New York, NY (August 9, 2006)--The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has joined the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), a partnership of research institutions, corporations and environmental groups promoting the development of high-quality climate change mitigation projects that also support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
The CCBA promotes solutions for tackling one of the most significant drivers of climate change--tropical forest loss, which accounts for as much as 25 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.
"The world is facing two simultaneous crises--the mass extinction of species globally, and the unprecedented pace of climate change due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," said Dr. John G. Robinson, executive vice president of WCS. "With over 500 projects in more than 60 countries around the world, WCS can place its tangible, field-based knowledge of how to protect forests and other habitats in the service of carbon mitigation."
"Through the release of its Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards last year, the CCBA has created a powerful tool for designing and evaluating forestry projects that mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity and create sustainable livelihoods for the world's poor," stated Toby Janson-Smith, director of the CCBA. "With its outstanding scientific expertise and project experience, WCS will help the CCBA showcase the tremendous potential of these Standards and multiple-benefit forestry activities in general. We are delighted to welcome WCS into the Alliance."
The CCB Standards are made available to project developers to design high-quality carbon mitigation projects that incorporate biodiversity conservation and community development. The CCBA has also developed a scorecard that allows private-sector companies, multi-lateral funding organizations, and government agencies to screen and identify those projects which offer the most attractive and least-risk investments. The Standards and scorecard can be downloaded online at www.climate-standards.org.
More than two dozen major projects around the world are already using the CCB Standards as well as some of the largest investors in the carbon forestry arena. In addition, the Chinese government has endorsed the Standards as an effective means to help their country develop sustainable forestry programs.
"Climate change, human impoverishment and species loss are closely interconnected issues," Janson-Smith added. "Historically, many of the world's poorest people have been forced to liquidate their natural resource base simply to survive. Now, through the development of CCB projects, local communities have an attractive and viable alternative. By placing a market value on the climate benefits provided by these forests, CCB projects can provide the funding and training needed for local communities to restore and protect their forests, creating sustainable livelihoods while at the same time conserving biodiversity."
Prior to joining the CCBA, WCS has been working to incorporate the CCB Standards into the Makira Forest Project, which it designed in partnership with the government of Madagascar and local communities in the region. Established in 2000, the project is expected to prevent the emission of nearly 9.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the next 30 years by protecting 350,000 hectares of rain forest on this island nation. In addition the project will conserve rare and threatened biodiversity and create sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
"WCS designed the Makira Forest Project--one of the first projects expected to be certified under the CCB Standards," Robinson noted. "CCBA membership will allow us to build on this success and share it more widely."
Conservation International, a founding CCBA member, is working with the project organizers to market the associated carbon credits. A number of groups, including Pearl Jam, SC Johnson, NAVTEQ, Imperial Tobacco and Mitsubishi have taken voluntary carbon offset commitments by investing in the Makira Forest Project. Individuals are also being offered the opportunity to calculate and offset their personal carbon footprint through the Makira project by using the carbon calculator at Conservation International's website, www.conservation.org.
About the Organizations: The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS / www.wcs.org) saves wildlife and wild lands. WCS does so through careful science, international conservation, education, and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together, these activities change individual attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in sustainable interaction on both a local and a global scale. WCS is committed to this work because we believe it essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA / www.climate-standards.org) seeks to promote the development of multiple-benefit forestry projects around the world and the creation of supportive policy and market incentives to foster such activities. CCBA Members are: BP, Conservation International, GFA, Hamburg Institute for International Economics, Intel, Pelangi, SC Johnson, The Nature Conservancy, WCS and Weyerhaeuser. Advising Institutions are: CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research), CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) and the World Agroforestry Centre (WAC/ICRAF).