Saturday, April 4, 2009

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD): An Options Assessment Report

Climate change mitigation will be neither cheap nor easy. But the costs and complexities of the mitigation challenge pale in comparison with the risks and costs that are likely to accompany failure to take decisive action. Deforestation accounts for about 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions—larger than the entire global transportation sector. Without REDD, the widely endorsed goal of climate stabilization at a maximum 2°C temperature increase will not be reached.

The Government of Norway has made the inclusion of a mechanism for REDD in a post-2012 climate regime a policy priority in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. To achieve this, sufficient fact-based analysis of options on how to effectively reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and impacts of an agreed mechanism will be crucial. The REDD Options Assessment Report, which can be downloaded from this site, is one important contribution in that regard.

Meridian Institute, a nonprofit NGO internationally recognized for convening and facilitating neutral and independent dialogues and assessments, facilitated this process. Meridian assembled a high-quality, diverse, and independent group of experts to provide pragmatic, fact-based analysis and assessments of a set of proposed options for critical elements of the REDD component of a Copenhagen agreement.

The REDD Options Assessment Report suggests a flexible, three-phase approach to policy measures and positive incentives in order to accommodate (i) the diverse capabilities and circumstances of REDD countries; (ii) an expanded scope of REDD to include conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks; and (iii) the near-term constraints of the current global financial crisis.

There have been extensive consultations as part of this effort—with governments, civil society, indigenous peoples’ representatives, and other key stakeholders—to ensure that all key perspectives are considered. However, the intent of this process has not been to reach or form consensus, but rather to provide an analytically driven effort to produce additional substantial insights regarding the impacts of potential REDD mechanisms.

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