GENEVA, 9 December - Efforts to increase investments in Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) must recognise the importance of reducing and avoiding emissions from forestry activities, according to a paper published today by the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).
The paper highlights the invaluable contribution that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) can make to the fight against climate change, alongside efforts to restore and enhance natural ecosystems.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) recently approved two REDD+ standards, Winrock International’s Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) and Verra’s Jurisdictional Nested REDD+ (JNR) framework. This represents the first acceptance of REDD+ standards in a compliance market and is an important moment in the development of REDD+.
At the same time, NCS is becoming an increasingly large component of the voluntary market. In 2019 forestry and land use represented over 50% of the market by value. With initiatives such as the private sector-led Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets looking to scale the voluntary market by at least 15-fold by 2030, there is an opportunity to direct significant new finance into forest protection.
IETA’s paper calls for carbon markets to channel finance to all pathways that protect, restore and enhance the ecosystems that draw down and store carbon from the atmosphere. “We need to scale up finance to avoid deforestation – especially tropical deforestation – in a way that contributes to sustainable development goals in forested regions,” said Dirk Forrister, IETA’s CEO.
“The preservation of standing natural forests is essential from both an emissions abatement and removals perspective, while simultaneously protecting against negative climate change impacts, preserving the planet’s biodiversity and supporting the livelihoods and well-being of 1.6 billion forest-dependent peoples globally,” the paper asserts.
The paper points out that many countries have included REDD+ activities as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, while scenario modelling indicates that dramatic reductions in deforestation are necessary to help achieve the Paris goal of pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Reducing deforestation and the conversion of natural habitats must be prioritised and recognised for its significant climate change mitigation potential in the short to medium term,” said Ellen Lourie, senior policy associate at IETA.
“If forests are allowed to be destroyed, it won’t be possible to recapture and store the lost carbon in new forests quickly enough to meet the Paris goals.”
IETA has also published a fact-sheet on Natural Climate Solutions, which you can find here.