REDD


REDUCING EMISSIONS FROM DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION


The United Nations program on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a collaboration between FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN), UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). A multi donor trust was established in July 2008 that allows donors to pool resources and provides funding to activities toward this program. The program is aimed at tipping the economic balance in favor of sustainable management of forests so that their formidable economic, environmental and social goods and services benefit countries, communities and forest users while also contributing to important reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The effort is to create the incentives to ensure actual, lasting, achievable, reliable and measurable emission reductions while maintaining and improving the other ecosystem services forests provide.


The U.N.'s approach to stimulate action was introduced at the Conference of the Parties (COP11) in December 2005 by the governments of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, supported by 8 other parties. Their goal was to establish a functioning international REDD finance mechanism that can be included in an agreed post 2012 global climate change framework. Their efforts are reflected in the COP 13 decision. Efforts to include more forestry projects in a post 2012 international climate change had momentum and were included in COP14. Success will be defined by a finance mechanism that provides appropriate revenue streams to the right people at the right time to make it worthwhile for them to change their forest resource use behavior, with anticipation of spurring massive amounts of funds to tropical countries benefiting impoverished rural communities.


The International Panel on Climate Change estimates that cutting down of forests is now contributing close to 20% of overall greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. Forest degradation also makes a significant contribution to emissions from forest ecosystems. Therefore there is an immediate need to make significant progress in reducing deforestation, forest degradation and associated emission of greenhouse gases.


One of the biggest hurdles for REDD has been establishing a baseline for deforestation rates, in order to compensate countries for avoided deforestation. It first must be calculated how much forest the country has been losing on a historical basis. Much of the existing data has errors and inconsistencies. Complicating matters, satellite sensors sometimes have difficulties with cloud cover present in the rainy tropics.


Another challenge is REDD's 7 billion ton per year current emission baseline. A one percent shift in REDD emissions per year can put 70 million tons of emission credits into the system which could dramatically impact the price for a ton of emission rights. Even a fractionally successful REDD could create a large supply of rights entering the market, demand and supply must be calibrated in order to sustain the price of carbon. The importance lies in the price of carbon, the fundamental driver for developing and implementing low carbon technology.


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