation and Climate Tech Transfer/Development?
Translating ambition into action: Developing the German
Climate Action Plan 2050
18:30—20:00 Observer rm 12 Addressing Near-term Climate Change with Multiple Benefits
Montenegro, Keren Kayemet LeIsrael/The Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF)
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), University Luigi Bocconi, Institute
of Energy and Environment Economics and Policy (IEFE), University of
Humane Society International (HSI), Brighter Green, Chatham House
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),
University of Cambridge
IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature, Conservation
International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP),
International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Jamaica
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), Institute
of Development Studies (IDS), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH
International Energy Agency (IEA), Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Germany, Oeko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology e.V.), Berlin
Netherlands, Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Institute for Advanced Sustainability
Studies (IASS), Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development
(IGSD), Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD), Peru
18:30—20:00 Observer rm 03 Health central to Climate Change action Monaco, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), WHO Europe
18:30—20:00 Observer rm 10
Mobilising Resources at Scale for the Green Climate Fund:
"Looking Beyond Paris"
Green Climate Fund (GCF)
Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative: The cost of inaction – recognising the value
at risk from climate change.
Date and Time: Wednesday 9th Dec @12.30pm
Venue: Workshop Forum, La Galerie des Solutions, Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace – Le Bourget
• Joakim Reiter – Deputy Secretary-General, UNCTAD (tbc)
• Fiona Reynolds – Managing Director, UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment
• Steve Waygood – Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors
• Monica Woodley – Editorial Director, Economist Intelligence Unit
Background: Financial markets have a key role to play in tackling climate change. However
a lack of available data means that markets all too often undermine, rather than support,
environmental sustainability. In 2008 UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, the United Nations
Environment Programme and the UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment
teamed up to establish the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative with the aim of
improving sustainability disclosure amongst listed companies. The initiative has been
hugely successful with over 40 stock exchanges across the world now seeking to encourage
companies to disclose environmental data. However given the scale of the climate
challenge, more still needs to be done.
Reflections from COP21, Tuesday 8 December
World Future Council
Friends of the Earth Scotland
While national negotiators work on
a climate deal, mayors from around
the world are showing that a global
movement of local climate action is
already underway. Cities from around the
world have set 100 per cent renewable
energy (100% RE) targets and are
proving that this transition is not only an
environmental requirement, but a tool
for social and economic development.
What they urgently need now is national
governments to leverage their action.
Cities are uniquely positioned to combat
climate change in a way that it serves
the need of the people. However, mayors
can only act in the context of the broader
national framework. This was one of the
outcomes of a policy dialogue with 13
cities from Europe, North America, South
America, Africa, Asia and Australia hosted
by World Future Council, Renewable Cities
and ICLEI on Monday in the Transformative
Actions Program (TAP) Pavilion.
By sharing their experiences on
successes and failures, local policymakers
from cities including Vancouver,
Cape Town, Medellin, Paris, Byron Shire
and Kaoshiung outlined how national
frameworks can either empower or slow
down city-level action.
The dialogue showed that with the 100%
RE movement gaining momentum, new
questions arise: What does 100% RE
actually mean? How do we measure
success? And, how do we ensure that the
transition to 100% RE is an instrument
towards wealth redistribution, creation of
social wellbeing and the protection of our
With around 1000 mayors signing a
declaration last Friday at the Climate
Summit for Local Leaders in Paris, the
global 100% RE movement of local
governments has reached a stage that
national governments cannot ignore
anymore. It is highly encouraging to see
this dialogue among city governments
taking place at COP21. One can be
hopeful that policy-makers from different
governance levels start talking to each
other. Because only then, can we actually
achieve our common goal – to limit global
warming to 1.5oC and save the lives of
millions of people across the planet.
An exceptional number of pledges have
been made to eliminate deforestation
from places of raw material supply.
Yesterday, the Rainforest Alliance and
partners discussed the critical needs
for companies and governments to
halt deforestation due to agricultural
expansion. As reducing emissions caused
from forest loss is vital in addressing
climate change, the Rainforest Alliance is
pushing for robust ambition in the land
sector, primarily by halting deforestation.
In Paris, we identified several
implementation gaps that impede
corporate actions to stop deforestation.
These problems include lack of
consistency in monitoring, verification,
reporting, and communicating about
progress. We noted that there is no
existing international framework to bring
credibility to these actions. Rainforest
Alliance introduced an Accountability
Framework that provides common
principles to approaches that can level
the playing field.
Importantly, an Accountability
Framework will foster agreement on best
practice guidance for means to monitor,
document, and report on sustainability
outcomes. This harmonisation is essential
for furnishing comparable, credible
information on key indicators that track
progress towards targets related to
deforestation, restoration, equitable
development, and the fulfillment of future
In developing this harmonised framework,
the project will work closely with existing
and incipient monitoring, verification,
and reporting initiatives. By defining
a clear normative and operational
guidance for such mechanisms, the
Accountability Framework will help ensure
that the diversity of solutions devised to
address commodity-related sustainability
challenges all meet basic standards
of rigor and credibility, contributing
to the ultimate goal of safeguarding
natural ecosystems, fostering equitable
development, and sustainably producing
food and fibre.
On Monday, environmental and
development justice groups held the event,
‘Deal with it! People, Rights, Justice’, to
look at the potential consequences of a
bad deal in Paris.
Invoking the event title ‘Deal With it’, Asad
Rehman from Friends of the Earth spoke
of how the poorest around the world were
already dealing with the impact of climate
change. 10 per cent of the richest people
are responsible for 50 per cent of global
emissions. He said that every citizen has
the right to clean energy, the right to food
and the right to life and any deal that fails
to meet these criteria and fails to meet
what the science demands is not a deal
worth having. He called on rich nations to
back up their warm words by doing their
fair share and guaranteeing support for
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon
spoke of her pride at their own national
emission reduction targets and how she
wanted to see an ambitious and binding
deal here in Paris. She announced that
her Government has doubled their climate
justice fund supporting clean energy and
water projects in Malawi and Zambia.
This 12 million pound fund was ‘a small
step but an important statement from a
country determined to do the right thing’.
Many in the crowd were moved by
Julianne Hickey of Caritas New Zealand
who showed how the Paris agreement is
a matter of life and death for many in
the Oceania region. People on the islands
there who have had no part in creating
the climate crisis are fending off already
rising sea levels with little more than
sticks and stones. Many families there
have been forced from their homelands
and others were waiting on even basic
financial support to relocate them.
This powerful event brought the human
stories of climate change right into
the room and reinforced the point that
solutions must be just, centred in human
rights and ensure that those most
responsible do their fair share of the work
and provide finance.
Outreach is made possible by the support of