Reducing Emissions Through Forest Preservation

The last couple of years, there’s been talk about sequestering carbon in forests, but all that talk did not make its way to Copenhagen. Nevertheless, things are moving slowly on this front. The World Bank announced the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in December 2007, and it started up about 6 months later.

In the most simplistic terms, the FCPF will pay countries to keep their forests intact, but it’s really more complicated than that. The FCPF is truly a pilot project to help developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). They begin that process by figuring just how much forest they have, and what kind of shape it’s in. They also need to design systems to monitor emissions from forest destruction or degradation.

Once the 37 countries in the program as of March 2009 have done all that, 5 of them will be selected to go further and actually design projects to REDD. (Wow, that’s odd, to use an acronym as a verb. Makes my copyeditor toes curl.) The World Bank will pay them through the Carbon Finance Mechanism.

The World Bank’s medium-term goal is as follows:

The FCPF thus seeks to create an enabling environment and garner a body of knowledge and experiences that can facilitate development of a much larger global program of incentives for REDD over the medium term.

(quote from the website listed above)

The FCPF is still government-assisted restoration, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. At the very least, it will provide money to marginal communities that should help them develop in a sustainable way. And if the FCPF actually involves restoration (rather than just talking people out of cutting down forests), then opportunities for entrepreneurship may arise.

I think it’s a worthwhile pilot project.