Friday, August 8, 2008 - 8:30 AM

SYMP 22-2: The science and politics of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

Tracy Johns, Woods Hole Research Center

Background/Question/Methods The recent UNFCCC decision during the Bali climate convention in Dec 2008 has recognized the potential role of “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation” (REDD) in the future climate regime. After a 2 year process of analysis, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice has been tasked with developing recommendations to the UNFCCC on how REDD could be incorporated into the structure of the post-2012 climate framework. While significant progress has been made in examining some of the key issues for REDD design and implementation, and scientific and technological advances have improved the feasibility of monitoring and tracking emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, several significant issues must still be addressed before REDD can become a real, verifiable, and sustainable contribution to the climate change challenge. These issues include, among others, the scale at which REDD activities are undertaken and accounted for; the establishment of a baseline against which to measure progress in reducing emissions; whether and how to include forest degradation and conservation of carbon stocks; sources and types of funding for the capacity building and emission-reducing programs within developing countries; progress in land tenure and governance issues; a transparent and participatory process that includes all relevant stakeholders in REDD design; and the design of an international mechanism that is flexible enough to address the many levels and kinds of deforestation and degradation represented by the developing country participants in a future REDD regime.

Results/Conclusions Several of the issues posing a challenge to REDD program design and implementation have both a scientific and a political side to them, and will require collaboration and information sharing between the relevant scientific communities and the policymakers and stakeholders in the UNFCCC process. This session will provide insight into the science-policy interface within the UNFCCC debate on REDD, and discuss the role of science in moving the political process forward.