What is Redd?

Redd — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation — would allow countries that can reduce emissions from deforestation to be paid for doing so.

Where did the idea come from?

Papua New Guinea and nine other countries proposed it in 2005 at a U.N. climate meeting. It is now likely to be one of the cornerstones of any agreement at the Copenhagen climate conference in December. It would start in 2013, and could eventually channel tens of billions of dollars a year from rich to poor countries.

How would it work?

Countries would have to show — from historical data, satellite imagery and direct measurement of trees — the extent, condition and carbon content of their forests. Verification, reporting and monitoring would be done by communities that depend on the forests or by independent organisations. Protected trees would have to be shown to have been threatened.

Who pays?

There are several proposals. Countries could either be paid by “voluntary funding” — rather like existing official aid given by one country to another — or cash could be linked to trade in carbon credits.

Does everyone agree?

No. There are 32 Redd proposals, from countries, groups of countries and NGOs. The two gaining most ground are from Brazil. Once a model is agreed upon, many problems will remain. There is as yet no agreed way to accurately measure the carbon content of different kinds of forests. The rights of the tens of millions of people who live in forests could be at risk if carbon companies move in, valuing the forests more highly than them. And land ownership is often a difficult issue to resolve — and ownership of trees, even more so.

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