NEW DELHI: In order to lock climate changing carbon dioxide in the growing forests, the government has asked the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to provide a substantial part of the Rs 90 billion needed every year for 10 years.
The government has made this recommendation to the climate convention, knowing that a mechanism would be set up in future to provide investments from markets as well as developed countries for reducing carbon in the atmosphere by growing new forests as well as conserving existing ones. In the climate jargon, this is referred to as the REDD+ mechanism.
The environment ministry has set up a REDD+ cell that is working on how the forests across the country would be managed when such funds start flowing. Its task includes deciding how to set standards, measure the carbon that gets embedded in the country's forests as well as how it changes with actions that it takes to conserve and afforest.
UN has been briefed that it would make all the monies earned through the process to the local communities that participate in the programme of reducing deforestation in their lands, conserving existing forest cover, or afforestation.
In the first phase of REDD+ programme, the Centre would pass on the revenue to the state government, and let it distribute among the people. In the second phase, it would provide guidelines for distribution at the district level.
The government sees this as the next large flow of carbon funds into the country after the Clean Development Mechanism, which helped industry turn greener by using money from developed countries through a market mechanism.
But, tribal groups across the world have expressed worries that the scheme, especially its market-based mechanisms, would end up dictating terms to countries on forest management and leave the poor, who depend on the forests, out in the cold. The forests need to be grown in a particular fashion and maintained in order to lock carbon dioxide into the plants and soils better.
The indigenous people's groups have claimed this would come at the cost of the way tribals and others use the forests at present.