Deforestation and Climate Change

Deforestation and Climate Change

Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Valentina Bosetti and Ruben Lubowski

Deforestation and forest degradation have long been recognized as environmental problems, with concerns over conservation of natural habitats and biological diversity capturing both scientific and public attention. More recently, the debate over tropical forest conservation has radically shifted to the approximately fifteen percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by deforestation and forest degradation, and to the potential synergies from integrating forest management with climate change policies.

Chapter 1: Deforestation and Emerging Greenhouse Gas Compliance Regimes: Toward a Global Environmental Law of Forests, Carbon and Climate Governance

William Boyd

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, climate change, environmental economics


William Boyd INTRODUCTION Efforts to include emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in climate policy have gained considerable traction in recent years at multiple levels of governance. With mounting evidence that we cannot stabilize atmospheric CO2 at a safe level without addressing emissions from the forest sector, policymakers are actively seeking ways to integrate international forest carbon into existing and emerging GHG compliance regimes.1 Since 2005, for example, there has been a concerted effort in the UN climate negotiations to integrate Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) and other forest carbon activities into a post-2012 climate treaty.2 In the United States, international forest carbon is also gaining traction in debates regarding the design of national and sub-national compliance regimes. Indeed, leading legislative proposals for a federal capand-trade system introduced in the US Congress over the last several years have included robust provisions for international forest carbon.3 Likewise, California and other states are actively exploring ways to include international forest carbon in their own GHG compliance regimes.4 To be sure, there is still much work to be done to integrate deforestation (and other international forest carbon activities) into climate change policy. Key issues in need of resolution include the coverage of forest carbon activities (i.e., deforestation only or the full range of forest carbon); the appropriate policy mechanism for recognizing and crediting forest carbon (fund- and/or market-based approaches); quantitative and qualitative limits for forest carbon offsets; methodologies for measuring, reporting and 1 Deforestation and Climate Change 27/05/2010 11.14 Chap....

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