U.S., Brazilian and Indonesian Governors Urge Their Presidents to Include Forest Protection in Climate Change Policies

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and 10 other governors from the United States, Brazil and Indonesia are sending a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urging them to include forest protection in international and national climate change policies, according to Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5910GJ20091002).

The state governors represent California, Illinois, Wisconsin in the United States; Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Para in Brazil; and Aceh, East Kalimantan and Papua in Indonesia. They signed the letter during the Governors' Global Climate Summit 2 taking place in Los Angeles.

"It is a vital sign of leadership that California -- which has the world's seventh largest economy -- and states with half of the world's remaining tropical forests have joined forces to make living forests worth more than dead ones," said Steve Schwartzman, director of tropical forest policy at Environmental Defense Fund. "Including forests in U.S. emissions control efforts will help achieve greater overall reductions at lower costs than would be possible without it."

The 11 states agreed on basic principles to allow reduced deforestation and degradation (REDD) to be used in the United States to meet targets for reducing global warming gas emissions. The principles establish a template for what may become the first compliance-grade REDD assets. The Waxman-Markey climate bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June includes provisions for the use of REDD in a national carbon market.

"REDD is one of the key issues on the agenda at the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December," concluded Schwartzman. "Many countries participating in the negotiations intend to agree on REDD policies, which could help developed and developing countries break the logjam holding up progress in the broader negotiation."

Deforestation accounts for 15-20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, so forest preservation is vital in combating climate change. California and representatives from Brazil and Indonesia signed memos of understanding at last year's global climate summit. The memos called for using REDD strategies and projects that could help meet national and global emissions reductions goals, while sustaining local communities.

About Environmental Defense Fund

A leading national nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund represents more than 700,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit www.edf.org.

    Contacts:
    Lori Sinsley, (415) 308-6970 (m), lsinsley@edf.org
    Stephan Schwartzman, (202) 746-9201 (m), sschwartzman@edf.org

SOURCE Environmental Defense Fund



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