Table of Contents

Research Handbook on REDD-Plus and International Law

Research Handbook on REDD-Plus and International Law

Research Handbooks in Climate Law series

Edited by Christina Voigt

The REDD+ initiative for Reducing Emissions of greenhouse gases from Deforestation and Forest Degradation is an important tool, established under the UNFCCC, for incentivizing developing countries to adopt and scale up climate mitigation actions in the forest sector and for capturing and channeling the financial resources to do so. With contributions from legal experts, international relations scholars, climate change negotiators and activists, this Handbook eloquently examines the emerging governance arrangements for REDD+, analysing how and to what extent it is embedded in the international legal framework.

Chapter 14: Rediscovering ambition, implementation and operationalization

Patricia Elias

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law


In this chapter I will explore the rationale behind breaking the barriers to increasing REDD+ ambition and the need for, but challenges of, flexible operationalization and implementation of this emissions reductions and forests conservation mechanism. Historically, destruction of tropical forests through deforestation and forest degradation causes the emissions of 5.3 Gt of CO2eq annually. The most common activities associated with deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics are those that are driven by the global commodity trade, most notably for palm oil, soy, beef and wood products. However, REDD+ provides a durable and widely applicable vision for shifting towards a green economy in which these commodities are still produced, but their production is decoupled from deforestation and degradation. In many ways, the global nature of the drivers of deforestation and degradation present a financial challenge to REDD+ ambition. Another challenge to increasing ambition is the dependence of REDD+ on action by developing countries as well as financing from developed countries. This means that ambition by all actors is necessary to fully achieve the emissions reductions potential of REDD+, and in essence ties the success of REDD+ to a global commitment to address climate change. Although it is still a relatively new concept, and there are numerous challenges to generating ambition, recent successes in REDD+ provide the promise that ambition can be rekindled.

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