Avoided Deforestation As A Voluntary Offset

The upward trend in investing voluntarily in projects that reduce deforestation could well continue. The level of interest in the reduction in deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) was stimulated by the encouragement given by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bali Conference in late 2007. Specifically, Decision 2/CP.13 'Reducing emission from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action' (UNFCCC, 2008: 8) contains the following clauses: Recognizing that efforts and actions to reduce deforestation and to maintain and conserve forest carbon stocks in developing countries are already being taken.' 'Invites parties to further strengthen and support ongoing efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation on a voluntary basis' (emphasis added).

The long list of outstanding methodological issues raised in this decision (Clause 7) suggests that devising acceptable methodologies for the inclusion of avoided deforestation, acceptable to parties under the post-Kyoto Protocol agreement, will be a long and difficult procedure. Meanwhile, the potential of the voluntary market for REDD is highlighted by the effective commercialization of a large scheme in Aceh, the finance for which is to be raised by Merrill Lynch (Ecosystem Marketplace, 2008).

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