Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

I am afraid REDD is not Green

with 11 comments

In my search for employment I have recently come across FERN – a European non-governmental organisation (NGO) seeking to improve the way the EU deals with the issues surrounding deforestation. FERN certainly has picked a very difficult nut to crack. However, to understand how the UN is now failing to solve the problem of deforestation, one has to understand how, over the last 20 years or so, it has failed to solve the much bigger problem of climate change.

From its very earliest days, the UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process has pursued the notion of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). This supposedly committed each developed country (and/or Annex I party) to “corresponding measures on the mitigation of climate change, by limiting its anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting and enhancing its greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs” [Clause 2(a) of the UNFCCC]. However, it took 5 years to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol; which included the principles of joint implementation (JI); the clean development mechanism (CDM); and putting a price on pollution through emissions trading (ET). Critics have denounced the latter as allowing speculators to make money out of trading in pollution permits; the non-ratification of the Kyoto treaty by the USA did not help; and an awful lot of time has been wasted arguing about what exactly CBDR means.

In recent years, the UN has sought to address the multi-faceted problem of deforestation through its Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD). Unfortunately, REDD is widely seen as failing because:
(1) It has allowed polluters to purchase forested land (and so prevent its destruction) as an alternative to reducing their pollution (ET); and
(2) It has encouraged land owners to make money from forested land by replacing native forest with commercial plantations such as palm oil.

The UN has responded with its REDD+ programme – designed to encourage the conservation of biodiverse old-growth forest rather than their replacement with monocultures – but this too is widely seen as failing (because ET is failing).

This is a subject I intend to explore in more detail but, for now, I would like to encourage all readers – especially those for whom all these acronyms may be new – to watch this brief video, which I found on FERN’s Home Page.

Written by Martin Lack

30 October 2012 at 00:02

11 Responses

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  1. With the USA out, Kyoto has turned into a slaughterhouse for Europe, economically speaking. Hence Merkel non compliance, rushing massively into coal… everybody who leads knows the USA wants to be number one in CO2 production. ASAP.

    Patrice Ayme

    30 October 2012 at 00:17

    • Thanks for commenting, Patrice. Germany has reached its target of 20% renewables but, I agree, it was a stupendous folly to close down all its nuclear power plants for spurious ideological/safety reasons.

      Martin Lack

      30 October 2012 at 13:11

      • That they already reached their 20% renewables is news to me. Moreover, considering that’s wind and solar, it means they will have as much in CO2 backup.

        Patrice Ayme

        30 October 2012 at 21:19

        • The unreliability of solar and/or wind is a myth. All power stations breakdown and/or need servicing. If you have enough solar and/or wind farms distributed over a large enough area, renewables can be very reliable. (except when hit by a Frankenstorm like Sandy – do hope you are unaffected).

          Having reached its 20% renewable target, German will now have to improve its distribution network to expand it further.

          Martin Lack

          31 October 2012 at 09:20

  2. But reckoning is at hand: the vipers’ nest will get flooded, if not now, or tomorrow, then soon…

    Patrice Ayme

    30 October 2012 at 00:20

    • 2009, 2010, and 2011 all equal third-highest number of named storms in a year. Time for some pattern recognition skills to be displayed by the POTUS, whoever he may be…

      Martin Lack

      30 October 2012 at 13:15

      • Yes, second northern hurricane in ONE year (after irene, last year). But for them to understand, Wall Street would have to stay under water for several years… wait… wait, but not for long…

        Patrice Ayme

        30 October 2012 at 21:21

        • The pictures of New York on the TV are truly astonishing; and I am amazed that the NYSE can open with the mass transit systems all shut down. Even if the traders all drive in from East Hampton in their SUVs, where will they park them if the streets and basement car parks are all flooded?

          Martin Lack

          31 October 2012 at 09:26

        • Martin: Please have a look at my latest essay. OK, not fully an easy read… (CO2) Flying today!

          Patrice Ayme

          31 October 2012 at 19:16

  3. […] promised yesterday, I want to encourage all those that are not familiar with the issues surrounding deforestation, to […]

  4. […] 2012/10/30: LoE: I am afraid REDD is not Green […]

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