REDD programs are not currently included under the Kyoto protocol, but there is a strong push for including them in the post-2012 agreement to be decided in Copenhagen next month. REDD stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation,” and stands to be an important new aspect of Clean Development Mechanisms. You can find a neat summary of what REDD is and some of the issues of implementation in my group’s key issue paper on REDD, found here.

One important issue in regards to implementing REDD programs is in the financing. Depending on who finances a REDD program, the implementation will probably be different. If a government or non-profit decides to finance a REDD program, they may or may not be doing it to gain carbon credit, and their motivation would differ vastly from a corporation, who would probably want carbon emission credits for conservation. However, due to problems of leakage and additionality, it is still very tricky to compensate people with credits. If someone is awarded carbon credits for a REDD program, it is giving them the right to not lower their emissions through mitigation. If the credits awarded do not, in fact, lower total emissions worldwide due to problems of leakage, additionality, or permanence, then the effect of the REDD program is the opposite of what was intended, and it becomes counterproductive.
Policymakers will have to think through every possibility and safeguard REDD against those threats, which will be no small feat. However, if done properly, REDD can have enormous benefits for the local inhabitants of the forested area and for the rest of the world.

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