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What Waxman-Markey Can Teach Us About REDD


by: Alex Lopatka, MD, USA

The U.S. cap and trade bill know as Waxman-Markey was very divisive in the summer and it looks like the U.S. Senate has put it on the back burner while they tackle health care. In a similar way, the World Bank and the Australian government are trying to ram REDD through the political machine in Indonesia in time for Copenhagen.

The World Bank is using its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to fund REDD in Indonesia. They allowed Indonesia to submit its Readiness Planning Proposal (RPP) in May even though:

1. There was no discussion with indigenous peoples (whose lands REDD would directly affect).

2. There is no formal legal framework to govern REDD in Indonesia and protect indigenous people.

3. The potential for corruption in REDD was not discussed thoroughly.

4. There is a real threat that the forest industry will continue business-as-usual under REDD because the language used to describe a natural forest and tree plantation is the same.

It is good that the REDD proposal has been moving quickly because deforestation is a serious issue that accounts for 20% of global emissions. However, if it is rushed, it will end up being like Waxman-Markey: incomplete, confusing, and divisive. It’s often not heard in the climate policy sphere, but it’s important to take time to get the policy right.

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