Sunday, December 5, 2010

UN hailed Calderon for emotional tree planting program which he ignored as 90% of trees died, wasting Mexican citizen money

12/2/10, "Cancun climate change summit: one lesson not to learn from Calderon," UK Guardian, Tuckman

"Pragmatism, we are told, is the watchword for the United Nations' talks in Cancún where progress on issues such as how to stop the world's forests disappearing would allow hope to resurface that an overall deal on climate change is possible at some time in the future.
  • But in Mexico the debate over how best to help efforts to deal with deforestation is much more than a stepping stone to something else.
It is a major issue that affects huge swathes of a country and hundreds of communities...

The groups are in Cancún trying to plant the idea that the UN scheme supposed to
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation – should focus on sustainable community forest management. ...

Mexico also provides a rather less flattering lesson for the world than the government delegation at the Cancún talks is keen to publicise.

  • It is just too embarrassing, and not just for the hosts,
  • but for the UN as well.

When Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 he promised to be the greenest ever Mexican president. And one of the ways he set out to prove his commitment was by planting trees. Lots of trees. He started with a pine,

  • planted with his own bare hands alongside his young son and a speech

announcing that there would be 250m more where that came from before the season was out. By the end of the year the government was claiming that it had not only met the target, but would be repeating the effort in 2008. It was a feat that led the United Nations Environment Programme to heap praise and prizes on Calderon.

  • The problem was that by that time the original presidential tree, tendered with reverential care throughout the year, was one of the few left standing.

The vast majority were dying or already dead. After months ignoring exposés in the local media, the official auditor came out with a report in March 2009 that

Worse, the massive reforestation effort had taken funds away from supporting the community-based management schemes.

Though it never fully accepted the farce into which the massive reforestation programme had fallen, Calderon's government did appoint a new head of the national forestry commission who reassigned resources back to what works. Small communities looking after their own trees collectively."...

  • Reference: Countries believe simply not cutting down trees will get them (US) cash. Nigeria for example:

"Indications are that Nigeria will, at the end of the day, be allocated some funds – $3 million to $4 million – to prepare a REDD Readiness Plan (RPP) within two years. National REDD+ Programme Coordinator, Salisu Dahiru, said: “The RPP shows the plan of action and how it will be implemented, cost and timelines as well as the role of agencies. It indicates the country’s readiness to participate in the REDD carbon market, which officially commences in 2013.”
  • He adds that Nigeria will rake in “millions of dollars” from sold REDD credits when the market becomes fully operational. “In simple terms,
it is payment for keeping your forest standing.”"...


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