Limiting Corrupt Incentives in a Global REDD Regime

Brown, Michael L.
February 2010
Ecology Law Quarterly;2010, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p237
Academic Journal
This Note addresses the potential for corruption in the emerging program to cut greenhouse gas emissions by averting deforestation. Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) was a main component of the bargain struck between major emitters at Copenhagen in December 2009. REDD has tremendous potential to engage developing nations in making meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions—harvesting the world's forests generates 20 percent of annual global warming pollution—while simultaneously easing the path for Annex I states to meet their binding emissions commitments. Unfortunately, REDD's promise could also be derailed by graft and misaligned incentives, issues that have dogged the constituent pieces of a REDD program. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the major existing emissions offsets market, has come under fire for failing to promote real reductions in aggregate emissions while facilitating massive wealth transfers, Further, forestry management in the developing world has long been fraught with corruption. This Note takes up the challenges the CDM and forest agencies have faced, both to uncover the sobering difficulties awaiting REDD and to discern possible solutions to those vexing problems. it concludes by suggesting institutional design and enforcement measures to craft a system that is both corruption resistant and effective at delivering the significant climate and political benefits that REDD promises.


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