Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 04/2010

Forest Communities and REDD Climate Initiatives

Mark Poffenberger, Kathryn Smith-Hanssen

October 2009

East-West Center


Loss of the world's forests contributes an estimated 17 percent to all global greenhouse gas emissions, creating both a major challenge and an opportunity for international climate change agreements. In response, global policymakers have proposed that new carbon agreements include rewards for reducing forest-based emissions, an initiative known as REDD--Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. By creating financial incentives to reduce forest-sourced greenhouse gases, REDD projects could generate funding from developed countries to reduce deforestation in developing countries. In addition, some climate change specialists believe that REDD projects could benefit forest-dependent communities, whose participation is key to controlling the local forces that drive deforestation. Some communities are already learning about the new REDD carbon projects. As one villager from Cambodia explains, "We are going to sell our air to the people who are polluting in the city."