As official members of the Youth Group Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)  COP15 in Copenhagen in December, conducting interviews with public leaders who are actively involved in initiatives relating to Climate Change is one of the main priorities for the Dickinson Cop15 research team.

In the fall leading up to the conference, our research team has conducted research and generated preliminary reports on prominent countries and on key issues within the Kyoto Protocol. One of the small research clusters focused their research on issues of Reduction in Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). For more information on REDD check out our REDD report or the UN-REDD Programme Fund website. Currently REDD projects have been financed through an aid-based scheme and implemented by a host of international organizations like the United Nations Development Program in conjunction with local organizations. According to the UNREDD Semi-Annual Report (found on the UN website) projects have been approved in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Paupa New Guinea, Tanzania, Vietnam, and a few other countries. These projects have been funded by generous contributions most notably from the Norwegian Government.

There have been discussions in the last COPs to integrate REDD projects into the Kyoto Prototocol. These projects could potentially be Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) programs or Joint Implimentation (JI) programs. However, there has been reluctance within the international community about whether REDD should be included as part of the  International Carbon Market. This would allow countries to receive carbon credits for the offsets in emissions. There have been concerns that REDD projects will not effectively sequester carbon over long periods of time (permanance), will not sequester additional amounts of carbon that would not be released anyway (additionality), be hard to measure emissions reductions (reference level problems, not attract enough funding, and will not successfully prevent deforestation from spilling over into unprotected areas (leakage).

The JUMA Project in northern Brazil has successfully attracted enough financial support to effectively protect local communities, and prevent local deforestation according to Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance Standards, which were validated by the German TÜV SÜD Industries Service.  The project has been integrated successfully into an International Voluntary Carbon Market.

REDD JUMA Project in Northern Brazil

REDD JUMA Project in Northern Brazil

One of the largest challenges for establishing a program like this is finding sufficient funding. The JUMA project included a unique fund raising scheme where the international hotel chain Marriott committed to fund $2 million over three to four years by soliciting the people who stayed in their hotel to donate $1 to offset their visit. This money helped contribute to local education programs, sustainable development programs, and stipends given to local people in return for their commitment not to deforest. For more information check out the Marriott Hotels website.

Our research cluster was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Mark London the consultant for the Marriott Hotels and the author of the popular books Amazon and The Last Trees. He discussed the success of the JUMA project, challenges for REDD programs, and his views on the potential for REDD programs to be incorporated into the Kyoto Protocol.  Interview with Mark London Mark London was interviewed by Philip Rothrock, Jennifer Ramos, and Andrea Dominguez  on November 16th 2009 at Dickinson College in Kaufman Hall after hearing his lecture on the Amazon and Deforestation.

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