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The Luna talks?

About REDD, LULUCF and Luna-talks

By Simone Lovera, Sobrevivencia-Paraguay and Global Forest Coalition
 
Of course, when we arrived in Cancun and realized that the meeting venues were called Cancun Messe and Moon Palace, we already knew that these talks would be not only be a complete chaos, but that they would also be disconnected from the real world.

The gap between real life and the hot air, massive loopholes, false promises and other fallacies that marks these “luna-talks” was crystal clear last Tuesday. While happy negotiators blurred to the press there was “ progress”  on REDD, thousands of peasants, Indigenous Peoples and social movements marched on the streets in and around Cancun screaming “ No REDD”, “ No false solutions” and “ No carbon markets”.

Needless to say, the UNFCCC secretariat did its best to make sure nobody on the Moon was aware of these protests. There were no television screens covering the events on the streets, and when a group of youth delegates, Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and delegates tried to make the lunatics aware of what was happening through a media conference and a subsequent innocent protest they were charged with engaging in an “illegal action” – Read: “ making the voice of thousands of people heard.”

Mind you, these peasants and other people screaming “ No REDD” are the very women and men that live in and around the forests the REDD negotiators are trying to sell. These are the people who are kindly invited by the latest conference room paper on REDD to fully and effectively participate in actions related to REDD-related activities. These are the women and men pro-REDD NGOs and other carbon traders claim to speak for when they say that REDD will benefit Indigenous Peoples, local communities and women.

Yet, these women and men themselves think otherwise. They see a profit-oriented carbon trading system that will trample their rights and ignore their basic needs. They see so-called safeguards that will probably end up in the Guiness Book of Records for the “softest, weakest and most non-binding safeguard ever”  reward. They see a ridiculous forest definition and a subsequent massive expansion of monoculture tree plantations on the lands they need to produce food in these times of continuing hunger. They realize REDD will make them fully dependent on consultancy firms, conservation organizations, World Bank staff and other professional carbon counters who will reap at least 50% of all the REDD funding for monitoring, reporting and verification systems that add absolutely nothing to forest conservation itself. They see European foresters dressed up like professional carbon sellers on Forest Day promoting massive financial flows to REDD while at the same time claiming equally massive subsidies for industrial wood-based bio-energy that will dramatically increase the demand for wood and land – two of the main underlying causes of forest loss [1]. They see these same foresters promoting the most ludacrous loopholes in the LULUCF text, which would not only continue to promote a fundamentally flawed forest definition, but also create an accounting abyss that would make any second, third of fourth commitment period totally meaningless.
 
Of course, we cannot blame the average negotiator for loosing any sense of reality in Cancun . This FCCC process has run totally out of hand: An average delegation has to cover approximately 119 (!) issues today if one adds up all the formal agenda items and parallel negotiations listed in today’s daily program. This is already a challenge for the large, rich delegations that can put themselves to rest in their luxurious Moon Palace after dealing with this forest (or should we say eucalyptus plantation?) of issues, but there are at least 56 developing countries that have no or only 1 representative here in Cancun and most of them have to travel between 3 and 4 hours per day between their hotel and the negotiation venue.

No wonder people have become lunatics. No wonder the interests of smaller countries are being wiped of the table on a daily basis. And no wonder the masses on the street representing peoples living in and around forests would strongly prefer this total Cancun mess not to deal with the forests they have successfully conserved and restored for centuries, without any help of the World Bank, Jens Stoltenberg or other oil interests.
 
[1] see http://globalforest.dpi.nl/?p=869

10 Dec, 2010
Posted in Forests and Climate Change, News