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Deforestation (credit: energyportal.eu)

Discussions at Poznan on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) managed to come to some sort of conclusion this morning. UN estimates suggest that investments of $17-30bn annually could halve deforestation levels, reducing GHG emissions by 10%, but how should these investments be allocated, and where should the financing come from?

During negotiations, there was finally agreement on the thorny issue of how countries should be rewarded. Previously, Brazil had argued that countries should only be rewarded for simply stopping further deforestation, but now they have agreed to calls from China/India and others that there should be rewards for planting new forests and rehabilitating degraded land as well.

The Brazilians have generally been progressive on many REDD issues at Poznan, setting an ambitious target of reducing their deforestation rate by 70% over the next 10 years earlier this week.

However, there are still sticking points on REDD, mostly relating to social issues and forest monocultures. Several countries (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ) deleted any specific reference to the “rights” of indigenous people from the text, but their “full and effective participation” is still mentioned. This is an issue because historically, “forestry management” has often resulted in indigenous groups being expelled from their lands.

Also, some environmental activists are worried that the draft doesn’t mention biodiversity. This could potentially mean that further deforestation could be allowed as long as the forests are replanted, potentially with biofuel monoculture crops such as palm oil, which have been shown to increase emissions.

Despite these issues, it is certainly welcome that there has been some sort of agreement on REDD, and hopefully the text will survive any last-minute attempts at changes.

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