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First ever standards linking climate change, biodiversity and poverty seek global peer review

08.06.2004


Global collaboration between private sector, conservation groups and academia seek practical solutions to fight global warming while conserving biodiversity and alleviating poverty



The first ever set of standards certifying land use projects that reduce global warming while conserving the environment and alleviating poverty have been opened up for global peer review and comment by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA).

This "multiple benefit" approach which incorporates climate, environmental and social issues addresses shortfalls in existing land-based climate strategies. With input from environmental organizations, academic institutions and the private sector, the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards will help companies, conservation organizations, governments and international funding groups to efficiently identify cost-effective carbon emission reduction projects that also have a positive impact on biodiversity and local communities.


The CCBA members include: BP, Conservation International, GFA Terra Systems, the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, Intel, The Nature Conservancy, Pelangi, and SC Johnson. Other institutions helping refine the standards and ensure broad input include the World Agroforestry Center (formerly ICRAF) in Kenya, the Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensanansa (CATIE) based in Costa Rica, and the Center for International Forestry Research based in Indonesia.

"Integrated projects are the most immediate and realistic solutions to combat biodiversity loss, reduce poverty and fight climate change," said John-O Niles, CCBA project manager. "The standards will help the private sector and government funding agencies identify multiple-benefit projects that solve three pressing global problems. The standards will also ensure that land management efforts do not narrowly address one important problem while ignoring or exacerbating others."

All parties interested in reviewing and commenting on the standards can do so online at www.climate-standards.org. The first stage of the public comment period runs from June 7th through July 15th, 2004. Field-testing and a second round of comments will take place later this year.

"We hope this first draft of the CCB Standards will stimulate a broad set of comments and perspectives from around the world," said Michael Dutschke, staff member with the Hamburg Institute of International Economics. "With a wide range of input, the next draft of the standards will be an improved, collaborative effort that includes the views of stakeholders outside the original members of our Alliance."

The CCB standards are primarily designed for projects that mitigate or adapt to climate change. Climate change land use projects, also called land use, land-use change and forestry projects and abbreviated LULUCF, reduce or prevent emissions (e.g., conservation of threatened ecosystems), sequester carbon (e.g., ecosystem restoration, reforestation, agro-forestry, afforestation) or develop substitutes for fossil fuels (bioenergy projects). The Standards, however, can evaluate land management projects outside of the climate change arena. The Standards will work in developing, developed or emerging economies and can be used for projects with private investment, public investment or a combination.

"The CCBA offers Intel the opportunity to efficiently address several important global issues in one organization," said Terry McManus, Intel Fellow, Intel Corporation.

"We hope that these standards will influence the array of policies that are emerging at the state, national and international level. Current policies to reduce global warming emissions do not do enough to encourage land use projects with biodiversity and social benefits," said Tia Nelson, Director of the Climate Change Initiative at the Nature Conservancy. "With these new standards we have a chance to change that and ensure multiple environmental gains."

The CCB Standards will ensure that land management projects using the Standards deliver clear and compelling benefits for the climate, biodiversity and communities. To earn certification, a project must satisfy minimum requirements in each of these areas. A project must also score 50 out of 100 points for each of the components. This scoring system will also enable CCB-rated projects to be compared with one another.

The scoring system will look at several factors in the three integrated categories:
  • Climate Change: The climate standards identify a variety of factors to quantify the amount of carbon emissions reduced or absorbed by land based projects including baselines, additionality, leakage, monitoring and the permanence of the climate benefit.

  • Community: The community standards identify land-based carbon projects that involve local communities in the design and operation of land management projects and produce real and verifiable benefits for project communities.

  • Biodiversity: The biodiversity standards identify projects that enhance landscape management by restoring and/or maintaining local plant and animal species populations, their associated genetic variability, and their habitats, restoring and/or maintaining biological connectivity, and conserving or enhancing water resources.

Overwhelming scientific evidence implicates greenhouse gases generated by human activity in changing the global climate. Simultaneously, record numbers of people subsist in poverty and massive biodiversity losses continue largely unabated. Making matters worse, these challenges reinforce one another. Climate change can exacerbate poverty and accelerate biodiversity loss. Poverty often forces local people to exploit their environment unsustainably. And degraded environments in turn can contribute to poverty and hasten climate change.

"With international input from the private sector, conservation community and academia, we can ensure that the CCB standards are more than just an academic exercise, but rather a practical tool that will produce real conservation and community outcomes," said Michael Totten, Conservation International’s Senior Director of Climate. "Broad based feedback from all stakeholders will only further strengthen the work that has been done."

CCB certified projects will counter climate change, promote sustainable development and conserve or restore biodiversity. In addition to these tangible benefits, integrated efforts can attract a unique portfolio of investors and resources. For example, a reforestation project - with clear multiple benefits - may attract private investors for carbon credits, government money for sustainable development and private conservation dollars for biodiversity activities.

On the other hand, poor quality land management can hasten climate change, damage ecosystems and harm community livelihoods. An example of an inferior project is a non-native plantation that blocks migratory routes of key species and illegally evicts local people. Some inferior projects will cause harm, while others may cause tradeoffs between climate change mitigation, sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.

This draft marks the beginning of a broad, international review. Community groups, non-profit organizations, companies, academics, government agencies and individuals are encouraged to review this draft and suggest improvements. All types of comments are welcome: critiques, improvements, specific language changes and comments on the overall structure. A review team will consider comments and revise the Standards accordingly. The review team includes the original authors and three world-class advising institutions. After the revisions, a second draft of the Standards will be re-posted on the website for additional comments. Simultaneously, the revised Standards will be field-tested at a dozen sites around the world. Based on field-testing and further comments, the review team will again modify the standards into a final form. The final CCB Standards will be distributed and available on the Internet in late 2004 or early 2005.

Jason W. Anderson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.climate-standards.org
http://www.conservation.org/

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