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Washington, DC, United States

Cattaneo A.,Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Lubowski R.,Environmental Defense Fund | Busch J.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Creed A.,Terrestrial Carbon Group | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2010

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) can be an effective and efficient means of mitigating climate change. However, the perceived equity in the distribution of financial incentives for REDD could also emerge as a critical issue in international negotiations. The design of reference levels, which provide the benchmark for crediting emissions reductions, affects the economic incentives for national participation in a REDD mechanism and thus the overall willingness to reach an agreement on REDD. This paper compares the equity impacts of five proposed reference level designs using a partial-equilibrium model. Tradeoffs among equity, environmental effectiveness and cost-efficiency indicate the proposals trigger similar aggregate emissions reductions but lead to different outcomes in efficiency and alternative measures of equity. If equity across countries is measured as the financial incentive provided relative to a country's forest carbon stock, then a REDD mechanism compensating a uniform share of at-risk carbon stocks is the most equitable. On the other hand, if equity is evaluated as the financial incentive relative to the opportunity costs of participating in REDD, then the most equitable approach would be compensating emissions reductions but withholding a part of the payments to compensate for carbon stocks, which also encourages broader country participation under our model. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Strassburg B.B.N.,International Institute for Sustainability | Strassburg B.B.N.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro | Strassburg B.B.N.,Terrestrial Carbon Group | Latawiec A.E.,International Institute for Sustainability | And 14 more authors.
Sustainability Science | Year: 2014

There has been a concerted effort by the international scientific community to understand the multiple causes and patterns of land-cover change to support sustainable land management. Here, we examined biophysical suitability, and a novel integrated index of "Economic Pressure on Land" (EPL) to explain land cover in the year 2000, and estimated the likelihood of future land-cover change through 2050, including protected area effectiveness. Biophysical suitability and EPL explained almost half of the global pattern of land cover (R 2 = 0.45), increasing to almost two-thirds in areas where a long-term equilibrium is likely to have been reached (e.g. R 2 = 0.64 in Europe). We identify a high likelihood of future land-cover change in vast areas with relatively lower current and past deforestation (e.g. the Congo Basin). Further, we simulated emissions arising from a "business as usual" and two reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scenarios by incorporating data on biomass carbon. As our model incorporates all biome types, it highlights a crucial aspect of the ongoing REDD + debate: if restricted to forests, "cross-biome leakage" would severely reduce REDD + effectiveness for climate change mitigation. If forests were protected from deforestation yet without measures to tackle the drivers of land-cover change, REDD + would only reduce 30 % of total emissions from land-cover change. Fifty-five percent of emissions reductions from forests would be compensated by increased emissions in other biomes. These results suggest that, although REDD + remains a very promising mitigation tool, implementation of complementary measures to reduce land demand is necessary to prevent this leakage. © 2013 The Author(s).

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