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What Happened to REDD at Bangkok

10/14/09

Alex Lopatka — Maryland, USA

The final REDD press briefing of Bangkok was filled with both good and bad news. The good news about REDD is that, compared to many other projects and talks at Bangkok, the negotiations have moved quickly. The UNFCCC text has been shortened. Norway, Tuvalu, and Switzerland have taken the lead and are actively supporting REDD and trying to develop a mechanism to maintain natural forests. Brazil has also announced its commitment to combating deforestation and degradation of the Amazon rainforest.

However, there are many issues that are still being solved. There was a fear that logging industries would intervene in the REDD negotiations, and, unfortunately, this fear has come true. Papua New Guinea tried to stall REDD talks during Bangkok and the EU effectively blocked safeguard language intended for the UNFCCC text because of their logging industry interests. With the exception of Norway, Tuvalu, and Switzerland, countries are fighting an international governing body for REDD largely because these countries wish to maintain their national sovereignty.

REDD has made large strides since its introduction in Bali in 2007, but it still has a long way to go. My personal opinion is that there will be a REDD deal in Copenhagen. Deforestation and degradation are very obvious practices that will drastically affect our world’s climate, and the negotiations have proceeded well compared to other projects.

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