Incentives needed before deforestation reduction can be successful

Feb 03, 2014 by Ally Catterick

A new report highlights the need for significant scaling-up of demand to meet the increasing supply of carbon emission reductions from global REDD+ activities.

The report, issued today, looks into the long-term sustainability of activities implemented under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) concept, and concludes governments and the private sector need to act to ensure there are sufficient incentives for REDD+ activities, before a truly successful outcome can be achieved.

REDD+ offers for developing countries to reduce through protecting and restoring forests. Between 15-25% of global carbon emissions are attributed to deforestation, which is a significant driver of climate change.

The report, compiled by Global Canopy Programme (GCP), the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and UNEP Finance Initiative, calls on governments and the private sector to significantly increase the finance available to stimulate demand for emission reductions and meet the supply being generated by REDD+ projects which are already helping reduce deforestation. If action is not taken, there is a genuine risk of REDD+ becoming a failure.

Revealing that current demand for REDD+ emission reductions could account for as little as 3% of the supply between 2015 and 2020, the report explains without further action this could become a missed opportunity in genuinely meeting the challenges of deforestation head on. The risks of doing nothing, it says, are dire.

If global deforestation levels are reduced by 50% by 2020, meeting EU proposed targets, as much as 9,900 metric tonnes (or MtCO2 – the unit emissions are measured in) of emission reductions from forests and land use may be generated between 2015 and 2020. This can be achieved through a combination of measures taken by tropical forest countries, some using domestic resources, and others through REDD+ incentive payments from developed country governments.

Currently, however, the total predicted demand for REDD+ emission reductions for this period stands at around 253 MtCO2, meaning that REDD+ will fail to properly incentivise action to reduce deforestation. Finance available would support less than 3% of the emissions reductions during this period, leaving tropical forest countries to find ways of achieving the remaining 97% of financing needed to compensate their actions to reduce deforestaion.

If REDD+ is to play a significant role in reducing deforestation in tropical forest countries, it needs to provide more than a tiny fraction of demand for the emission reductions that are causing deforestation and degradation.

Nick Oakes, Finance Programme Manager of Global Canopy Programme said "Reducing emissions from and degradation between 2015 and 2020 should be a strategic priority for governments, given that emissions from this sector, according to the recent IPCC report, are the second largest."

"However, large-scale demand for REDD+ is expected to materialise only after a global compliance market comes in to existence, under the auspices of UNFCCC, in the year 2020. Right now, however, there needs to be large-scale demand for REDD+ emission reductions before 2020, otherwise a gap will continue to grow between supply and demand."

Ignoring this gap, argue the report's authors, will leave little incentive for tropical forest countries to divert resources towards REDD+ in the period before 2020, or for the to invest in REDD+ projects.

To avoid these risks, the report advocates that donor country governments, forest country governments and public finance institutions work together to provide incentives, finance and technical assistance to fill the gap between the supply and demand for REDD+ emission reductions.

The report outlines several options for generating capital, as well as options for providing the incentives, finance and technical assistance, such as entering in to contracts to buy REDD+ emission reductions, setting price floors for REDD+ or providing concessional loans. It also outlines the possible implementing institutions, such as existing multinational funds (e.g. the FCPF Carbon Fund), national funds administered by tropical countries, or bilateral offsetting mechanisms (e.g. Japan's Joint Crediting Mechanism).

Explore further: Meeting to cover cleanup plan for former nuke missile site

More information: The full report is available here:

Related Stories

Panama REDD: Getting what you pay for

Oct 04, 2011

A new report by researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Canada's McGill University identifies gaps in forest monitoring and ways to improve data collection. This will produce reliable estimates ...

Massive carbon credit sale announced in Madagascar

Sep 18, 2013

The Government of Madagascar and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today that 705,588 carbon credits are certified for sale from the Makira Forest REDD+ Project. WCS estimates that it will ...

Recommended for you

Water point 'bank machines' boost Kenya slums

3 hours ago

Around the world people use bank machines to access cash: but in the Kenyan capital's crowded slums, people now use similar machines to access an even more basic requirement—clean water.

Nemo's garden off Italy offers hope for seabed crops

3 hours ago

In the homeland of pesto, a group of diving enthusiasts have come up with a way of growing basil beneath the sea that could revolutionise crop production in arid coastal areas around the world.

H2O: The province of provinces

12 hours ago

Unsafe drinking water is a topic usually connected to the developing world. But the regular recurrence of boil-water advisories, and widely publicised outbreaks in towns like Walkerton and Kashechewan have ...

China announces climate target for Paris deal

14 hours ago

Top carbon polluter China confirmed it will try to cap its rising emissions before 2030 while the U.S. and Brazil pledged to boost renewable energy sources in a series of announcements Tuesday in anticipation ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.