1 Nov 2008

Saving Forests

The UN wants
to use the sale of fully fungible REDD [reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation] credits to help developing nations halt logging and in return allow rich nations to meet a portion of their UN emissions reduction goals. Estimates vary but REDD could yield between $10 billion and $30 billion a year in funds for the developing world, with REDD credits fetching $4 to $10 a tonne.
I am in favor of this plan because it puts the UN -- a reasonably neutral, scientific organization -- in the broker role. The UN can ensure compliance (for buyers) and simplify sales and marketing (for sellers).*

As many know, avoided deforestation is the lowest cost means of reducing carbon emissions [prior posts]. Areas that stay forested will also protect habitat and biodiversity.** Revenue can be used to support local communities (assuming pass-through -- a big assumption), and there's no need to figure out what "would have been done anyway" since intact forest can be observed.

Bottom Line: Go buy lease some trees!

* The UN has no monopoly: An Australian company is trying to monetize forests in Papua New Guinea.

** Grist reports on a UN project on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity:
the world is burning up between $2 trillion and $5 trillion of capital a year through global forest loss. That's the cumulative value of the lost services forests provide, including carbon sequestration, water filtration, and erosion prevention.