377 Forest Type / World-Wide

–World-Wide: 31) World Bank routinely overstates its commitment to eco-issues, 32) No greater industry than forest industry when it comes to negative eco-impacts, 33) Proposal from Terrestrial Carbon Group,



31) The World Bank overstated its commitment to environmental projects since 1990, possibly by billions of dollars, an internal watchdog group reported on Tuesday. The bank’s official estimate for commitments to programs specifically aimed at helping the environment is $59 billion from fiscal 1990 to 2007, according to the Independent Evaluation Group. But the watchdog group, established by the bank to monitor its activities, found only $18.2 billion allocated by the poverty-fighting institution went to projects deemed to be at least 80 percent environmental in nature. The rest of the $59 billion went to projects with a smaller environmental component. The $59 billion figure “appears to overstate the actual volume of resources going directly for environmental improvement,” the group’s report said. “Because of the way (World) Bank commitments are identified, it is unclear exactly how much lending has gone directly for environmental improvement. But the priority given to lending for ENRM (environment and natural resource management) appears to be modest,” the report said. Bank officials disputed this and maintained that investment in environmental projects is being underestimated due to a subjective but internationally accepted coding system that is also used by the United Nations. Over the past decade the World Bank has increasingly focused on the impact to the environment by development projects funded by the institution in the developing world, including in emerging superpowers China and India. Recently, rich donor countries tasked the World Bank with developing a plan and overseeing billions of dollars in funds to accelerate investment in new clean air technologies and to help poorer countries adapt to climate change. http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN2228710120080722

32) No industry has had greater influence on society’s understanding of nature than the forest products industry, which, by reshaping the concept of “forest”, distorts understanding of the larger natural world itself. This industry fosters educational programs that, by downplaying identification with wild nature, by emphasizing the utilitarian, and by training the public to accept relatively biologically sterile plantations as “forests”, erode society’s respect for the splendor of unmanaged nature and for its right to exist. The apparent aim is to extinguish the awe for the opulence of wildness that comes so naturally to the young and to replace it with a commodity-oriented value system. As is invariably the case for projects created, funded and marketed by a profit-driven industry, the aim is not the public interest but the industry’s bottom line. This should surprise no well-informed adult in the 21st Century. Some professional societies such as the Ecological Society of America (http://www.esa.org/), the American Institute of Biological Sciences (http://www.aibs.org/) and the Society for Conservation Biology (http://www.conbio.org/) have education programs, but they are eclipsed into virtual invisibility by the aggressive promotion in which the corporate sector, with its unlimited finances, excels. In truth, the forest products industry has long been a dominant information source for the nation’s young people regarding forests in particular and nature in general. http://www.counterpunch.org/willers07242008.html

33) It is not clear whether the proposal — released on 18 July by the Terrestrial Carbon Group of international scientists, economists and land-policy experts — has political legs. The idea is to ‘lump together’ all of the carbon locked up in tropical forests and then allow all countries to cash in on forest protection by trading carbon credits, regardless of whether logging is currently a problem within their borders. The proposal differs from the leading framework under the current United Nations (UN) proposal, which would establish baseline deforestation rates for each country and then allow them to sell carbon credits into an international market if they can reduce the rate of deforestation. Countries that do not currently have problems with deforestation stand to gain nothing under the UN system, which would mainly benefit countries such as Brazil and Indonesia. Many fear that it could leave the rest of the tropics exposed to logging pressure in the future. Dan Nepstad, a deforestation expert who is a member of the Terrestrial Carbon Group, says that the group’s proposal emphasizes the need for a comprehensive solution for dealing with all tropical forests. “My hope is that it sends a signal to India, Costa Rica, China and other places that there will ultimately be a more robust mechanism that will bring rewards to them,” says Nepstad, formerly a scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts who recently joined the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in San Francisco, California, to head its environmental conservation programmes. He is among more than a dozen scientists and economists, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, New York, who worked on the proposal, which was organized by the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists in Australia. http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080723/full/454373b.html;jsessionid=57326F28FDCD746C193C67C9321

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