Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A REDD Agreement Hinges on Funding

As the world stands by waiting to see if a post-Kyoto climate regime will emerge, one message remains loud and clear. Over and over again all nations across the world have declared that the climate change crisis cannot be solved without saving forests. Critical text of an agreement promising essential components of a mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation (REDD) remains locked in brackets, reflecting ongoing debate and uncertainty largely due to the lack of essential financial commitments from developed and developing countries alike. With only 48 hours left to negotiate, the United States stepped up with a commitment of $1 billion as an initial contribution over the next three years. Soon after, five other nations said they would collectively dedicate additional funding, totaling $3.5 billion as a starting point for deforestation. It is estimated that a minimum of $10 billion is necessary to support initial implementation of a REDD mechanism. In these waning hours, the significant funding gap symbolizes an urgent call for other nations to step up to the plate. “We are in a challenging negotiation; I don’t know whether we’re going to succeed; and time is short,” said Kevin Conrad, Chief Negotiator for the Coalition for Rainforest Nations.

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