Cool COP Morning: Forest for the Trees

Written by David Connell on . Posted in Learn, The Wonk Room

We start this morning with a fairly scathing commentary from Brazilian political analyst Sergio Abranches on the physical environment of the COP and how the set-up has limited interactions between delegates, NGOs and the press.  For example, he notes that the press center is in a different building than where the delegates meet and hold press briefings. This results in an empty press center and limits the efficient distribution of news form the COP. NGOs are further isolated in the COP Climate Village.

Abranches notes that this results in an atmosphere where delegates talk to delegates, there are far too many informal and unofficial sidebar meetings, NGOs simply talk amongst themselves and the press is hindered in their ability to do distribute news and commentary. (Ecopolity)

Staying with Brazil, we have some good news and bad news coming out of the Amazon. First, the always excellent Mongabay reports that deforestation in Brazil has fallen to the lowest rate on record, putting it on track to meet its targets for reducing rainforest destruction. Amazon destruction dropped 14 percent in the 12 months ending July, 2010 compared to the same timeframe last year. However, Mongabay notes that Brazil is ramping up infrastructure development across the country threatenins to drive up forest destruction. (Mongabay)

In bad news for the Amazon, the forest is emerging from an extreme drought that led to record lows on some major rivers in the Amazon and an upsurge in forest fires. Preliminary studies on the 2010 drought show it was more severe than the 2005 drought in the regions, which was identifies as a 1-100 year event. In a recent study, Greg Asner, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science found that “higher temperatures and shifts in rainfall could leave as much as 37 percent of the Amazon so radically altered that the plants and animals living there now would be forced to adapt, move or die. When other man-made factors like logging are taken into account, the portion of affected forest could be as high as 81 percent.” (Climate Progress)

DARA International and a consortium of 11 countries has released a report detailing dire predictions for the future due to climate change. The report — which was been peer reviewed by 11 experts on on human health, climate science and disaster relief — finds that there are currently 350,000 climate-related deaths per year globally and that number could double by 2020 and triple by 2030. Not surprisingly, most of these impacts will be felt by the poorest parts of the world. However, the study notes that developed nations will experience economic and biodiversity losses due to climate change. (Mother Nature Network/Full report @ DARA International)

Todd Stern, America’s chief climate change negotiator has arrived in Cancun and reiterated his stance that the United States is looking for an all-or-nothing deal from COP 16. During a press briefing Stern said, the United States was seeking a “balanced set of decisions” that makes measurable progress on the six issues now before the conference: emissions reductions, technology transfers, adaptation, verification, financing and forest preservation.

“Anyone who says that any of these issues is too difficult or should be put off for another day is not trying hard enough,” he said. “None of these issues is too difficult for us and none of them should be put off.” (New York Times)

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