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 10: Options on REDD as a Hedging Tool for Post-Kyoto Climate Policy

Alexander Golub

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


Alexander Golub INTRODUCTION Tropical deforestation is one of the major sources of carbon emissions, but the Kyoto Protocol presently excludes avoiding these specific emissions as a means to fulfill stabilization targets. The potential for storing carbon in forests is huge, however, as the world’s forests contain an estimated 1 trillion tons of CO2. Deforestation accounts for an estimated 17 per cent of global GHG emissions each year, even more than emissions from transportation. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) has been discussed as a complementary strategy to meet stabilization targets since the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC in 2007. With the approach of COP 15 in Copenhagen later this year, these discussions have been intensified and many alternative implementation schemes have been proposed. Avoided deforestation is likely to be a relatively inexpensive way to cut global emissions. However, since many issues still remain unresolved and there are large uncertainties surrounding REDD’s future in the new climate agreement, negotiations regarding REDD may still need time. During that time millions of acres might be deforested and billions of tons of CO2 might be emitted into the atmosphere. Also, existing carbon markets as well as emerging carbon markets could lose a significant fraction of offset supply. Policymakers have expressed concern that REDD credit supply could ‘crash’ carbon markets and create significant disincentives to deploy new abatement technologies. On the other hand, there are significant uncertainties hampering current investments in the generation of REDD credits. Potential sellers have concerns...

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