Coming into Copenhagen, the REDD text included a global objective for halving gross deforestation by 2020 and halting forest loss by 2030. While ECO was coming prepared to push for greater ambition – we are now faced with the prospect of losing the global objective completely. In case Parties have lost their compass, ECO would like to remind them of the right direction. To stay below a 2˚C rise in temperature, a Copenhagen agreement must contain a strong global objective for REDD in addition to deep domestic emission reductions from developed countries.
Without a global objective for REDD, there is a risk that emissions from forest destruction will be prolonged with devastating impacts – it would be like running a race without knowing where the finish line is and without a stop-watch to measure your speed. Yet with a global REDD objective, REDD-plus can help us stay well below 2˚C warming.
Of course this contribution does not come free and it is vital for developed countries to commit to the level of funding needed to achieve this goal. Developing countries will need financial support – not just to build their capacity – but significant and reliable streams of funding to stop deforestation, protect biodiversity and sustain livelihoods of forest communities. With countries such as Brazil and Indonesia proposing ambitious national goals for reducing emissions, including those from deforestation, developed countries need to show the colour of their money for both the immediate and the long term. Only with this partnership of an ambitious global objective for REDD coupled with the necessary financial support will the supposedly constructive negotiations on REDD-plus actually deliver. While we are used to harvesting forests to get some money, it’s now time to harvest some money to save the forests.