REDD: an important acronym in the Climate Change world.

When I first stumbled across the acronym REDD I did not know what it stood for.    Thanks to a web search I can share with readers that REDD stands for ~~“Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN)”

There are two on-going activities that seriously undermine our ability to control climate change.  One – familiar to readers of ForourGrandchildren –  is the exploitation of the tar sands.  Canadians know – or ought to know – that over the next decades exploitation of the tar sands will generate very large GHG emissions. Yet this is the time frame for Canada to reduce its GHG emissions significantly. The exploitation continues, justified on the ground that the tar sands increase world GHG by only a small amount.

The second, deforestation,  the target of REDD,  is serious business to climatologists.  Tropical deforestation is estimated to cause about one-quarter of anthropogenic carbon emissions, and is ranked the second largest source of GHG emissions.  Reducing emissions from deforestation could potentially be a highly cost-effective option for reducing climate change

The difficulty is that reduction of deforestation impacts strategies of developing nations to create arable land for the growing of crops.  To induce these nations to adopt a REDD policy, the proposal is to link the reduction with a carbon trading scheme.

The eloquent, passionate Bolivian ecologist, Pablo Solon, does not accept the emerging proposals for action on REDD. According to him:

“Thus, REDD market mechanism, regardless of how inherently volatile and unstable it proves to be, will permit developed countries more time to continue polluting the world, while they are allowed to buy new forms of control over resources that rightfully should be in the custody of the peoples of the South. REDD illustrates many of the problems that are artificially created within carbon trading schemes. Other initiatives proposed under the paradigm of a Green Economy include the privatization of water, a push for agro-industrial business operations despite alarming impoverishment of small farmers channeled into these large-scale operations, the development of genetically modified organisms and geo-engineering amongst others.”

His opinions are shared by others, including Wally Menne of Timberwatch, who claims that:

“As currently conceptualised, REDD+ will mainly benefit the Northern polluters that caused climate change, with carbon traders and consultants following close behind. Community-driven efforts to reduce deforestation, prevent forest ecosystem deterioration, and restore those forests previously destroyed, need to be supported with long-term payments made by industrialised countries in lieu of their current and historical ecological and climate debt.”

Canada will probably support present REDD proposals with the possible exception of the REDD market mechanism.

As a matter of self interest, Canada’s forestry and resource industries are heavily committed to replacement of trees that are “harvested” or cut. The tar sands is presently a source of deforestation, but the oil industry is obliged to restore whatever areas have been exploited by strip mining techniques.  Here is the account of the restoration activities taken from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Website:

“For oil sands mines, planning to restore areas is done before the first shovel of earth is moved. Once an area is no longer needed for mining activities, we contour it for drainage; replace topsoil and plant vegetation, trees and shrubs. We then assess the soil and vegetation on an ongoing basis to ensure we’re achieving the goals of the original plan. The first area to be officially certified as fully reclaimed by the Government of Alberta was in early 2008.”

Returning to Pablo Solon, his comments suggest that the same developed/developing country politics so damaging to progress at Durban will also de-rail Rio + 20.



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