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Black and White and REDD All Over

Posted Dec. 7, 2007 / Posted by: RConnors

REDD stands for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries. It is a big issue at the UN negotiations, because deforestation accounts for as much as 25 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions globally.

But one of the major proposals on the table is to allow deforestation projects into the clean development mechanism - the carbon finance scheme of the Kyoto Protocol. There are several big issues with this, even beyond the basic problem that this would allow industrialized countries to buy their way out of meaningful emissions reductions at home. Additionally, this sort of scheme would encourage the "locking up" of forest areas to reduce emissions. In many developing countries, indigenous people live in and rely on forest areas, and could be kicked off their land because of these sorts of projects.

These schemes are also set up, again, to benefit large forestry and agricultural corporations. In Indonesia, these corporations have concessions covering more than 130 million acres of forest land. Incentives from REDD could promote investments in monoculture tree plantations or palm plantations, which raise environmental concerns with chemical use and water depletion, in addition to severely threatening biodiversity.

And not surprisingly, the World Bank is at it again. They are unveiling a Forest Carbon Partnership Facility during these meetings that would promote exactly these projects.

Instead, developing countries should be encouraged and supported financially to focus on strengthening currently weak conservation policies and institutions, and in addressing corruption and lack of enforcement. Governments should also be encouraged to enact bans or moratoria on industrial logging and forest conversion, particularly in old growth forests.

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