Controversy over REDD credits

10 July 2009

An article in the Economist highlights that no market has been formalised for trading carbon credits generated by programmes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD, see Update 65, 60; and At Issue 65). REDD is a controversial proposal under climate negotiations to reduce emissions through protecting the world’s forests in recognition that deforestation and forest degradation account for approximately 17 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Traders have agreed to buy and sell credits in a voluntary market, including through the World Bank, however no government can legally issue credits without the existence of a framework. Nonetheless, Papua New Guinea has been issuing credits raising controversy as land for one of the projects for which credits are being issued is disputed. A recent report by NGO International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) aims to take the debate forward by identifying a typology of tenure regimes in rainforest countries. It identifies some of the challenges they present for REDD; the nature of tenure of usage rights within specific countries; and the issues that will need to be engaged with if REDD is to have a sustainable impact in countries. It evaluates seven tropical rainforest countries likely to be major players within an international REDD system including Brazil, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.