I am afraid REDD is not Green
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.