MILAN Rainforest nations will lobby the United Nations to set up a single body to coordinate the use of carbon credit trading to stop deforestation at a conference next month in Poland, an official from the countries said on Tuesday.
"A new body should be built to coordinate initiatives (on cutting emissions from deforestation) that are going around now," Federica Bietta, Deputy Director of New York-based Coalition for Rainforest Nations, which represents about 40 countries, told Reuters on the margins of a deforestation conference in Milan.
The Coalition and other supporters of the United Nations'-backed scheme, called REDD, or reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation, hope to include it into a successor of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change after 2012.
"There is money floating around... but countries don't know where to put it. There are various ideas, often not coordinated and that is very confusing," Bietta said.
She said the Coalition would propose the creation of such a body at a conference in Poznan, Poland, in December which has been convened as part of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The conference is expected to help craft a global agreement by December 2009 on carbon-capping mechanisms to succeed Kyoto.
Bietta said the coordinating body should be linked to UNFCCC, other U.N. agencies and the World Bank, and should help developed and developing countries to ensure transparency of funds allocation.
LITTLE REDD BOOK
The proposed new body would lead REDD initiatives in the next three or four years, until a new carbon market -- estimated by various analysts in a range between $10 billion and $30 billion a year -- kicked in, Bietta said.
"The new body is needed to fill the gap between now and 2012," she said.
Already, 20 key proposed projects to cut carbon emissions from deforestations and degradation feature in The Little REDD Book that will be presented in Poznan (www.littleREDDbook.org).
Deforestation contributes about 20 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions with forests disappearing at a rate of about 13 million hectares -- about the size of Greece -- a year.
The European Commission has been cautious about forest credit trade, saying new cheap offsets would flood the existing carbon market and send prices at the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) tumbling.
Peter Zapfel from Environment Directorate General at the European Commission told the conference the potential forest credit market under the REDD scheme would cover 6 gigatonnes of annual carbon emissions, three times bigger than emissions covered by the ETS.
The Commission's alternative proposal to REDD is to set up a Global Forest Carbon Mechanism where part of the EU's carbon trade proceeds would be used to reward developing countries for reducing deforestation.
Zapfel said the EU's council of ministers and parliament were likely to back the Commission's proposal.
(Editing by James Jukwey