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Will forestry be the biggest deal done in Copenhagen?

The other day a friend of mine who advises a major CEO rang me to ask my opinion.

The CEO had suddenly decided he wanted to go to Copenhagen for the climate negotiations.

Surely, he said to my friend, as CEO of a major company, he should be there.

What did I think, my friend wanted to know.

I suggested that the CEO not bother going along. The issues are way bigger than any one CEO, or indeed any 100 CEOs, as we’ve seen. His voice will be lost in the media and political chaos, I ventured.

My friend concurred. He had already said the same. I think it was a wise move.

Today’s headline on the COP 15 website says it all: “No EU consensus on climate aid“.

So if expectations are low. What might come out that’s positive?

Perhaps forestry. The Economist published a lengthy and fascinating piece on the development of avoided deforestation a couple of weeks ago.

If the mechanism, monitoring, accountability and enforcement can be done right (a big ‘if’ I know) then it seems avoided deforestation could mean global emissions can be reduced by something like 5-15% per year.

Getting it right is of course very complicated, as the article points out.

But if the will is there and lessons can be learned from the opaqueness of some aspects of the Clean Development Mechanism, then it could just be one of the most important areas of tackling climate change to emerge, post-Copenhagen.

Let’s hope so.

UPDATE: I may be wrong about Copenhagen. Take a look here.

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