About $5 bn seen for forests in climate plan

About $5 bn seen for forests in climate plan

Oslo: Rich nations are likely to promise about $5 billion this month to protect forests in developing nations, raising past pledges as part of a drive to slow climate change, Norway said on Tuesday.

Environment minister Erik Solheim said the money, due to be outlined at ministerial talks in Oslo on 27 May, would add about $1.5 billion to the $3.5 billion outlined for 2010-12 by major donors at a UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December.

Protecting forests from the Amazon to the Congo is part of a shift in emphasis in 2010 towards practical actions to combat global warming after the Copenhagen summit failed to agree an over-arching new UN climate treaty.

“We hope to achieve around $5 billion at the Oslo meeting," Solheim told Reuters in a telephone interview from Germany after an informal meeting of about 45 environment ministers trying to revive negotiations after Copenhagen.

He said Germany, the European Union and Japan were among nations likely to add cash after Denmark. In Copenhagen the US, Norway, Australia, France and Japan promised a total of $3.5 billion to protect forests from 2010-12.

Solheim said that other ways of building trust between rich and poor nations included sharing green technologies such as wind or solar power and helping poor nations adapt to impacts of global warming such as droughts, floods and rising seas.

He said the Oslo conference aimed to set up a new partnership between rich and poor to save forests. Plants absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and deforestation accounts for 20% of emissions of the greenhouse gas from human activity.

Quick Start

The $5 billion is part of a wider goal of raising almost $30 billion for 2010-12 in quick-start funds under a non-binding Copenhagen Accord agreed at the summit. That plan also calls for $100 billion a year in aid for developing nations from 2020.

“Of course bigger money will be needed down the road," Solheim said. Norway, which has a $450 billion fund built on revenues from oil exports, has led donors in forest protection with projects from Brazil to Tanzania.

Solheim said the world would be unable to agree a new climate treaty at the next annual meeting of environment ministers in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November-10 December but could make progress on individual projects such as forestry.

“We want to make certain that money is flowing...We will not be able to solve all climate issues in Cancun," he said.

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