Video Q&A

What the climate talks could mean for REDD+ (and the world)

COP21 in Paris must produce not only a strong agreement but genuine, long-term commitment, a scientist says in this interview.
A scientist has described the outlook of climate negotiations in Paris as ‘cautiously hopeful’. Image: Mokhammad Edliadi / CIFOR

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An expert on REDD+ has called for countries to make a genuine long-term commitment to tackling climate change, beyond the formal requirements of the global agreement expected to be finalized at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris next month.

“We have reached a biological tipping point,” William Sunderlin of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) told Forests News in a video interview.

“We need a corresponding policy tipping point that matches the urgency of this biological tipping point.”

Sunderlin’s research into 23 REDD+ initiatives across the globe has uncovered roadblocks to implementing efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation—which account for about 12% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions.

A framework for REDD+ was largely put in place earlier this year, but Sunderlin holds that this next agreement still needs to have strong provisions for REDD+.

“The failure of REDD+ to date to fulfill many of its goals, and the reason why REDD+ has moved along very slowly, is that it is a reflection of humanity’s overall ambivalence and indecisiveness in how to tackle the problem of climate change,” Sunderlin said.

“So if there is a good agreement coming out of Paris, and especially if it has binding provisions, then we stand a chance of having REDD+ make the contribution it needs to make to overall climate change mitigation.”

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