As the California Air Resources Board prepares to consider moving forward on international initiatives to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD+) within the state's climate policy, a large consortium of key stakeholders — from multinational corporations to global NGOs and indigenous community leaders — have rallied in support of REDD+.
Signatories of the Code REDD Letter of Support include leading organizations such as Disney, Pacific Gas & Electric, Skoll Foundation and the Rainforest Alliance, and indigenous forest communities including the Surui. The Climate Markets & Investment Association (CMIA), whose members include many of the world's largest providers of low-carbon investment and services, such as Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Norton Rose Fulbright, PwC, JP Morgan and KPMG, has also issued a Letter of Support.
"Land-use and forestry are a major part of the climate mitigation challenge. REDD+ is a key and essential part of the solution to the cost-effective mitigation of climate change and as such must not be overlooked,” said CMIA president Anthony Hobley, who is also a partner and Global Head of Sustainability and Climate Change at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.
Forests are disappearing at the alarming rate of 13 million hectares per year, accounting for an estimated 15% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change experts largely agree that climate stability cannot be achieved without the conservation of the world's remaining forests. The growing list of supporters contends that REDD+ is one of the best available solutions to this complex challenge.
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The independent REDD Offsets Working Group has recommended a pathway for jurisdictional REDD+ to become an approved offset protocol within California's climate regulations. If approved, regulated entities would be allowed to meet up to 2% of their compliance obligations through approved jurisdictional REDD+ offsets until 2018, and up to 4% thereafter. These limitations ensure that regulated entities continue to cut emissions at source while also acknowledging the importance of tropical forests and sustainable land use within climate change policy.