The Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN), a group of over 50 developing countries committed to advancing REDD+, on Friday backed a public-private sector alliance to deploy carbon pricing.
On Monday the Carbon Pricing Panel – a group of heads of state, city and state leaders from rich and poor nations – urged faster, more ambitious carbon pricing action ahead of the Paris climate talks.
“The results-based mechanism of REDD+, as defined by CfRN, is directly complementary to carbon pricing systems,” the group said in a statement posted on the Climate-l mailing list, run by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
“CfRN participants are also looking forward to engaging with the private sector and other institutions to decouple emissions from growth and direct the world economy to a low carbon and competitive future,” they added.
“All Coalition delegates pointed out that this is precisely the kind of commitment that developing countries are looking for and that it is an initiative upon which many productive and essential partnerships can be built.”
Governments at the UNFCCC negotiations have already agreed on a standardised list of recommendations for developing countries to include in their REDD+ plans when seeking funding to protect tropical forests.
REDD+ proponents hope the guidance will encourage richer nations to donate cash to kick-start REDD+ initiatives but it remains unclear the extent to which the Paris agreement will endorse REDD+, including its use as a source of offset credits for regulated carbon markets.
Public funding has dominated REDD+ so far, with governments contributing around 90% of $9 billion pledged to date to halt tropical deforestation responsible for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
But cash is limited. Cambodia has recently cancelled seven projects that had been given the go-ahead to study the feasibility of earning carbon credits under the UN’s REDD programme over a lack of interest in taking up carbon trading.
California this week signalled that its big emitting companies may be able to use offsets from REDD+ projects in countries like Brazil and Mexico to comply with the state’s cap-and-trade scheme from 2018. This would be the the world’s first mandatory carbon market to allow REDD+ units.
One potential hurdle could be how such deals are accounted for in the UN Paris agreement. Brazil’s INDC said it “will not recognise the use by other parties of any units resulting from mitigation outcomes achieved in the Brazilian territory” if acquired through any mechanism outside the UN process.
The CfRN submitted text at the UNFCCC talks in Bonn this week seeking a more active definition of a REDD+ mechanism in the Paris text.
Several other negotiating groups added their own suggestions as the draft agreement swelled, including a submission by major REDD-funder Norway calling for the Paris deal to recognise the special characteristics and importance of land use as a means of mitigation.
Before this week’s submissions, the 20-page working document only featured forest protection in relation to adaptation, which civil society groups say is inadequate.
“Strong language on rights and ensuring the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems should be included in the agreement as overarching operative text to guide all climate actions,” said the REDD+ Safeguards Working Group, a civil society coalition in a statement.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org