Thursday, December 10, 2009

French Government Makes Forests Count!

France jumped way out in front in the campaign to Make Forests Count today!

In a very bold environmental move, the French climate Ambassador Brice Lalonde served notice to the rest of the European Union that it would be opposing the EU's current position in support of a logging loophole in the Copenhagen Climate Agreement that would allow countries to hide increased emissions from logging, thereby weakening their targets.

France's proposal is for the EU to agree to collectively account for all changes in emissions in its forests since 1990 - the year for which all other sectors are measured. The EU member states that have argued this would result in too many emissions on their books would be helped by sharing the 'burden' of these impacts across all EU countries. France has specifically stepped up to shoulder some of the burden from emissions in other countries.

France made the proposal formally tonight at an EU heads of state meeting in Brussels. If France succeeds in turning the EU's position, it would be a *huge* boost to making forests count in the Copenhagen climate agreement and remove one of the irritant loopholes that undermine real action on climate change.

I had the pleasure to sit in the conference room of the French delegation's office while Ambassador Lalonde made the statement to the press. It was very exciting because, as a colleague put it, "This is a really green move by France in an area usually filled with unrelenting cheating and gloom." This really was the most positive development in the last three years on this issue. I was even moved to congratulate the Ambassador in a French that I can only assume was considered cute rather than convincing.

The move earned France the Ray of the Day award, a new award started by the Climate Action Network at the Copenhagen Climate Conference to honour truly exceptional acts of green that push the negotiations forward.

Here's a story from AFP.


tallandsmall said...

Hi Chris,
Thanks for this. Nice to see CAN highlighting positive actions! How do you see this playing into the LULUCF consultations?

Anonymous said...

Hard to understand why France receives so much support from env. NGO`s, as it would benefit largely from a 1990 baseline (lots of young forests that grow despite the projected increase in biomass utilisation - have a look at the conclusions of "le grenelle environnement" - giving France millions of RMU`s for free)!
not to speak about their high share of nuclear energy (sustainability?) and their position on REDD (additionality?)

Chris Henschel said...

Actually, the comment that was made about France's self-motivation is apparently not true. A cornerstone of their proposal is to take on the burden of debits from other EU member states, possibly even more than their share.

They appear to be motivated by environmental integrity, a strong precedent for REDD and the desire for real accounting that makes forest credits more likely to be considered worthy of carbon markets.