Climate Change and Forests

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I am delighted and honored to have been invited to write a foreword for this excellent and timely work. It is particularly timely because in December 2007, in a
historic decision, the parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC), meeting in Bali, Indonesia, decided to include the issue of
avoided deforestation—or “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (REDD), as it is known in UNFCCC argot—in the Bali Action Plan. This
plan is the so-called road map for negotiations that aim to develop by 2009 a legal
instrument to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. The Kyoto
Protocol to the UNFCCC requires its developed country parties to make reductions in their emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of some 5.2 percent from
1990 levels throughout its five-year commitment period, 2008–2012. The Bali road
map is of particular importance in that the UNFCCC parties agree to consider
“measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation actions” for
all parties, including developing country parties, although developed country parties
also agree to consider “commitments, . . . including quantified emission limitation
and reduction objectives.” For present purposes, even more significant is the provision of the action plan that commits the parties to consider “policy approaches and
positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and
forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing
countries.”