Forests and Climate Change

Forests and Climate Change

The Social Dimensions of REDD in Latin America

Anthony Hall

Controlling deforestation, which is responsible for about one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, has become a major tool in the battle against global warming. An important new international initiative – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) – provides economic incentives to forest users to encourage preservation of trees. Nearly all Latin American countries are introducing national REDD strategies and pilot schemes.

Chapter 2: The Winding REDD Road

Anthony Hall

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental geography, environmental sociology, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


GREENING THE ENVIRONMENT: EARLY DAYS Although the concept of REDD is relatively new its roots are much older. These go back to the 1970s with the emergence of fears over the environmental consequences of economic growth and the quest for more effective forest conservation and sustainable development models which would help to preserve the world’s fast-disappearing natural resources. In the paradigm shift of the 1980s and ’90s, ‘what had been a minority concern about the course and costs of ‘development’ suddenly became conventional wisdom … (and) … environment became a significant growth industry’ (Adams, 2001: xv). Subsequently, the connection with debates on climate change afforded such environmental concerns a global, strategically critical significance and spawned a major new development industry. A series of international environmental policy initiatives over four decades laid the groundwork for today’s global climate change discussions under the UNFCCC umbrella, from which REDD was crafted. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972 and attended by 113 nations, was the first high-profile event to embrace ideas on sustainable development. Planning for the conference initially focused almost exclusively on the urban pollution problems of the industrialised world such as acid rain, but following consultation with developing nations at Founex in Switzerland, the agenda was expanded to include issues such as desertification and human settlements. Importantly, discussions were taken forward on the relationship between environment and development, and the notion promoted that adequate planning and land-use management could help reconcile these two objectives. In a significant...

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