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article imageDeveloped countries accused of 'carbon cheating'

By Jason Smith     Jun 12, 2010 in Environment
Some developed countries, including Russia, Australia, and Canada, are seeking new rules under the UN Climate Convention that some say would allow them to gain credit for "business as usual."
These rules are associated with land-use change, which can release or absorb carbon, mostly depending on whether forests are planted or chopped down, according to the BBC.
The US is not involved in these negotiations because the proposals fall under the Kyoto Protocol.
The benefit for some countries, notably Russia, would be much greater.
"This would allow developed countries to circumvent their obligations on reducing emissions," said Melanie Coath, climate change policy office with the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), who has conducted analytical work on the draft text currently being negotiated.
"These are double standards that make us question the legitimacy of the whole process," added Kevin Conrad, lead negotiator for Papua New Guinea and chairman of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations.
"If rich states tell us we have to adopt robust standards (for REDD) and then use forestry as their biggest get-out clause - it's double standards, it's climate fraud."
As a result, some are saying that rich, more developed countries would operate their forestry sectors under looser accounting rules than developing nations would under REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).
Delegates from other EU countries suggest that certain countries with heavy forest, such as Austria, Finland, and Sweden, are pushing for more lax regulation.
European Commission's chief negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger, said the EU favoured tighter rules.
"Certainly from the EU side, what we want to see is a system where we have the highest environmental integrity that is possible," he told BBC News. "And also we don't want to have rules tighter for developing countries than for developed countries."
Some of the smaller island states, along with some of the world's poorer nations, want a more legally binding global treaty. Others, however, are wanting smaller and more confined agreements in key areas such as REDD.
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