Reducing carbon emissions from deforestation
1st March 2009
We can all agree on what the problem is, it’s settling on a solution that’s the difficult part. Mark Anslow explores the complicated world of deforestation
Do we merely want to preserve the carbon in rainforests, or do we also want to protect them as habitats?
If 2007 was the year in which the world woke up to climate change, then 2008 was the year in which everyone realised just how damn complicated the whole situation is. On paper, reducing levels of deforestation should be one of the easiest areas to tackle. After all, in the words of Tim Yeo MP, chair of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, ‘there is no rocket science involved in dealing with deforestation – it is not like carbon capture and storage where we are waiting for a technological breakthrough’.
Indeed not. In practice, however, the situation has become so complicated, with so many different proposals on the table, that very few outside the UN and environmental NGOs have the slightest clue what is happening.
Most of the proposals are happy to come together under the general UN banner of REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. The UN hasn’t fixed on one particular proposal for REDD yet, but the concrete is drying fast and will (probably) be set by December of this year.
Before it is, however, there are a battery of problems to tackle. First, there’s the sticky issue of setting the ‘baselines’ or...
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