World Rainforest Movement

World Bank Biocarbon Fund’s “two-window” approach runs counter to climate deal

 

 

To governments and civil society committed to halting climate change and reducing fossil fuel emissions at source, the latest developments at the BioCarbon Fund must be worrying. The fund’s ‘two-window’ approach aims at re-opening the door for carbon sink credits from conservation projects even though governments clearly excluded credits from this project type to be used by industrialised countries to achieve their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The BioCarbon Fund is one of three funds operated by the World Bank to service the carbon commodities market. It was announced in November 2002 and aims at producing and brokering carbon credits to governments and companies destined to fulfill their Kyoto emission reductions through carbon sink credits rather than by achieving real emission cuts at source.

Recently the fund announced that it will operate two separate ‘windows’: “One for land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities potentially eligible for credit under the Kyoto Protocol; the other for diverse carbon sequestration and conservation projects that produce verified ERs, potentially eligible under emerging carbon management programs.” Elsewhere on the fund’s website (www.biocarbonfund.org), the BioCarbon Fund states another of its intentions: to “provide [Parties] with insights on activities that they may wish to consider for subsequent commitment periods.”

Thus scarce funding, which could be spent on promoting truly renewable energy projects, will be spent on activities whose contribution to halting climate change is more than questionable. The fund’s announcement to offer credits from conservation projects also runs counter to the decision taken by governments in the climate negotiations to exclude this very project type from the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism.

The statements on the BioCarbon Fund’s web page also indicate clearly that the World Bank’s involvement has gone far beyond merely acting as a broker. The decision to accept conservation projects shows that the Bank is set to actively shape the discussions about the eligibility of conservation projects in the Clean Development Mechanism in the second and further commitment periods by fostering such projects even though they are currently not eligible to the CDM.

This is totally unacceptable. Governments must act immediately to ensure that the World Bank will not predetermine the outcome of discussions about the role of sinks in the Kyoto Protocol’s CDM after 2012.

By: Jutta Kill, SinksWatch, e-mail: jutta@fern.org

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