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.
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:
- He adds that Nigeria will rake in “millions of dollars” from sold REDD credits when the market becomes fully operational. “In simple terms,