Ode to Joy?

or Clockwork Orange?


Deforestation accounts for nearly one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions and whatever your views on climate change this really is an environmental crime of an enormous scale. Fauna and flora and native peoples are destroyed and can never be replaced. So everyone should be trying to stop this.

You would have thought that the EU, the organisation that struts the global stage saying how it is leading the world in climate change reduction, would be keen on saving the rainforests. However, instead of requiring that traders halt timber imports to the EU from illegal sources, the EU commission's proposal only demands that they "seek sufficient guarantees" that no laws are being broken when the wood is harvested. See here.

The EU wants to save the world from climate change. It has ambitious targets which has been
estimated will cost the UK £9 billion per year. One aspect of this is that carbon credits can be bought by organisations and then used to help reduce emissions in the developing world ( one example being dam building/hydro-electricity in China!)

One method advocated by Ed Miliband is to use some of the these credits to help preserve the rainforests. Strangely enough his brother David said in March 2007, when he was Energy Secretary:
Ed &  David Miliband
role swapEd & David Miliband role swap
“Climate change is a global issue and, as well as encouraging action at home, this Budget will help cut carbon emissions internationally. The new Defra/ DfID £800 million joint fund will help to deliver environmental benefits in developing countries, starting with protection against deforestation in the Congo Basin.”

19% of all wood imported into the EU comes from unsustainable sources and the EU has just voted to refuse to make this illegal. Subject to lobbying from agencies including the European Confederation of Paper Industries (CEPI), the European State Forest Association, and the Confederation of European Forest Owners (CEPF) operators are to be required simply to "minimise the risk" of putting illegally harvested wood on the EU market.

We spend hundreds of millions trying helping preserve the Congo forest yet cannot charge anyone for illegally importing wood from Congolese forests.

We pay a fortune to subsidise big companies to build inefficient windfarms yet cannot be bothered to make the importation of illegal wood a crime. And, if the UK did this unilaterally it would be impeding the free movement of materials and trade throughout the EU.