Policy Watch: UN climate talks wrap up, Indonesia approves landmark forest protection deal, and Africa’s largest solar plant close to breaking ground

, December 2012

 

This week, climate policy headlines from around the world include results from the UN climate talks, Indonesia approving a conservation deal that will protect 200,000 acres of forest, and Norway contributing $180 million to help Brazil slow deforestation.

Elinor Benami, Chiara Trabacchi, and Xueying Wang contributed headlines to this edition of Policy Watch.

UN climate talks extend Kyoto Protocol, promise compensation
The summit established for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change. Developing nations hailed it as a breakthrough, but condemned the gulf between the science of climate change and political attempts to tackle it.

The deal, agreed by nearly 200 nations, extends to 2020 the Kyoto Protocol. It is the only legally-binding plan for combating global warming. The deal covers Europe and Australia, whose share of world greenhouse gas emissions is less than 15%.

But the conference also cleared the way for the Kyoto protocol to be replaced by a new treaty binding all rich and poor nations together by 2015 to tackle climate change. The final text “encourages” rich nations to mobilize at least $10bn (£6bn) a year up to 2020, when the new global climate agreement is due to kick in. Full article.

Indonesia approves landmark forest protection project
Indonesia approved a rainforest conservation project that sets aside an area roughly the size of Singapore and rewards investors with tradable carbon credits in the first of its kind to win formal backing in the country.

Four years in the making, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve will protect nearly 80,000 hectares (200,000 acres), much of it carbon-rich peat swamp forest at risk of being felled for palm oil plantations. Full article.

Norway to pay Brazil $180 million for slowing deforestation
Norway has promised $1 billion each to Brazil and Indonesia for protecting their tropical rainforests and warned Jakarta earlier this year that its progress in reforming its forestry sector will not be sufficient to meet its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020.

Deforestation in Brazil fell to the lowest level in 24 years in 2012, its government said, and Thursday’s agreement brings Norway’s total contribution to the Amazon Fund to $670 million.

“These efforts have tremendous positive effects for biodiversity, the livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples, and local and global rainfall patterns,” Baard Vegar Solhjell Norway’s environment minister said. Full article.

Africa’s largest solar power plant to be built in Ghana
The largest solar power plant in Africa will be built in Ghana, the British company behind the plan said on Tuesday.

Source of much of the world’s cocoa and an increasingly significant oil producer, Ghana’s new drive to exploit the sun’s energy is predicted to create hundreds of jobs and increase the country’s electricity capacity by 6%, as well as cutting emissions.

Blue Energy, the renewable energy developer behind the $400m project, which has built a solar farm 31 times smaller outside Swindon, said the 155MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant will be fully operational by October 2015. Construction on the Nzema project is due to begin near the village of Aiwiaso in western Ghana by the end of 2013, with the installation of some 630,000 PV modules. Full article.

 

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