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A breakdown in COP 18 negotiations in Doha?

The ongoing UNFCCC COP 18 climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar, broke down early Saturday (December 1, 2012) morning as Brazil reportedly blocked progress in last minute discussions to provide billions of dollars in finance to save rain forests  Observers believe that this failure in talks could potentially jeopardise the trajectory of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), an already wounded UN effort to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) in Doha, main venue of the COP 18

Brazil objected to the requests of many nations by refusing to allow verified emission reductions for reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD+). Earlier, other stubborn nations stalled talks for hours based on a different interpretation of the word “the”.

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Culley Thomas of the Tropical Forest Group, a leading US research and conservation organisation, stated: “Donor nations sent the signal loud and clear that finance to save forests would require verification. Catastrophically for our planet, Brazil refused to listen.”

These led key environmental talks breakdown despite a promising agreement on Friday between major REDD+ donor countries: the UK, US, Germany, Norway and Australia, which have invested billions of dollars in efforts to save rainforests despite a global recession, key elections and record unemployment. In London on Friday during talks headed by HRH Prince Charles, these large donors privately resolved to maintain momentum for the UN efforts on REDD+. The donors made it clear that if rainforest countries want help, they will need to go through some form of international verification process.

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Some parties suggested that Brazil’s abstinence during SBSTA resulted from its objections to REDD+ text in a separate track, the AWG-LCA (Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action). Since SBSTA closed on Saturday, negotiations on key provisions including monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) and reference levels will be punted to the intercessional SBSTA meeting in Bonn in midyear 2013.

Observers fear that the REDD financing could potentially collapse as nations lose faith in the UNFCCC’s ability to limit the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

The Tropical Forest Group is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation that catalyses policy, science and advocacy to conserve and restore the planet’s remaining tropical forests and is an accredited observer to the UNFCCC.

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