Press briefing from Friends of the Earth Scotland

Ahead of the United Nations climate talks in Cancún that start today (29 November), Friends of the Earth International calls on governments to reject the role of carbon markets in international climate agreements.

Carbon trading does not lead to real emissions reductions. It is a dangerous distraction from real action to address the structural causes of climate change. Developed countries should radically cut their carbon emissions through real change at home, not by buying offsets from other countries.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Chief Executive Duncan McLaren said: “Scotland is setting a good example to the world with the government’s commitment to avoid purchasing carbon credits to meet its targets. But Scotland should also commit to the domestic measures needed to deliver our 42% target for 2020 without gambling on enhanced reductions from the EU’s carbon trading scheme.”

Carbon offsetting has no benefits for the climate or for developing countries ­ it only benefits private investors and major polluters and allows rich countries to avoid their emission reduction commitments.

Friends of the Earth International chair Nnimmo Bassey said: “We have so little time to make the radical societal changes necessary to tackle climate change and safeguard our planet. Carbon trading should be immediately swept aside by governments and made history so that we can have a future. We are calling on rich industrialized countries to set us on a just, rapid transition towards decarbonization. Cancún will fail if they do not commit to steep domestic cuts with no offsets, and appropriate public finance which excludes the World Bank.”

Proposals related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) are progressing rapidly, but there is a major risk that they will be linked to carbon markets. This would lead to developed countries paying for forest offset projects that essentially privatize developing country forests in order to buy the right to pollute. Forest carbon offset schemes risk taking forest ownership out of the hands of local communities and prevent real action from rich industrialized countries to make their necessary emission cuts at home.

Climate finance ­ developed countries’ financial contributions to developing countries that suffer from climate change ­ also risks being linked to carbon markets. Friends of the Earth International calls on governments in Cancún to agree on the establishment of a global climate fund under the authority of the UNFCCC, with no role whatsoever for the World Bank.


For more information please contact:

Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

The 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be meeting in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 to 10 December 2010.

At the talks, Friends of the Earth International is calling for rich countries to cut their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020, without resorting to carbon offsetting, and for them to commit to this under a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ­ the internationally agreed mechanism for legally-binding emissions reduction targets.

Friends of the Earth International is also calling for public money to be made available for developing countries to grow sustainably and adapt to the effects of climate change already causing damage to their people¹s livelihoods and families.

The international campaigning federation is calling for this money to come from public sources, not carbon markets.

Friends of the Earth International believes that, because the price of carbon is notoriously unpredictable, this approach would do nothing to supply developing countries with the reliable sources of finance they need. Likewise, carbon trading does nothing to actually reduce emissions.

In addition, Friends of the Earth International believes the World Bank should play no part in providing, managing or distributing this money ­ its role in tackling climate change has already been discredited because it is one of the largest lenders for fossil fuel projects in the world.

Finally, the international, grassroots federation is also calling on Governments to not resort to finance for monoculture tree plantations and to end existing forest carbon trading proposals. An approach to deforestation must safeguard and enforce community rights.

Friends of the Earth International will be present at the United Nations climate talks in Cancún (COP 16) with a delegation of observers from member groups all over the world.

Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone’s future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life ­ helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children¹s futures will be better because of what we do. www.foe-scotland.org.uk