In preparing to leave for Copenhagen I decided to refresh my memory by reading through some of the materials I collected at the COP last year. The natural place to begin was my copy of the little Redd book. No not that one…this one.
The official outcome of the COP is an agreement decided by negotiators from Country delegations. To manage the complexity of the negotiations, the meetings are divided into content streams. In addition to the Conference of Parties (national government delegations) there are a number of formal and informal working groups, which meet to negotiate country specific components of the treaty and programs such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).
I am particularly interested in REDD and will follow its stream through the negotiations. REDD is a mechanism designed to use financial incentives to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. Its original objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but it can deliver other benefits such as biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. In other worlds REDD has the potential to link the conservation of forests around the globe to the operation of carbon emissions markets. In the short term it may be the only way to successfully conserve the world’s endangered forests, but it has significant long term implications for the operation and influence of environmental finance. REDD credits offer the opportunity to utilize funding from developed countries to reduce deforestation in developing countries. But ultimately REDD raises ethical questions of whether the world’s forests and the cultures that depend upon them should be linked to financial markets. Right or wrong, the upcoming meeting will produce a conclusive answer. Cheers, Janelle Knox-Hayes