The United Nations climate change conference opened in Cancun last week to modest expectations. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon; EU commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard; and Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres have all said that they do not expect a binding deal this year on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
But there is one issue which has been billed to have the potential for making significant progress in Cancun: the REDD initiative for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation.
REDD proposes the use of funding from developed countries to reduce deforestation in developing countries. Pilot programs have already started, and developed countries have pledged US$ 4 billion towards REDD. With deforestation responsible for nearly 20 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions, REDD could have enormous potential as part of a global climate change strategy.