Is REDD Alone Enough?

In a departure from what you might call the conditional optimism of my two earlier interviewees (see post below), the Accra Caucus on Forests and Climate, a coalition of northern and southern NGOs that has been tracking the climate change negotiations since 2008, expressed their concerns Thursday that a deal on REDD is likely to fail.

Key Concerns:

  • Without a global deal on emissions reductions, a REDD deal is meaningless, “as temperature increases will cause forests to die anyways.”
  • No overall target for halting deforestation and no guarantee of funding for developing countries beyond the short-term – “Will developed countries provide funding to developing countries? Or will REDD be a loophole that allows big corporations to continue to pollute so long as they set up a small park in a developing country?”
  • Exclusion of NGOs and civil society from the final days of the negotiations – “This increases the bias toward large delegations because many smaller delegations from developing countries rely on the inputs of civil society to support them in following the complex and technical discussions.”

See the full statement here:

These concerns illustrate very clearly the reality that an agreement on REDD is part of a larger deal on a range of measures to deal with and reduce the intensification of climate change. As such, what is generally regarded as the most cost-effective and readily available mitigation tool on the table (REDD) is in a way at the mercy of geopolitical rivalries. For this reason, some media have questioned the UNFCCC decision to invite leaders to the final day of negotiations.

REDD brings with it risks and costs that will require comprehensive national programs designed with wide participation in order to be kept to minimum. The main added value of an international agreement is the commitment of developed countries to support REDD and the creation of a regulated international system to channel this support. Without this, countries will doubtless take action at the national and sub-national levels (and many already are doing so), but these efforts will not provide the harmonized regulation and political commitment that climate change demands.

The central questions emerging from Copenhagen:

  • Is what was achieved in Copenhagen a sufficient basis for significant commitments into the future?
  • Can the Copenhagen Accord (or the UNFCCC) maintain the current momentum underlying the recognition of the need for international collaboration for one more year?

I’m not sure what I think yet (still need some time to digest). What about you?

posted by Allison Bleaney, REDD-net

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