World Rainforest Movement

Argentina: storing German carbon in forests?

The issue of the environmental services that Southern countries can provide to Northern countries to mitigate the effects of global climate change is controversial. On the one hand there is the question of environmental justice at the global level, since those countries that are most responsible for the dangerous alteration of climate on Earth, instead of addressing the causes that are provoking it -for instance the unsustainable energy use and the huge emissions of CO2 by industry- are looking for doubtful and partial solutions, that can be bought for a low price in the South. Additionally, there is the question of who has got the right to participate in such kind of negotiations, as well as who will be the beneficiaries, and eventually who will be worst hit by them. The role of forests as carbon sinks and reservoirs is nowadays an important component of the discussions and negotiations that are taking place under the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

There are recent news about an agreement reached in November 1999 between the government of Chubut Province, in the southern region of Argentina, and the German foundation Prima Klima. The aim of the project is to share the management of a natural area and to obtain funds by means of the certification of carbon fixation during a period of 50 years. The area of the project includes the La Plata and Fontana watersheds in the foothills of the Patagonic Andes.

In a communique dated January 6th 2000, Greenpeace-Argentina -member of the Foro del Buen Ayre, a network of NGOs and institutions which activiely participated at the Climate Change Convention’s COP IV which met in November 1998 in Buenos Aires- severely questions the validity of such agreement, both from a technical and a legal point of view. Juan Carlos Villalonga, coordinator of GP-Argentina Energy Campaign, stated: “This kind of activities have a low level of reliability and their contribution to solve the problem of global climate change is poor.” At the same time, Greenpeace warned about the lack of established criteria to formulate and manage projects of generation of carbon bonds, especially when there is an interest to use the capacity of the forests to absorb and fix carbon. GP also considers that from a formal point of view the agreement should have been evaluated by the Argentinian Bureau for Joint Implementation (OAIC – Oficina Argentina de Implementación Conjunta), thus enabling civil society can take part in it.

For more information on this issue, please contact: Natalia Truchi, Press Office, Greenpeace – Argentina;