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The survival of cheetah's cubs is very low as only 10% of cubs reach adulthood (Image by Carole Henderson from Pixabay)

REDD+ Justification and Criticism

By David Okul

This article is in draft phase. Final version will be published on 7th February 2024

Globally, the agriculture, forestry and land use change is a major net emitter of greenhouse gases. It is estimated that the sector contributes 23% of GHG. As such, forest conservation and avoided deforestation are attractive alternatives for climate change mitigation. Against this background, the UNFCCC introduced REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries). The Warsaw Framework provide the basic rules for REDD+ including safegurds for people and the environment, national forest monitoring systems, forest reference levels, MRVs, etc.

In theory, REDD+ is of benefit to both developed and developing countries as developed countries can reduce emissions at low cost by supporting REDD+ while developing countries receive financial incentives to reduce deforestation.


Critism of REDD+

Weakened rules

There is concerned that some of the requirements for environmental safeguards, benefit sharing process,a nd participatory approaches are not stringent enough.

Over issuance of credits

There are some reports of REDD+ projects overissuing carbon credits. An important aspect of REDD+ project is calculating the baseline which climate action can be measured.

However, most standards publicly list project information and have space for public comments. More importantly, baselines are reassessed during validation. Recently, Verra revised its baseline assessment period from 10 years to 6 years.

Furthermore, standard agencies often engage group of experts in developing standards and reviewing projects.

Concluding remarks

Scrutiny of carbon projects help to improve transparency and the effectiveness of offset projects.

Tropical forests are reducing. The fact is that projects similar to REDD+ do assist in reducing the rates of deforestation. A number of studies support this claim Malan et al (2024), Everland (2023) and Ropsind et al (2019)



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David Okul is an environmental management professional with over 15 years experience on donor projects, conservation, forestry, ecotourism, and community-based natural resources management. When not working on environmental projects, he writes for Silvica on various topics. This blog’s views are personal and do not represent the organizations he is associated with.